Yard of the living dead
VINTON–For most children, earning their Halloween candy is a relatively simple process. They say “Trick or treat”, they smile when people compliment their costumes, and then they get a piece of candy.
At Vinton resident Diane Ruble’s house, however, children have to work a little bit harder.
“We will be having ghosts, we will be having…a Bloodville diner, which is people sitting eating body parts—which are plastic. We will have a witch stirring a cauldron,” Ruble said. “They way I’ve set it up, [the kids] have to walk past it to get to the candy.”
All of it—the waitress serving “eyeballs,” the skeleton ghost in the tree, and the movements in the “cemetery”—is part of Ruble’s Bloodville Manor Yard Haunt for trick-or-treaters on October 31. Meant to be fun for smaller children and a little bit scary for older ones, at Ruble’s house, the children get a little bit of trick, and a whole lot of treat.
For her, the decorations are all part of giving back to the community, especially in tough economic times such as these. While she has taken in homeless animals, donated her hair to Locks of Love, and given to charities such as Habitat for Humanity and Toys for Tots, her favorite way to give back is by holding her Yard Haunt. After all, Halloween is her favorite holiday of the year, even before Christmas.
“I love haunted houses, all the ghost hunting things,” Ruble said.
That is why she’s held the Yard Haunt every year for approximately a decade.
“I started this about ten years ago with two pumpkins on the front porch, and then I just started building from there,” Ruble said.
The next year, she had a couple of headstones, and then a whole graveyard; soon, it had exploded into the huge production she currently puts on for kids.
“Kids kept coming, I kept doing it, and now I’m obsessed with it,” Ruble said. “I have parents bringing their kids, and then their grandkids. It’s just built up, really, to where I can’t stop.”
Every September, she starts building spooky pieces for her production, many of which are made from old fans and turntables.
“My basement looks like a morgue,” Ruble laughed.
Last year was her biggest year so far. She prepared 50 bags of candy, and gave all of them out. This year, even though Halloween is on a Sunday, she is still hoping for a big turnout.
For the younger kids who come before it gets too dark, she usually just lets them look around, and then hands out the candy. When it gets dark, and the preteens and teenagers start to come out, that is when she has a little bit of fun, with foggers, and a lot of lighting tricks. Still, she’s careful not to go over the top.
“I don’t want to make them hate Halloween,” Ruble said. “Halloween should be fun.”
Bloodville Manor Yard Haunt is at 330 W Cleveland Avenue, and Ruble will be handing out candy from 6:00 to 9:00. The tricks, and the treats, are free.
“I’ve had some kids forget their candy, they’ve been so excited about seeing things,” Ruble said.