Southland homes that are decorated for Halloween
By Hannah Kohut October 26, 2011 3:30PM
There are lots of Halloween decorations at the Oak Forest home of Glenn Wilson. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media
DO YOU KNOW OF A SOUTHLAND SPOT WE MISSED?
Then make a comment at the bottom of this article and share other area Halloween houses that Southlanders should check out.
Updated: May 9, 2012 9:57AM
Ghouls popping out of the ground, monsters at every turn, and even some jump-out-and-grab-you scares await at Glenn Wilson’s house in Oak Forest during Halloween.
When Wilson, 59, decided to transform his garage and front and back yards into a haunted house every Halloween, he spared no expense and cut no corners.
This is about as spooky and decorated as a home can get. He even built a life-size coffin and guillotine.
The best part of all is a walk through his thriller of a display, 16409 George Drive, Oak Forest, is free to anyone who wishes to see it.
“I started decorating when we moved in here in 1999,” Wilson said.
“At first I had a Michael Myers mannequin in front of the garage. One time I dressed in the costume and stood still in front of the garage as two women walked past and stopped to look.
“Then I ran at them. Boy, did they take off running and screaming. And from then on, I just made it bigger and better.”
Since his day as Myers, Wilson has added cemeteries, lights, fog machines, and even surround sound of spooky music and screams.
“I have animatronic decorations that sit up and pop out at you. I have cauldrons, I have fog machines. I have lifelike mannequins of monsters,” Wilson said.
“I like to compare this to something you’d see at Universal Studios in Orlando,” Wilson said.
He estimates that close to 1,000 people walked through his display in 2010.
“We had them lined up and down the street,” Wilson said.
“I even served hot dogs and pop to everyone for a little while. We probably served about 500 hot dogs last year.
“This is something I do for the community, and I love doing it.”
So what triggered Wilson’s desire to thrill others?
“Well, when I was 7 or 8 years old, my brothers and I went trick-or-treating. We went to a house and a man dropped candy in our bags, but he was wearing a mask,” Wilson said.
“He had a mask on and he was scary. As I returned to go back to the street, I didn’t turn around. I was focused on him the whole time and walked backward.
“I told my brothers, ‘That was so cool and fun for him to do that for us.’ And I never forgot that, so now I’m thinking that the kids who come here are going to think the same thing about me.”
So what scares a man who loves to thrill and scare others?
“That movie ‘The Exorcist,’ ” Wilson said. “I remember seeing it a long time ago, and it really scared me and really bothered me.
“To this day, when they play it on TV late at night and I watch it, I get scared.”
Hannah Kohut is a local free-lance writer.
MORE HALLOWEEN HOUSES
We asked you to share cool Halloween displays you came across in the Southland, and here are some of your suggestions.
♦ 8639 S. 78th Ave.
“My husband, Joe and I decorate for every holiday. Christmas and Halloween are our biggest of the holiday decorations, inside and out,” Annette Mitchell said.
“We have been decorating our house for the past 14 years. People from all over come by to look at our decorations each year, and many of them stop and say, ‘Thank you for decorating. We really enjoy coming by your house.’
“Well, that makes us feel that our love for decorating and time is appreciated by many, many people. People actually stop by and ask us when we’re going to start decorating so they can bring their kids by to see the decorations.
“With so many people stopping by, well, that puts a smile on our face. We know that all our time and effort is appreciated by all. We are even in the book ‘Best Decorated Houses in Chicago.’ I hope you will stop by, too, and see our house.”
♦ The Nephilim (multiple houses), 8207, 8211 and 8215 S. Mulligan Ave. (one block east of Narragansett Avenue; Narragansett construction is closed going northbound, visitors must enter off 79th Street and Mulligan Avenue going southbound).
Michelle Whitty said this attraction is available through Oct. 31 from 7:30-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7-10 p.m. Sundays, with live ghouls on the weekends.
♦ 8458 Rutherford Ave.
♦ 5534 and 5526 S. Nagle Ave. in the Garfield Ridge community.
“There are two houses that go all out every year,” a SouthtownStar reader said. “(They) have tombstones and zombies galore plus outstanding window displays. You won’t be disappointed.”
♦ 114 Judith Lane, Chicago Heights
“This red-brick home had a large graveyard display with tons of things thrown together,” James Goodman said. “It looked amazing. Several families took family photos in front of the scene, using it as an amazing backdrop.
“This year they should have a small haunted house in the front yard as an option for trick-or-treaters. Check it out.”
♦ Monsters of Morris, 18425 Morris Ave.
“I have a cool Halloween display including two real caskets,” the homeowner said. “I have a working electric chair hooked up to a motion detector, hanging cages, nets, heads and bodies, spiderwebs with figures in there, corpsed skeletons, zombie groundbreakers and more.”
The display is on weekdays at dark until around 10:30 a.m. and weekends until about 12:30 a.m.
(UPDATED ON 10/28) ♦ 8025 82nd Court.
“A lot of stuff he made himself,” a SouthtownStar reader said. “Plus, he’s got all the gargoyles and haunted people. It’s really sharp.”
The display also includes a scary fountain, skulls, bones and much more.
♦ Doc’s Haunts, 3745 W. 162nd Place.
♦ The Heidkamp Family, 19540 Scarth Lane.
♦ 5511 W. Court St.
“This display is a salute to classic Halloween — not a lot of gore but there is a Wolfman, witch, ghost, zombies, graveyard, a 1961 hearse and, of course, a few things that go bump in the night,” the homeowner said.
“I also have the basement decked out with a haunted maze with a few rooms of scare. The best time to see it in its glory is dusk.”
♦ 1127 Conan Doyle Road in the Ashbury subdivision.
“I’ve been doing this for over 15 years and each year it gets bigger,” SouthtownStar reader Nick Thomas said.
“Last year we had 1,400 trick-or-treaters and I gave away 185 bags of candy. It takes 10 days to put up. I have a storage unit for Halloween (and Christmas) plus the crawl space and a third car garage.”
♦ 15229 Sequoia St.
“My Halloween display is based on special effects — fog, professional strobe lights and black lights,” said Joe Tucker
of his display, which runs Fridays and Saturdays, weather-permitting and for the fog winds less than 10 mph.
“The best part of my display really depends on weather — mostly wind.”
Pictures can be found on YouTube by searching “Tucker Halloween 2009.”
♦ 15438 Tudor Road.
“My neighbor’s house is decorated like a scary cemetery,” a SouthtownStar reader said.
♦ LaBarge Family, 10108 S. Kilpatrick Ave.
“Every year my dad draws dozens and dozens of families and neighbors with his stellar Halloween displays,” Colleen Heath said. “Four Costco size bags of candy aren’t nearly enough to hand out to the multitude of trick-or-treaters that visit his house each year.
“He’s the unsung hero of Halloween that is know by neighbors and friends alike that start circling the house Oct. 1 to see what he has in store for the holiday.”
♦ 13611 S. 92nd Ave., which features 15 monsters and a ghost in a tree.
“It’s just pretty nice,” said Denise Janis who lives next door. “I think it’s a little unique, and he’s adding on every year.”
♦ The Yvonne and Ralph Shurley residence, 17404 Deer Creek Drive.
Highlights include a 13-foot tower, a 1,500-pound crypt, spooky images projected from a DVD and “live” actors after 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. A video can be found on YouTube.com under the heading “Shurley House of the Dead.”
♦ 7340 Mimosa Drive.
“It’s a fully animated graveyard with a floating ghost in the window watching over the graves,” Keith Katner said of his display, which previously won best Halloween display when he lived in Midlothian.
“We do it for the fans of our undead. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.”
♦ 1 Old Oak Trail.
Carol Kennedy said this site features a pop-up corpse, a struggling zombie, a singing Frankenstein, a Halloween tree and numerous ghosts, lights and pumpkins.
♦ 53 Sunrise Court.
This site features a zombie theme.
♦ 183rd Street and Cottonwood Drive.
“It’s pretty cool,” columnist Donna Vickroy said of the site, which features realistic monsters in the front and back yards.
♦ 17331 Osceola Ave.
♦ 17618 Dunn Road, which is open Thursdays to Sundays and on Oct. 31.
“We have something for everyone,” Mary Jo Hann said. “The front yard is turned into a creepy cemetery.
“Demonic clowns have taken over the front room and are there to scare anyone who might approach. But that’s just the beginning.
“In our Horror Movie Garage, my husband has created scenes with characters from some of the most famous movies of all time including Hannibal, Pinhead, Michael Myers, Jason, Freddy Krueger and more.”