This year’s Halloween season will undoubtedly be impacted by coronavirus concerns, but some locals are hoping to give North Shore families something to be excited about.
“We decorate every year, but this year I think we did a lot more because of the pandemic,” said Staci Sverker, who lives at 14 Preston Road in Salem. “We were thinking if kids can't trick-or-treat, parents could drive around and look at decorations.”
The Sverkers are one of many North Shore families who covered their homes in spooky decorations in hopes of bringing a little fun and cheer to the community during a time that has been difficult for many.
At 4 Buxton Road in Danvers, Meredith Biggart said her family put money they usually would spend on vacations toward buying new Halloween decorations.
“Kids can't do everything in a 'normal' way this year, so it’s to try and bring a little bit of normalcy to kids,” Biggart said.
She also loves seeing the joy the decorations bring to her own children and children in the neighborhood.
Also in Danvers, Vickie Hanson at 14 Weeks Road said she hopes families will see her house as they drive around the neighborhood looking at Halloween displays.
“I just want the kids to get excited, because that's what mine do,” she said, reminiscing about the nights when she and her children and grandchildren would grab hot chocolate or popcorn and drive around the neighborhood to look at Halloween and Christmas decorations. “They name the houses that they like, like ‘that’s the lots-of-light house,’ and ‘that’s the monster-in-the-window house.’ They just got so much joy from passing them, and we would go over and over again to our favorites. It reminds me of being a little girl and driving down Christmas tree lane.”
Sitting in her front yard and surrounded by goblins, ghouls and skeletons, Sverker’s daughter Skylar, who is 14 and attends Salem High School, said her favorite part of decorating for Halloween is seeing the reactions of children.
“We’ve been decorating for a long time,” Skylar said. “And it’s so fun to see little kids' reactions.”
Sverker said people regularly stop in front of their house to marvel at the display, which took two days to put together, and take photos.
“We've had people stop and come by every night,” Sverker said, motioning to the 12-foot skeleton standing in front of her home. “We have a laugh every time. We hear them through the window or from the front porch. Some people beep at us. We have a laugh every time. It makes the work of it worth it. We do take a lot of time, and we talk about it and we have a plan in place that we try to follow.”
Biggart said her kids plan to be outside in their costumes periodically to add another dimension to their haunted house.
“They are excited. I think they are most excited about dressing up in costumes and being in yard as people drive by,” she said, laughing. “They have a plan. I’m not sure how the plan will go, but they have one.”
Biggart added, “I hope they can give people an evening, whether it's one evening or a couple, some sort of distraction from everything that is going on and just enjoy it, even if it's just 30 seconds of driving down our driveway. I hope it will give some folks a sense of normalcy, and fun and a smile.”
Staff writer Erin Nolan can be reached at 978-338-2534, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @erin_nolan_.