Decorations usher in fright night

Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2006


  Pat Murray's home at 247 W. Corral will be a festive sight for the several hundred trick or treaters she expects on Halloween. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Pat Murray's home at 247 W. Corral will be a festive sight for the several hundred trick or treaters she expects on Halloween.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

As a little girl growing up on a remote farm, miles from the next neighbor, Pat Murray didn’t get to experience Halloween the way many children do. Now, as an adult, she’s been making up for lost time.

“I love decorating for every season, but Halloween is the big one,” Murray said.

Her house on West Corral Street in Soldotna would be hard to miss. It’s the one that has more decorations than almost all the haunted houses in the area put together.

Out in the front yard hay bales, scarecrows and pumpkins lead the way up to “black cat alley,” where several paper mache, metal and plastic cats are artistically placed.

As one approaches the front door, the decorations get more elaborate: from a full-sized witch with a raven on her shoulder, to tombstone replicas with foreboding messages, such as “Restless in life, restless when dead, disturb me once and you’ll wish you were dead.”

Murray said she doesn’t know exactly how much she has invested in her Halloween decorations, but she speculated it may be around $500 or more.

“It’s still growing year to year,” she said.

Murray said she searches near and far to add to her creepy collection.

“I hit all the sales after Halloween, I go to garage sales, Liquidation World. I even went to Minneapolis and came back with two huge boxes of stuff you can’t get here.”

As an example, she cited a strand of light with bulbs in the shape of spiders that appear to dangle down from the roof of her front porch.

“I really like those,” she said.

Despite all the ghoulish garnishments, Murray said last week she only has a fraction of her festive decorations out for display.

“I always wait to see what the weather does. I want to see if it’s going to snow,” she said.

She explained this is because some of her props, like her flying ghost that can travel 50 feet of cable, needs clear skies to operate efficiently.

However, even if she doesn’t use the ghost or other decorations at home, she still puts them to good use at the Halloween carnival at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

“A lot of my decorations will go over there,” she said.

Murray said it’s tough to decide which decorations should stay to be used for her home, since there is such a wide age range of kids who come.

“We’ll get about 500 trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, and a lot of them are older kids that really like scary stuff, but we get a lot of little kids, too, and I don’t want to scare them, so I try to make it more fun than scary,” she said.

As to why she invests so much time, money and interest in the decorations, she said she does it because it goes with what Halloween is all about.

“It’s just good, clean fun,” she said.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at

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