At Fred Fidler's home on Halloween, witches boil a head in a caldron, Freddy Krueger stays in the daughter's bedroom, and a vampire answers the doorbell.
But a Halloween tour through the Evans resident's house is meant to provide more fun than fright and more thrill than chill.
For the past 13 years, Fidler, a ceramic engineer, has opened his home to friends and neighbors in the Chimney Hill and Northwoods subdivisions.
"I just enjoyed Halloween as a kid, but at some point it got popular to believe Halloween was some sort of satanic deal," Fidler said. "But it's about kids having fun, for goodness sake. I enjoy it, and I want them to enjoy it."
Halloween tours have been a pastime for Fidler for 40 years, he said. Fidler said his love of Halloween began at an early age. In college, he would dress as a vampire and friends would carry him in a coffin to fraternity Halloween parties. A few years ago, his mother paid for his set of custom-molded vampire fangs.
Preparations for the Halloween tour begin in early September. There are hundreds of decorations to place, including tombstones, coffins, skeletons, ceramic Halloween villages, severed limbs and more than 60 monsters, vampires and life-sized corpses.
Every room in the house, save the master bedroom, is decorated. The shower in the guest bathroom is filled by three yetis; an alien abduction takes place in the guest bedroom; and there's a live hand of poker among several corpses at the Deadman's Hand card table in the foyer.
Decorations go from floor to ceiling to offer even small children the opportunity to take in some ghoulish fun. Fidler said he relies on yard and clearance sales and many homemade props to stock his home and is in constant competition each year to keep up with the expectations of children and himself.
"If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it," he said, adding that it allows for a creative release. "It brings out the kid in everybody, and that's a good thing."
Fidler's love for Halloween has passed down to his children.
Daughter Tara Fidler said her father's love of fright provides no shortage of birthday and Christmas present options.
Flying home one year for her father's birthday, she said she had to explain why there was a monster head in her duffel bag along with a sack of eyeballs.
"I guess it's in my vampire blood," she said.
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