By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now
NEWTON—Candy Samuels told her now-fiance Dean Gelo when she met him that if he’s not a Halloween addict, he’s with the wrong person.
He may not be a Halloween addict, but he takes part in her outdoor Halloween decorating, recently running a large fog machine that spreads an eerie glow throughout the neighborhood. On Halloween night, Gelo dresses up and looms at his 6-foot, 7 inches height at the front of their house, handing out candy by sending it through a shoot for trick-or-treaters.
“He’s pretty scary,” Samuels said. “Just him putting on a mask alone, the kids are all like, ‘Whoa.'”
Their yard at 405 Brookside in Newton is a testament to Samuels’s love of the annual holiday. She has several creepy characters, from an alien to ghoulish clowns to Ozzy Osbourne eating a bat, to the Grim Reaper, many of which she made herself. Samuels makes a living as a fine art artist and this is an extension of her creativity.
Some of Samuels’s construction materials for the spooks include wood, purchased masks and plastic wrap.
“I made 90 percent of them,” she said. “I usually go buy a mask or something, or people give me masks and [I] make bodies for them.”
One of her displayed ghouls is 40 years old.
“It used to ride around in the car with me,” she said.
Samuels started decorating a lot when her children didn’t want her trick-or-treating with them anymore.
“There’s about 25 out there,” she said about her front lawn. “Could be more than that.”
Samuels doesn’t go for cutesy Halloween decorations.
“It’s scary,” she said about her display. “The whole idea is to be scared—go to haunted houses. That’s the fun stuff.”
The display looks scary enough during the day, but the night lends itself to a whole other atmosphere, as the couple uses a variety of lights, from strings of them to concert lights, a fog machine, scary sounds and a spooky video in the house’s main upstairs window that plays frightful scenes.
There’s nothing gory there, however.
“I’ve done it for about 30 to 40 years,” she said about her decorating, although she hasn’t always lived at her current residence. This is her second Halloween at that location.
Last year, the couple had about 75 trick-or-treaters go there and they’re hoping for more this year.
“We bought enough candy for 300,” she said. “My sisters come in from Colorado and help.”
Samuels plans to have the house lit up this Thursday night for anyone who wants to drive by. This past Monday night, there were plenty of pedestrians and cars slowly going past the house.
Samuels is a self-taught artist and has created a variety of portraits of various people, from the famous to the not famous. One such portrait is of the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and she has a photo of him holding the art, which was given to him four or five months ago.
“The highest-paid athlete in the world has my artwork,” Samuels said.
Former Kansas City Chiefs player Duran Cherry is a friend of a friend, and Samuels did a drawing of Mahomes for Cherry to give to Mahomes during the Super Bowl party, Samuels said.
“Everything in my home is about all my art,” she said.