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Archive for Monday, October 28, 2002

Ghoulish yard art livens up holiday

October 28, 2002

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Good, fun frights are alive and well in Lawrence.

Enthusiastic residents have decorated their homes for Thursday's Halloween celebrations.

In the front yard of 305 Stetson Place, treat-seekers might encounter Niki Osburn rising from a grave by a mysterious moving tombstone marked "No Vacancy."

Or they might find what appears to be a dark cave at the front of Ted Boyle's house.

"It adds a little atmosphere," Boyle said of his holiday decorations. "The neighbors and the kids all seem to like it."

At the Osburn residence, witches and monsters congregate in the front yard. Niki Osburn's father, Don Norris, makes the frightening characters, and Osburn dresses them in ghoulish costumes.

A new character, Vampira, joins the group this year, she said.

Osburn and her children, Kirsten, 13, and Ryan, 6, also dress up to greet trick-or-treaters, if they aren't out seeking treats themselves.

"I'm going to be a ghoul," Osburn said. "Sometimes when I see little kids coming to the house, I take the mask off so they won't get scared."

Osburn's ghoul outfit includes a pump for squirting fake blood.

Boyle fixed a dark backdrop over the front bay window at his house on 310 Elm St. The backdrop, along with a purple frame, gives the look of a cave entrance, Boyle says. A couple of pumpkins add to the atmosphere.

Nearby a skull can be found affixed to a light post.

"We try to add something each year," said Boyle, who is president of the North Lawrence Improvement Assn. "It's a lot of fun."

He also gets into the act by dressing up.

"I'll put some sort of skull with shaggy hair on," Boyle said.

Pumpkins rule at the home of Larry Schmitz and his wife, Ann Brill-Schmitz, 2408 Brett.

Plastic pumpkins hang from trees and a T-shaped pole. Pumpkin lights drape the front porch.

"These are things we've collected over the years," Larry Schmitz said. "It's really not all that extravagant."

Last year, however, the pumpkins lured about 50 children to the Schmitz house.

"Some of them were probably a little older than kids," Schmitz said with a laugh.

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