‘Crazy lights’ illuminate Flossmoor
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org December 24, 2012 2:52PM
Tyler Thompson, of Flossmoor, started a unique holiday lights decoration style in 1999 that has been adopted by other neighbors on Dartmouth Street. He is pictured Friday, December 14, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 26, 2013 6:03AM
Illuminated Santa Claus figures, twinkling lights on bushes, and inflatable penguins and snowmen may be the norm among Christmas decorations, but for those who want to see something completely different, steer on over to Flossmoor.
There, on Dartmouth Road south of Flossmoor Road, and on several neighboring streets, one can see a breathtaking Christmas display that has spread like wildfire.
Instead of lights being wrapped around trees or spread over bushes, single strands of Christmas lights stretch high into the sky, where they shoot over towering tree branches before returning to earth.
Tyler Thompson got the idea when reading about a similar display, and he started doing it outside his home about 1999.
Neighbors were skeptical at first, but they grew to like it. Now, most of them join in, creating quite the spectacle.
“An architect started it in Kansas, and I read the article in ‘Southern Living’ magazine,” Thompson said. “My parents live there and took us out to see it.
“I was the first one to do it here. It got mixed reactions, to say the least. But the next year a couple more people did it, then a couple more, then some on Hutchinson Road did it, and then it started spreading from there. I saw some in Hazel Crest the other day.”
What does one call the display?
“Everyone has their own opinion,” said Thompson, 45. “Some call it ‘crazy lights.’ The last one my wife (Sandy) heard was ‘Santa catcher,’ and I thought that was awesome. I’ve heard ‘spider webs.’ ”
He said 2,400 to 2,700 lights are enough for a big yard.
“Some do 600. Every house is different,” he said. “The last few years it’s been great for our street. There’s a core group of guys who work on it together. It’s a great excuse to get together with the neighbors.”
Dave Mayer, Andy Weeks, Tom Wick and Steve Boyles are the friends Thompson gets together with for decorating.
It takes a strong arm to get lights so high into a tree.
“You take a baseball with a string and you throw the baseball over the tree, and tie the lights to the other side of the line, and pull it up,” Thompson said. ”In the spring, you cut the string and the lights come down.”
He’s glad this year was warm.
“It’s hard when it’s 5 degrees and you’re tying that string,” he said.
Dave and Rose Mayer live a few doors south of Thompson.
“Tyler started it and it kind of caught on. I like the look,” Rose said.
Most use white lights. But red and green lights started to crop up in recent years.
A recent visitor wondered if the lights are intended to resemble beams of light from the Star of Bethlehem.
“I like that one,” Thompson said.
Sandy Thompson summed them up with two words: “Very distinctive.”