The Ramos family has been planning Halloween since May.
“It’s kind of all of our favorite holiday,” Allison Ramos said. “We talk about Halloween pretty much all year long.”
This is the second year she, her husband and two kids will haunt trick-or-treaters who dare to seek candy Halloween night at their Graham-area home at 19608 91st Ave. E.
“It’s really kind of fun for people to get scared out of their wits, because later they can kind of laugh about it, but they still have fun,” said Ramos’ 10-year-old son, Nicholas. “They actually earn getting their candy.”
Visitors quickly know the Ramoses don’t mess around when it comes to the holiday.
Their yard has a pumpkin-head farmer, a couple of clowns, several creepy ghost mannequins, some grave stones, a witch, a coffin and spider webs with dead bodies inside.
There’s also about 50 spooky baby dolls hanging from a dead tree.
The family recruits neighbors to help, too.
“We dress them up and tell them what they’re going to be,” Ramos said. “I do their makeup for the night of, and we all scare kids.”
They avoid gore so little ones aren’t traumatized.
Still, the yard still gets pretty spooky.
“They’re so scary,” said neighbor Susan Hincks, who plans to prepare her 4-year-old daughter before they trick-or-treat there so she knows what to expect. “It puts Halloween into your mood.”
That’s the Ramos family’s goal.
It’s been easier to celebrate Halloween since they moved a couple of years ago to the Graham area from Germany.
“We walked around our Army base scaring people, but it wasn’t really the same,” Ramos said.
The best part of spooking their new neighbors, she said, is when parents ask them to scare their kids.
“The parents will set them up and tell us to get them,” she laughed.
Her own kids, Nicholas and 8-year-old Sophia, put serious thought into just how to do that scaring. They’re already contemplating what their costumes should be – for next year.
“I’m pretty sure I made someone cry last year,” Nicholas said. “I was pretending to be a dead guy. I jumped out at them.”
And even the haunters themselves aren’t completely immune to the scary surprises the Ramos yard has in store Halloween night.
“I don’t get scared, but it’s still kind of startling occasionally,” Nicholas said. “If you don’t want clowns jumping out at you, you probably shouldn’t go.”