More than 200 trick-or-treaters came to the house the first Halloween it was decorated.

More than 200 trick-or-treaters came to the house the first
Halloween it was decorated.



BOARDMAN — Legend has it that each October, the earth parts and the inhabitants of a long-forgotten South Avenue graveyard make their presence known.

Just kidding.

The haunted cemetery near Lake Park Road is the creation of Brian Dunn, who lives in the house on the property.

“I really do it for the people and mostly for the memories,” Dunn said.

He remembers trick-or-treating as a child in Poland and how some neighbors went all out with their Halloween decorations, fog machines and spooky music.

He wanted to create similar memories for children who trick-or-treat in his neighborhood.

This marks the second time Dunn has adorned his house, front and side yards with tombstones, ghouls and ghostly figures. The first was in 2005.

“I added a lot this year,” he said.

A notable addition is an undead wedding party, bride and groom under the side porch archway with green-faced flower girl and mother of the bride looking on.

A masked figure lies in a casket in the front window. On Halloween night, Dunn dons the mask and costume, moves the casket to the front yard and distributes candy to young trick-or-treaters.

Two years ago, the candy seekers numbered between 200 and 250.

“It’s funny. One of my neighbors said that they didn’t used to have any trick-or- treaters until the display,” he said.

The heavily traveled road has no sidewalks.

Dunn started working on this year’s spooky holiday array in August, working on it each evening after work. He builds wooden skeletons, fattens them up with padding and dresses them in clothing he buys at a thrift store.

He constructs the headstones from cardboard and paints them with a faux finish to make them appear authentic.

The names on them are those of his friends, and yes, they’re still his friends. Others show a sense a humor, like “Anita Shovel” and “Barry M. Deep.”

The eerie menagerie totals 15 figures and 40 stones.

There’s a worm-covered skull atop one headstone and a meat cleaver dug into another.

One ghoul offers a severed foot on a tray and another reaches out, imploring for help or maybe fresh meat. There’s a second coffin with a recently departed woman out front, next to a freshly dug grave.

Dunn explains that the fresh dirt is from a stump he recently removed.

Overall, he’s enjoyed a positive response. People stop by to ask for a tour. Some honk their horns and yell, “Good job.”

“It’s a lot of fun,” Dunn said. “I really have as much fun doing it as the people have seeing it.”

His family decorated for Halloween when he was a boy and he tries to continue that tradition. But other than a life-size cross erected outside at Easter time, Halloween is the only time he decks out his home and yard.

Some don’t get the joke.

“I had someone ask me, ‘Do you sleep in that house?’” he said.

Another queried whether it was a real cemetery. Dunn had to explained.

“It’s just for Halloween,” he said.

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