Collector’s Halloween house of horrors
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.