A family that haunts together stays together
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
By Wyndi Veigel
Though the building of graveyards, tombstones and creepy smoke-filled bayous may not be a typical family bonding activity for most, for the Hanna women Halloween is all about creating a spooky good time.
Vickie and Laurie Hanna, along with their mother Marilyn, moved out of the city of Plano to enjoy “the peace and beauty of the area of Copeville,” and soon realized that they needed something to bring the “Halloweenies” of their neighborhood together.
Both sisters have always loved Halloween since they were little kids.
“We couldn’t wait to dress up and go trick-or-treating with our other siblings and friends. But once you reach a certain age, no matter how much you still love Halloween, your options are pretty much limited on the whole going door-to-door thing,” Laurie said.
With no children of their own who were trick-or-treating and only a few friends who were Halloween enthusiasts, the women decided to devise a plan of their own to provide an outlet for their Halloween energy.
The women started dressing up and handing out candy and even added a few decorations.
Then the next year, it grew from a full decorations to an entire graveyard.
The year after that they added to their “spooky ensemble” by including lights and sound effects and the witches’ kitchen.
“As we watched each year grow, we also watched the kids start looking forward to our house more and more. They started knocking on the door weeks before Halloween asking if the witch would be back this year. We discovered that we loved being able to bring out the joy, imagination and magic of Halloween for the kids in our neighborhood,” she said.
Though originally only the sisters were involved in creating the Halloween setting, many of the Hanna’s friends, neighbors and even co-workers now participate in the event.
“One of Vickie’s neighbors ... has used his expert wood-working skills to help us build some of the harder props/decorations that would have taken us forever if we could have even accomplished them,” Laurie said.
The haunt is open to anyone wanting to get into the spirit of Halloween.
Though the Hannas do spend a large amount of money, the weekend’s activities are free to all.
“We spend most of the year building a lot of the props because, although it’s time consuming, it’s much less expensive than buying them, and the more we save, the more we can do,” she said. “We do have some wonderful friends who have donated what they could from bags of candy to their time helping paint and build. One sister, Melissa, who lives in Colorado and is unable to attend this year’s event sent the witch a new cauldron for her kitchen. Other donations have come to us in the form of building materials, Halloween decorations they no longer use and even a few bucks here and there.”
The haunt is open at dusk Oct. 30 and 31.
Oct. 30 visitors can visit the witch in her kitchen, have a chat with the Grim Reaper and take a stroll through the graveyard where they can watch the ghosts dance about and take a walk around the haunted bayou.
On Halloween night, a trunk-or-treat is being hosted for all to participate in.
The Hanna’s Halloween Haunt is located just off Business 78 in Copeville at 16426 FM 1778.
Since the festivities are set up behind the house, visitors are asked to drive down the driveway and park.
Family and parents are encouraged to attend with their children.
“We are not a professional haunted house, but we do go all out and have a great time. And although it is called a haunt, we do not allow anyone to scare the wee ones or anyone who wants to just visit and enjoy but not be frightened,” Laurie said.
For more information e-mail GotScare@yahoo.com.
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