Giant talking spiders, 10-foot-tall animatronic werewolves, and a pumpkin spiced corgi welcomed Baxter Halloweengoers Sunday night, Oct. 31, as the city came alive after dark.
For some, Halloween is a meticulously planned night and one that people look forward to. That statement rings true for both Scott Harrison and Bob Musielewicz, whose decorations could rival some pay-to-enter haunted houses.
Musielewicz, who displayed a 10-foot-tall werewolf in his front yard, has created his own mystical creatures for Halloween for more than 21 years after being drawn into the horror theme as a kid while watching all the “Frankenstein,” “Dracula,” “Invisible Man,” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” movies.
“I build everything myself,” Musielewicz said. “The bodies, I buy the rubber pieces from Hollywood-type people that build this stuff in the offseason. Then I (put together) the bodies and cranks. Everything moves, some of it runs on compressed air and some of them run on electricity.”
Expecting about 800 people to come through, Musielewicz said the number of people out for Halloween this year was down from years past as they had about 580 this year. He keeps a running count Halloween night.
Tantalizing the kids this year was Harrison’s smoke-spewing talking spider.
“This year's theme was spiders,” Harrison said. “So my big feature attraction spider is named Shelob.”
Named Shelob after the massive spider in the “Lord of the Rings,” the garage-sized arachnid was the centerpiece of his Halloween display. Bringing the children close enough to see the glow of its eyes, Harrison hid a two-way radio inside of the head, treating all that would come close enough with a Halloween trick to remember.
Musielewicz and Harrison said they both enjoyed having pirate-themed displays, although Harrison has a leg up on his competition.
“One of my favorite themes — pirates,” Harrison said. “And because I have an artificial right-hand leg, and I've made myself an actual pirate pegleg. … The kids, they just can’t believe that it’s real.”
Harrison said it takes him about 40 hours to set everything up and around a day and a half to take everything down.
“It's so fun seeing all these kids and the way they enjoy this,” Harrison said. “I mean, this is why I do it.”