A single group of tourists walking down a cobblestone street in Old Town runs the full gamut of emotions when they come across 119 Prince Street. Some children weep, some giggle, adults gasp with surprise, and once the shock of the imagery wears off: everyone poses for pictures.
For four years, Christine and Michael Wolfe have taken great pride in turning their home on Captain’s Row into the Halloween spot for the neighborhood, and every year the spooky spectacle swells.
“We’ve been doing this for four years now,” Christine said. “More and more people are getting into Halloween. It’s all-encompassing, it’s not just a family event. Someone can sit at home alone and watch a horror movie, that’s a perfect Halloween too. Everyone can enjoy it.”
Christine said the couple’s tradition started when they lived in Del Ray when they decorated the home for the neighborhood’s Halloween contest and for their Halloween party. When they moved to Captain’s Row, Christine said their neighbors were gracious enough to let the couple expand their tableau in front of the homes next door.
The result is a stretch of three of four homes covered with skeletons of realistic and fantastical design, from a giant lashed to a tree to a skeletal Cerberus guarding a bench.
Michael said most of the decorations are from Home Depot, though the supply is limited and some are out-of-stock decorations. One of the most unique items, though, are pumpkin heads from the Nightmare Before Christmas Broadway run. Christine said a former neighbor worked on the show and held onto the set decorations. Before they moved, the neighbor asked the couple if they were interested in adding the heads to their display, which they eagerly agreed to.
For set up, Michael says it takes around three hours to “pull the skeletons out of the closet” and transport them from a storage unit to the home. From there, he said the decorations come together organically. Some are limited by logistics — the giant skeleton has to go up against the tree for stability — but other little scenes come together as he puts the items together.
One of the newest additions is the spider webbing covering much of the block. The spiders were from a limited run at Spirit Halloween and were up last year, but the webbing is new this year.
“I wanted more of a ‘walking through’ [display], not just walking by,” Michael said. “People who are scared of spiders won’t get close though. They’ll walk in the street to avoid it.”
Another new decoration is an enormous werewolf holding the torn-apart pieces of a skeleton. The display moves and snaps its jaw at pedestrians. It is, like much of the rest of the display, a Home Depot purchase.
The couple also decorates the house for other holidays, though none as extravagantly as Halloween. Christine said the couple usually travels over Christmas, but in 2020 with the Covid pandemic in full swing, the couple stayed at home and “Griswold’d the house.”
Michael and Christine have looked at other options to expand the Halloween decorations, but those are still in the very early conceptual stages as the couple already starts planning ahead for Halloween 2023. In the meantime, tourists along the 100 block of Prince Street spend the nights gawking and getting pictures among the spider webs and in the clutches of an enormous wolf man.
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