By Christine Bryant
Drive down Bartlett Road, and you may feel like you’re stepping into a scene straight out of a Hollywood horror movie.
For Nathan Edwards, that’s the perfect way to mark one of his favorite times of the year – Halloween.
Edwards is one of a handful of homes in Reynoldsburg who decorates for Halloween like many others do for Christmas – full of energy and excitement as darkness come to life.
With boarded up windows, an old rickety electric chair, and a chainsaw-holding “leather face” man welcoming trick-or-treaters, Beggars’ Night is memorable for parents and kids alike as they stroll down Bartlett Road.
“We’ve lived here now for a little over three years and have done it every year,” Edwards said. “When we first moved here, we noticed the amount of kids in the neighborhood and I thought how much fun it would be to decorate.”
With time still left to add finishing touches, Edwards said he’s toying with the idea of adding a deathly hallows scene in which he will string up a tight fishing line and hang ghostly figures and Halloween netting. Behind it, he will add a video FX projector that displays a horrifying scene.
“Obviously building certain things to a monstrous height is a little out of the question, but within reason, I can build to a decent, manageable size,” he said.
Adding to the spookfest, his next door neighbor is joining the fun by featuring a “gory, murderous campsite,” or in other words, a “campsite gone wrong,” Edwards said. “They’re really into camping and thought how cool to have something like that.”
Though there’s plenty of decorations available in stores to turn anyone’s house into the talk of the neighborhood,
Edwards enjoys taking items he already has and turning them into frightful embellishments.
“I try to make things with what I have,” he said. “Driving down the street on trash day can spawn ideas with people’s discarded waste. We’ve seen ideas on Pinterest or even other displays and I’m like, ‘I can do that.’”
Kids notice. The first year, Edwards and his wife, Darla, welcomed about 100 to 150 trick-or-treaters. Each year since, that number has grown, with the couple expecting as many as 500 this year.
“We had the Reynoldsburg Schools homecoming parade go down our street and the kids on the floats were in awe and shaken to the bones of a few displays,” he said. “So I’m sure they will be by as well.”
Edwards says seeing kids’ faces as they approach the house is well worth the time spent building and displaying each decoration.
“Seeing the priceless reactions of the older kids getting scared makes my evening,” he said. “As for the little tykes, so many want to walk up for their once-a-year free candy, but can’t. I find it precious yet horrifying for them because they’re huddled behind their parents.”
Remembering his childhood memories during Halloween has led the now 38-year-old to set new traditions for his family and neighbors, Edwards says.
“I feel like I’m trapped in a 10-year-old’s body all over again, getting ready for the yearly candy grab,” he said. “Growing up on so many classic Halloween-type movies, like ‘Nightmare on Elm Street,’ ‘Halloween,’ ‘Scream,’ ‘Young Frankenstein’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ to name a few keeps the young in everyone’s heart.”