Col­lec­tor’s Hal­loween house of hor­rors

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEWTSO

Shar­lene John­stone has a few skele­tons in her closet – she also has killer clowns, a chain­saw, toxic waste and bleed­ing can­dle­sticks.

In the days lead­ing up to Oc­to­ber 31 her home be­gins to re­sem­ble the set of a B-grade hor­ror movie when her col­lec­tion of ghoul­ish props comes out of stor­age.

With hun­dreds of spooky items, smoke ma­chines, lights and a stereo sys­tem pump­ing out screams and the sound of shat­ter­ing glass, John­stone trans­forms her Up­per Hutt home into a house of hor­rors for one night a year – Hal­loween.

The hair­dresser has been do­ing so for the last six years and said what be­gan as a fun an­nual project had be­come a bit of an ob­ses­sion. Every nook and cranny in her house and shed was now crammed full of her Hal­loween gear.

‘‘I think I’m go­ing a bit crazy. The amount of stuff I have is get­ting ridicu­lous.’’

Although Hal­loween was re­garded as a for­eign cel­e­bra­tion, John­stone had al­ways been fas­ci­nated by the fes­ti­val, hav­ing grown up watch­ing Amer­i­can films.

She wanted to cre­ate a fun and safe en­vi­ron­ment for lo­cal kids to ex­pe­ri­ence the fes­ti­val.

‘‘The kids aren't scared. They are ex­cited – it's all about hav­ing fun and mak­ing mem­o­ries.’’

‘‘The kids aren’t scared. They are ex­cited – it’s all about hav­ing fun and mak­ing mem­o­ries.’’

She had re­ceived a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back from the com­mu­nity over the years and many of her items had been do­nated by lo­cal busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als.

John­stone tried to make the spec­ta­cle big­ger and bet­ter each year. Her search for new items was a year-round ef­fort and what she could not find she made her­self, with a guil­lo­tine, elec­tric chair and nine ‘‘bod­ies’’ just some of her cre­ations.

Treats were also a must and $200 was be­ing spent on lol­lies to give away.

A lot of ef­fort went into dec­o­rat­ing her house and she said her boss at Eclipse Hair De­sign had gen­er­ously given her five days off this year to pre­pare for and re­cu­per­ate from her hor­rific hobby.

She was glad Hal­loween only came around once a year and def­i­nitely would not be putting in the same amount of ef­fort for Christ­mas.

‘‘Be­sides, I’m into the darker side of things,’’ she said.

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