October 19, 2013 in Washington Voices

‘Queen of Halloween’ puts on another spook-tacular display

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Chris Sheppard dons only one costume on Halloween, a robe, crown and sweatshirt reading “Queen of Halloween.” Indeed, her house dominates the neighborhood, with hundreds of whimsical items for the holiday. Sheppard is shown at her home, 1722 S. Bettman Road in Spokane Valley, on Wednesday.
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If you go

Chris Sheppard’s Halloween light display at 1722 S. Bettman Road, Spokane Valley, will be up through Halloween.

When looking for Chris Sheppard’s Halloween light display, her sister, ViAnn Meyer suggests, “just look for the orange glow in the skyline.”

Sheppard has been decorating her home – inside and out – in a multitude of Halloween decorations and lights for around 20 years.

“I’ve always been a holiday person,” she said. She decorates to some degree for every holiday, but it’s Halloween and Christmas she goes all out for – so much so, she is known as the queen of Halloween.

Outside, there are push-button novelties set up on tables. There are mummies that sing “Thriller,” stuffed animals that make noise. Books that read spooky spells when they are opened. One black cat meows angrily while his head spins around. There are Snoopy collectibles and Scooby Doo. There are pieces of fake pizza with ears and fingers for toppings. A box of “Roadkill Helper,” will help someone make cheese and carcass macaroni.

There is a courtyard filled with light-up pumpkins, a 20-foot-long inflatable Halloween spooky train. The train is one of 28 inflatable decorations, others include black cats, pumpkins, ghosts, Frankenstein’s monster, a headless horseman and a pirate ship.

A graveyard sits under some trees – a skeleton crawls from the earth.

Over the garage, a sign from the Bates Motel flashes between vacancy and no vacancy.

Sheppard said she really doesn’t go for the scary when decorating for the holiday. It’s more whimsical.

Once night falls, the lights glow with orange radiance, but Sheppard said the neighbors haven’t really complained.

The inside of her home, which she shares with her husband, Mark, and sisters Della and ViAnn Meyer is decorated as well.

A 6-foot tall Wicked Witch of the West will threaten to get you, my pretty, after you push a button on the wall. She’s part of a scary movie display in the home’s theater room. There are movie posters of classic scary movies, bobble-heads of Michael Meyers, Jason from “Friday the 13th,” Chucky, the guy from the “Scream” movies and Freddy Krueger.

In the stairwell, there are spooky old-fashion pictures of people whose eyes light up red. At the top of the stairs, a life-size butler will recite “The Raven.”

She has a Halloween village of tiny light-up buildings. A 7-foot shrouded skeleton which sings “Who Can it Be Now” by Men at Work. There are pillows and china.

“Most everything has its place,” Sheppard said.

She starts working on the inside at the end of August every year and the outside through September. Once everything is set up, she goes into fine-tuning mode, changing burned out lights and dead batteries in a station she calls her “Halloween hospital.”

On Halloween – she said 500 to 600 people visited last year – she enlists the help of her friends from the Inland Empire Gardeners to help pass out candy and help the kids with the push-button novelties. She dons a shirt which says, “Queen of Halloween,” along with a cape and crown to greet visitors.

Sheppard said Mark will sometimes complain about the electricity bill, so she keeps a jar for contributions next to the novelties outside.

But she keeps a sense of humor about his complaints.

“At least I don’t have a drug problem.”

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