Tinley Park couple go all out for Halloween
BY DONNA VICKROY email@example.com October 18, 2012 3:14PM
Bill and Gloria Mudd's home in Tinley Park is fully decked out inside and outside for Halloween Wednesday, October 17, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: November 20, 2012 10:53AM
Gloria and Bill Mudd are the first to admit they are crazy.
Crazy for Halloween, anyway.
“Yep, we do the whole house,” Bill said.
The outdoor display looks like something swiped from a movie set, with monsters, ghosts, witches and more than a few swinging heads. The decor sweeps around the couple’s corner lot at 18300 Cottonwood Drive in Tinley Park. Of course there are lights and sound effects.
But that’s only the half of it.
The skeletons stabbing each other with butcher knives, the creatures emerging from manholes in the landscaping, and the werewolf chomping on a bloody limb are just a cover for what lies within the ranch home.
Those lucky — or brave — enough to walk past the trio of realistic-looking witches on the front porch, past the guy being electrocuted, around the rats, snakes and spiders, and ring the bell — the special oversized purple doorbell, that is — are in for a treat inside.
Every room in the house is decked out for the holiday, too. There are life-size witches, screaming monsters, a bloody mermaid in the bathtub. A giant ghost lies on the master bed. A slight movement or clap of the hands brings it back to life.
The Mudds start setting things up around Labor Day. After Bill finishes the heavy work of uncrating all of the creatures and hauling them up from the basement, his daily struggle is keeping up with dying batteries and wind damage.
“Yeah, I start swearing in early September and don’t stop until some time in January,” Bill said.
Much of the decor is fun and festive, a mix of autumnal colors and Halloween whimsy: skeletons playing “Deliverance” on banjo, wicked witches cackling on command.
“We really don’t like scary things,” Gloria said. They admit they’ve never even seen those Jason or Freddy Krueger flicks.
So how to explain the chopped-up hand frying in a skillet in the kitchen, or the skeleton granny rocking a skeleton baby while humming “Rock-A-Bye Baby?”
“Sometimes it does scare us,” Gloria said, especially when a sensor-triggered monster starts groaning for no apparent reason.
The dining room is dedicated to a huge Halloween village made up of hundreds of miniature buildings and landscape elements, as well as witches, vampires and assorted monsters. The Mudds bought the items through Department 56, a holiday-decorating company famous for its lighted villages. The Mudds belong to a Department 56 club and each year host a walk through their home for other members.
The village, which consumes their 10-foot-by-6-foot dining table, as well as another 4-foot-by-4-foot table that Bill added on, is a labor of love. Gloria said they try to take pictures each year of where each item went so they can match up the electric cords to the holes in the Styrofoam base the next year.
Other items come from various stores, both online and brick and mortar: Pier 1 imports, Pottery Barn, Kirkland’s and HomeGoods. Gloria also shops through the QVC cable channel.
Upstairs in an extra bedroom, a skeleton rock band performs. The life-size monsters and instruments had to be shipped on pallets via semi truck to the Mudds’ home.
“I wonder what the neighbors were thinking that day,” Bill said.
Bill, who works for Exelon, met Gloria, who recently retired from ComEd, through a mutual friend while on the job. It is a second marriage for both. Bill has two kids from his previous marriage.
The couple live with their three terriers, who seem to be OK sharing quarters with an assortment of monsters, although every now and then they have been known to challenge one of the “guests.”
Neither Bill nor Gloria decorated much for Halloween before they found each other. It is a hobby that just sort of grew with them, and all around them.
For October, they live with cackling witches, moaning monsters and more than a few bloody body parts scattered about.
“It’s just really neat,” Bill said.
And when it’s all over, he said, “We start on Christmas.”