Halloween has become the second most popular holiday in the United States.
For 13-year old Grant Hall of Moorefield —it’s also a family affair.
Take a drive through the Moorefield community on State Road 129, and you can’t miss the annual Halloween display that Grant constructs with his grandfather, Terry Hall.
“We’ve done it for about seven years now,” Grant said. “Me and my grandpa do it every year. We’ve got all kinds of new stuff for it.”
Grant said that Grandpa Terry began to assemble the collection years ago when he would construct mannequins and other decorations for Halloween parties at the family bar.
“After he left the bar, he brought all of that home and we built a trailer and put all of that stuff on it,” Grant said.
The duo begins working on the display in early October, with the display “coming to life” in the middle of the month. In recent years, being able to secure the individual pieces of the display on the trailer and then secure the trailer from the winter weather has made construction easier — but the pair still must check electrical connections and other things to make sure everything is still in working order. Grant’s father, Caleb, helps secure the trailer with metal around the edges of the trailer.
“Squirrels mess with us,” Terry said with a smile. “I don’t care how much poison you put inside that trailer, squirrels are going to get in there. We found the skeleton of one of the squirrels on a display, so we just left it — gives it a real look.”
For Grant, his love of Halloween is matched by his love of getting to share all of this with his grandfather. He calls it an equal partnership.
“I say we do it together,” Grant said. “He gets a lot of stuff for it, then I kind of help him put it up. It’s a lot of fun for both of us.”
Terry Hall says that everything displayed on the highway began in the fall of 2014, but his construction started earlier than that.
“I got challenged from Vevay to Madison,” Terry said. “I said ‘I can whip your (behind) when it comes to Halloween (stuff)’, and that’s how it all started.”
Hall points to a well-weathered and still spooky clown on the far right of the display trailer. It is one of the oldest and original pieces in the entire display.
“Most of the stuff on the back row, and a lot the others I built,” Terry said.
And grandpa also enjoys spending this time with his grandson.
“Yes, that’s a big part of it,” he says. “We spend a lot of time together; and doing this is something we both really like.”
Technology has also helped with the project. With nearly all of the displays having the ability to be illuminated, for years it became a nightly task to go out and plug everything in.
Now, Grant’s mom, Megan, got a timer for the display, automatically turning things on and off.
“Some of the stuff runs on batteries, too,” Terry said. “But that can cause problems, because you don’t want the batteries to go dead before we get to Halloween. If you start too early, then you’ve got to go back and change all the batteries.”
As the display grows, it gets longer.
A tractor pulls the entire thing, which includes an open trailer filled with skeletons and other eerie things; with a closed trailer behind that.
And that old trailer also comes with Moorefield history.
“My grandpa told me that that wagon right there is the first rubber-tired wagon that Ethol Brown ever sold out of this place up here,” Terry said, pointing to the former site of Brown’s Farm Implement on the north end of town.
And the tractor up front also has family history.
“That tractor down there, when he got on it,” Terry said, pointing to Grant, “That’s six generations that’s drove that tractor. Once he gets taller than me, he can take over and have all of this stuff.”
The display is also at the center of some festivities this Saturday night, October 30th.
“This Saturday night, they do the trunk or treat at the Moorefield Fire House, then we do hot dogs, bean soup and stuff, and give out candy,” Terry said. “We usually start about dark. We’ve got more little stuff that can’t take the weather that we’ll be setting up on tables for people to see.”
Do they have a favorite piece?
“My two favorites have quit,” Terry says with a laugh. “We had one of the first ones and it sat on the corner. It was more like a school teacher. All of a sudden it would stand up. My little launcher, this year I can’t make it work. You’d walk by it and it would say something to you and then grab at you. We’ll have a flame thrower this year.”
For Grant, it’s the big witch that graces the back of the trailer about halfway.
“It’s a new one and it’s big and her eyes glow and she yells at you,” he said.
So what’s next?
“We’ve been talking about creating something that people can walk through,” Terry said. “Like an old mobile home or something. People could enter on one end and then leave at the other. We think that would be really fun.”