On October 23, 2019

Rutland residents decorate their houses for Halloween

By Julia Purdy
Rutland Rec’s 60th annual community Halloween parade will wind through downtown with floats, clowns, marching bands, far-out costumes and, of course, candy on Oct. 26. Trophies will be awarded for Most Original, Best in Parade and Most Creative.
Barbie Spaulding, who transforms her home at 52 Bellevue Ave. into a haunted house each year to benefit Mentor Connector, is preparing her home for the longest-running Halloween parade in the U.S.
Last weekend, Spaulding and her volunteers, called the Boo Crew, continued adorning Spaulding’s premises. The yard has sprouted an entire “graveyard” and a giant tarantula, plus a pirate ship manned by skeletons and an alien ship, created from a radar antenna.
Inside, first-floor rooms are cluttered with boxes of props. “Everything will be in here,” Spaulding said. The family will move upstairs for the week.
The Mountain Times visited with the crew as they were taking a pizza break in the kitchen. Some were wearing black t-shirts with white lettering that read “Haunted House Bellevue Avenue Boo Crew.”
There are 32 volunteers altogether, Spaulding said. Many come from Mentor Connector, as well as friends and neighbors, even from some distance. Mentor coordinator Ryan Maines and staff member Claudia Gonda of Middletown Springs were present.
Spaulding begins working on the design and theme in September. “We work six weeks for a three-hour show.”
The Spauldings’ Halloween House has become a Rutland tradition. “We have people who bring their children now, who came here as children,” Spaulding said. “They’ll tell me at the front door, ‘I used to come here when I was a kid and these are my kids.’”
The house will be dark, with spooky music, lighting and sounds. Volunteers play characters but are careful to pause when they see little children coming with glow-sticks. “Their experience is a little more G-rated,” Spaulding explained.
“We don’t try to scare them,” added a volunteer.
One child was so scared he hid under a table and didn’t come out, Spaulding related. “We had to shut down, turn on all the lights and find him. We defuse that now by having a volunteer at the bottom of the stairs who explains what’s going on and tries to manage the people going up the stairs so we don’t have a lot of people turning around once they get up and coming back downstairs. A lot of times we have the parents drag the kids through, they don’t want to go. One time someone left their children with me at the front while they went through. I was in costume, they really didn’t know what I looked like.”
“That’s trust,” commented a volunteer.
The Spauldings’ Halloween Haunted House will be open on Oct. 31 only. Admission is free; donations will be turned over to the Mentor Connector. Previous years can be viewed at boocrewhauntedhouse.com.
Another popular Rutland tradition is elaborate Halloween lawn decorations. Lisa Lamb, who lives at 107 Fairview Ave., is really into Halloween.
“I’ve been at this house for six years,” she said, and she has turned her front yard into a playground for skeletons “pretty much every year.”
Some of the skeletons represent everyday scenes such as a couple relaxing in lawn chairs or dog skeletons fighting over a bone. Others are posed in entertaining antics, such as climbing the lamppost or scaling the front of the house. New this year are an adult riding a bicycle with a child on the handlebars, pulling a tricycle with a baby seated on it; a costumed football player and a costumed cheerleader; and snakes.
“We added the skeleton snakes,” Lamb said. “If you look closely you’ll see, on the skeletons climbing the roof the snake is biting the skeleton’s leg and on the lightpost also.”
It takes about two days to fully set it up.
“I’m the creative side and my husband makes it come together,” she said. “We add things to it throughout the month.”
Michael’s, Home Depot and Joanne Fabrics supplied the skellies. Made of plastic, they come assembled, with bendable joints.
Lisa Lamb works full-time at the Killington Resort and part-time at Speedi-Lube. Her husband, Jack Lamb, owns and operates Speedi-Lube at Woodstock Avenue and Route 7.
The Lambs’ two kids are older now, “they’re kind of over that,” said Lamb. “Halloween for me is happiness and laughter, you can be creative, it can be scary. It’s a great holiday for me. It brings me so much joy when we see people stop and take pictures, give us thumbs-up.”
The display can be seen at the end of Crescent Street where it tees with Fairview Avenue. It will be up until mid-November or “until the snow hits.”
Then it will all be stored in the garage until next September rolls around.

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