The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 30, 2012

Ghouls greet Fulton trick-or-treaters

Julie Anderson and Ray Blasdell create elaborate display

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

FULTON, Ill. — It’s not everyday one comes across a pirate ship filled with ghostly creatures or the grim reaper riding off on a Harley, but for Julie Anderson and Ray Blasdell it is an annual occurrence.

The couple dedicates much time and money towards creating unique and elaborate displays for both Halloween and Christmas.

“We got a little carried away this year, but it’s just so much fun,” Anderson said.

Their home features nearly every eerie creature imaginable, both inside and out.

A skeleton train conductor takes dracula for a ride. Charlie Brown and Snoopy donned in Halloween gear hang out with giant ghosts, cats and pumpkins. A zombie football player awaits a final pass. A skeleton ghoul greets visitors with a bowl of goodies. These are just a few of the highlights in the ghastly display.

“We try to do something different each year or at least rearrange things,” Anderson said.

 For the past five years, neighbors have been fascinated by the haunting displays at Anderson and Blasdell’s household.

“We have people stop by all the time or drive by really slowly to see everything,” Anderson said.

While the phantom creations may look seemless, it has not always been a walk in the park. The whole display comes to life with the flick of a few switches, but it was not always that organized. In their first year, they put too many displays through one outlet and blew a fuse. The amount of money spent on utilities to support all the lights, special affects and inflatables during this time of year is also quite expensive, but the decorators don’t seem to mind.

“Our electrical bills go up, but who cares,” Anderson said. “It’s only a few months out of the year and it’s worth it.”

In addition to days spent putting up decorations, Anderson spends countless hours preparing special treat bags for the kids. Each year she mixes things up, but keeps a variety including candy, pencils and toys. People of all ages enjoy the exciting atmosphere, but no one appreciates it quite like the little ones.

As soon as the frightening holiday is over, it’s time to get to work on the next project.

“It all goes down the day after Halloween and then we start putting up our Christmas stuff,” Anderson said. “It takes a long time to set everything up, so we like to start early.”

Entertaining the community is a main priority, but it wouldn’t be possible without a true love of holidays and celebrations.