MOUNT VERNON — What started as an innocent year of putting up a few Halloween decorations has turned into a full-blown spooky yard display competition in a neighborhood on Adamson Street.
Mike Stream and Patrick King, along with Jeff Shanyfelt, who lives two doors down, have been putting up their decorations for the past 15 years or so, King said. It started off innocently enough — neighbors deciding to get into the spirit of the holiday. But it didn’t take long for their competitive natures to take over.
“It’s competition but in the best way,” Stream said. “A lot of people don’t [decorate for Halloween] anymore. But I always say, you know, ‘go big or go home.’”
Stream explained that the look they go for “is what Halloween is supposed to be” — scary. His display features pumpkins, a pirate ship, skeletons, devils, bats, clowns, spiders and, of course, “lights galore.”
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King’s display features inflatables, foam demons, reapers, tombstones and gargoyles. This year, King also plans to add an eerie fog to his yard. The two neighbors have worked hard to ensure they don’t have duplicate decorations and King explained that there is always a jealously factor and a need to “one-up” each other when one of the two finds something great for their display that the other doesn’t have.
Shanyfelt is just two doors down from the duo and said that, though he doesn’t have quite as many decorations as Stream and King, he likes to be part of the competition as well. Some of his decorations, especially when there is bad weather, he saves for closer to Halloween, but his display features inflatables, gargoyles and a grim reaper as well.
“I get in so much trouble with my wife,” Shanyfelt said. “I go all out for Halloween but I don’t do hardly anything for Christmas. It’s just about the competition.”
The process for putting up their displays takes two to three days, King said, and often people driving by as the display comes together will yell out from their cars about how great the displays look. It isn’t a matter of planning King said, but rather finding unique items. One year, King and Stream went together to Fairborn, home to Foys Halloween Stores, just to find new decorations.
“When people drive by and slam on their breaks and back up to see what we have out — it’s well worth the effort,” King said.
Unfortunately, this year, with all the construction on Parrott Street, King and Stream said the traffic going past their displays has been cut in half. But the neighborhood hasn’t let construction dim their spirits.
Stream explained that he really got into decorating for Halloween because, as a kid who lived in the country, he would always have to come into town to see the decorations. Now that he lives in town, he has been able to provide that fun and Halloween spirit for others through his own display.
“They do a heck of a job and they really do deserve some acknowledgment for all the hard work they do every year,” neighbor Gene Kouba said of the displays. “Everyone drives by to see what they put up. It’s just really nostalgic. It reminds me of Halloween when I was a kid and it bring back neat memories when I see the displays.”
Others in the neighborhood also get involved through their candy offerings to trick-or-treaters. Stream said he had already put a decent chunk of money into Halloween candy for this year, but others on his street have even been known to give out full-sized candy bars, which is “unheard of these days.”
Editors note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Mike Stream as Mike Straight. The News regrets the error