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Over the years I'm sure most of us have received our fair share of sneers, snickers, and odd looks as we spend the long months preparing for Halloween. I often wonder if it’s worth all the time, money and sacrifice. Then I’m reminded that it is. You see over the past few days as I have been running errands I had notice a group of small kids, probably around 1-3 years old, playing in the street. As I pull into my driveway and get out of my car they come running down the street as fast as they can yelling “SEE TRICK R TREAT, SEE TRICK R TREAT”. These kids can barely walk or even talk yet here they are with huge smiles on their faces asking to SEE TRICK R TREAT. I can die today knowing that it all wasn’t a waste – THE BEST COMPLIMENT EVER.
 

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My “best” was similar to yours Skeleton Crew. I moved from DC where I averaged 650 TOTers, to suburbia where I averaged half that on a good night. A couple of years in however, my neighbors on the block behind me (who were probably about 5, 7, and 10 at the time) saw me out in the yard in early September and came over to ask when I was going to start decorating and would I please put up the outhouse first. Then, they proceeded to tell me, in great detail, which of the other props they wanted, where they thought I should put them in relation to where they were in years past, and why they wanted to have them out in a certain order!! Ahhhhhh, made my heart proud.
 

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we get complements all the time and its such a great feeling knowing that we're making parents and kids happy. my favorite happened last year at walmart a week before Halloween. we were picking up extra candy just incase we ran out and I was in one aisle and my wife was in the next one over. I hear her talking to a woman and then I hear that woman loudly say Oh My God you have the house on Fairfield road with all the inflatables. so then my wife called me over and I said hi to her and her kids and then her kids asked me who I was dressing up as and I said Leatherface and they asked if chucky, michael and Jason will be there and I laughed and said yes. mind you these kids were between 5-8 and I thought it was awesome that they knew those horror characters.
 

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I usually get compliments saying "You have the best house in the neighborhood" and a lot of the kids will take pictures with my Chucky and Tiffany dolls, the Limb Ripper Werewolf and/or whoever I'm dressed as. It's great seeing before the big night neighbors driving through the neighborhood and looking at everyone's decorations (There's only like three other houses and myself who go all out) and then hearing compliments while they're in the car. Even my co-workers at my job have taken time out to come drive half a hour or so to see what I've put up.

Craziest thing about it? I buy and put everything together by myself year after year. Not too bad hearing best house in the neighborhood yearly as a 27 year old college student who decorates the hell out of his parents house. :D
 

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The compliments at the end of a long decorating stint are what make it worth it. We decorate the entire first floor of our house and it's a ton of work; so much so that we have a couple of friends help us get set up. There's always a point (or 2 or 3 or 4) when we're setting up that I ask myself if it's worth it. But then comes the party and the the ooohs and aaahs. Of course, the guests are family and friends, so you never know if they're just being nice (though, several score of "oh my gawd!" seems fairly sincere).

Then comes our senior citizen night, school fundraiser night(s), and Halloween night itself, where we get a lot of neighbors and people from all over. Hearing them go on and on about the decor is very satisfying. There are a few kids from the street behind us that start riding their bikes by the house at the end of summer, trying to catch a glimpse of the projects we're working on in the garage.

Some of the more cooler things we've been told:

"We wait all year for this!"

"We talked about this all year and were hoping you did it again this year."

"I hope you don't mind I'm back for the fourth time, but I had to bring more people to see this."

"This looks like a Hollywood movie set!"

And, of course, our favorite: "Hanus Manor could give Disney's "Haunted Mansion" a run for its money." (http://www.azfamily.com/story/36676119/spooky-house-in-gilbert-raises-money-for-high-school)
 

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My BEST is a rather sad story really, but I've told it several times on here before.

It was our second year at the house. The first year, I'd just had time to make myself a mask, dress up, and sit in the yard with a few tiki torches. The second year, I'd planned a full front yard in a witch doctor/headhunter theme. I had a new costume and built a quick and dirty dummy to put the old costume on. Had it in a popup gazebo with the giant candy bowl, and why not, put a strobe light on the thing.

It was a silly but effective gimmick. I wandered the yard, keeping an eye on the candy bowl (giant bowl full of full size bars on an honor system back then) and scaring kids. And I heard a little girl (6 ish) complain "Oh, another house I can't go up to." I immediately went over and offered to turn the strobe off, but she didn't want to 'ruin it for her brothers and sisters'. So, I made her a promise that the NEXT year, I would make sure it was all safe for her, and it would be better than ever.

I joined an epilepsy forum immediately after halloween that year, asking questions on what all needed to be done to make things safe. I joined here after a lot of lurking as well, asking if anyone had any ideas.

Both places told me not to bother, wouldn't be worth my effort, it's the parents and kid's job to keep her safe, etc.

I did my own research on the side. Found out not only strobes, but some of the other lighting designs I'd used were problematic. I completely changed how we did the lighting, and adjusted the theme to help fit the new intended lighting. It was down right BRIGHT compared to most people.

I was using the side of the house as well as the front this year. Still just me. I mostly stayed to the side of the house, to keep an eye on the candy bowl again. But, I heard the girl protesting 2 houses down. "No, we have to go THERE! It's SAFE!" couldn't hear the reply from her mom, but could guess. "But he PROMISED HE'D FIX IT!"

She was in a wheel chair this year. I met them out at the driveway. She asked if it was safe, and I assured her it was. As her brother pushed her through, I don't think anyone has ever enjoyed things more. Her mom informed me she'd been depressed that year with halloween decorations up, but they had seen me setting up, and all that girl had talked about was how I'd make Halloween safe for her. But her enjoyment was the best compliment I could ever have.

She'd only make it one more year before whatever disease/syndrome/situation would take her life.


The ones I enjoy that seem to happen often when someone discovers my love for Halloween.
"oh, where do you live?"
"You've got to go see this guy's house." (proceeds to describe how to get to my house)
 

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The best compliments I have received aren't necessarily compliments, per se. Onetime a friend of mine from another part of town stopped by during Halloween season. He was dropping off a teammate of his sons (who lives on our street) and he stopped to chat. My friend told me that the kid asked him, "You know that guy?", admiringly (or incredulously) as I am the well known Halloween nut on my street, and likely an object of fascination for your average 10 year old boy (as my decorations, and yours as well, prolly) are exactly what a 10 year old boy would do if he had the money, knowledge.


Just last week my eight year old daughter told me that some kids at summer camp who she didn't know came up and asked her if ours was the house with the great Halloween decorations. I am a minor celebrity in the elementary school system! Which is nice.

Frankly the comment that I remember most wasn't a compliment. The husband of a co-worker said, when they came by to view my decorations, something to the effect that some guy up the street had better decorations, because he had "lasers". I had literally $10,000 worth of props in my yard, plus all the stuff I have made over the years, and some guy who spent $75 bucks on a laser had better decorations?

I truly love it when very little kids tell me I have the best decorations. On the street, that they've seen, whichever. Occasionally though some 12 year old will tell me I have the best decorations on the street, and I am tempted to say (but of course do not), "Well, duh!"

Mike
 

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Much like everyone else, it is the neighbor kids coming by saying they couldn't wait until we got it all set up again, coming over every night to see it. Mind you that our display goes up Labor Day weekend and it is up until Just after Halloween. Some other compliments:

"This is so cool"

"Man I couldn't wait to get over here"

"My kids have talked about this the entire year"

But one of my favorites is: "You guys are really strange and weird, and maybe even a bit crazy"
 

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Very sad. Reminds me of a boy in the neighborhood; actually, he's one of the ones that rides his bike by the house. I don't know what his condition is, but he cannot come into (or near) the house when I have the fog machine running due to some lung health issue. His dad will come by and let me know when he wants to come over and I'll shut off the fog and let it dissipate, so he can come through.


My BEST is a rather sad story really, but I've told it several times on here before.
 

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Great story, Unorthodox! Definitely sharing with my family too.


Last year was the first year that I really put my heart and soul into decorating. A lot of the kids were so young that they couldn't talk, let alone comment on my decorations, but a lot of the parents said very kind things.

My anxiety was flaring up and I was irrationally catastrophizing, telling myself that the people clearly HATED my display, or thought I was an obsessed nut, when a woman walked up and complimented my pumpkin. Not just complimented it, she raved about it. Two days earlier, I had worked maybe 5-7 hours on this pumpkin, and when I woke up on Halloween, it was FILLED with mold and literally melting. I had been so frustrated and nervous about the pumpkin, I almost cried after she left. I was so grateful to know that someone saw and appreciated the work that I put into it.
 

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Some indirect compliments of mine were of some teenage girl was walking fast towards my display in my garage and overheard her say"I love, love this house!" excitedly , another one was a message my neighbor sent to me via the nextdoor neighborhood app, he said my display was "surreal " ...those two comments stick in my mind and fuel me to keep on doing this every year
 

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A woman and her kids driving by once while I was putting out my display stopped to tell me how excited she and her kids were to see me getting started. She said that they love coming by my haunt every year and start talking amongst themselves about when they think I'll get started. She said they made special drives by to see if I had begun. I honestly didn't think my display was that great - it's really nothing compared to what I see on this forum - so it really meant a lot to me to have that positive impact on her and her family.

I actually won my neighborhood's decorating contest last year, but that honor pales in comparison to what that mom told me when she drove by.
 

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I've gotten plenty of compliments from the parents, but the ones from the kids are the best!

The early- teen boy who lives on my street, who brought his friends by, telling them mine was the coolest house in the neighborhood (and I don't do blood & gore, either!) - he stands out in my mind.

But my all time favorite - little guy didn't even say a word! Dad brought probably 4 year old son over for ToT. Little guy didn't even want to go to the house next door, so I heard Dad let out a big sigh and told him to go ahead. I watched this tiny Ghostbuster come running up my driveway, with the wand to his pack drawn - then stopped to "shoot" my few ghosts (or maybe the skeletons, too - I don't know!) :D:D:D It was the cutest thing ever!! Dad said he'd been talking about coming to my house since I first started setting up!
 

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The thing that really makes doing it every year are the compliments I get. Sometimes I wonder if people really appreciate all the time and energy I put into it, and then it will be a few weeks before Halloween, I'll come home with literally a car load of pumpkins that I'll be placing around the front flower beds when someone will walk or drive by and say they are so happy to see that I'm getting ready for the year. They let me know that they, as well as their kids look forward to seeing my display every year.

Then, on Halloween night our house is without a doubt the hit of the neighborhood with parents and kids all over the front yard remarking about how they love all of the Jack O Lanterns we've carved. When they say how amazing everything looks, and how it looks even better than last year.

I had one woman tell me she drove 45 minutes just to see our house, and another man tell me how his son tells him every year that he has to come see what all we've done.

That right there is what makes it worth it. I usually carve pumpkins for 5 days straight, 10 hours a day to get everything finished, and by the end of that 5th day I ask myself "Why" do I do this. Then that night comes and I realize it is all worth it. Now I can't wait for this year to begin!!!
 

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I had a guest who, overall, was kind of a nightmare. He couldn't remember what time our party was so instead of 1) asking; or 2) checking the invitation, he just showed up. TWO HOURS EARLY. I was still panic-cleaning and hadn't even showered yet. He also spent the night on our couch (which I normally encourage!) despite the fact that he, at my count, only had 3 drinks over the course of 7 hours, and considering he showed up two hours early, I was seriously ready for him to leave. But I digress. That little terror was completely delighted with our haunted house, and he told me that we had created magic. I always thought that was the nicest thing. He is not my favorite guest, but that's my favorite compliment!
 

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No single compliment, but It's always the kids. Little kids are honest because they have not yet learned to "say something nice" even if they don't really like it. When you see the kids slack-jawed and looking at everything, then they tell you it's the best house they have been to all night, you can believe they will probably remember it for the rest of their lives. Best!
 

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I've gotten lots of compliments over the years on my costume, my pumpkins, my display, but to me the highest compliments are the gasps and ooos and aaas. I always had my interior decorated with lots of lights and candles on the inside as well as the outside and I'd stand with my curtains and doors open, the lights off and just all my decor lit.

It always felt good seeing people peek in and be like woahhh cause it looked so cool. So my favorite compliments aren't so much words but reactions. I know I did a good job then!
 
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