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Approach Steve Mueller’s Elizabethtown home, and you might hear motion-activated sinister voices addressing you as skeleton figures, hanging bats and a knife-wielding clown greet you.
Add to the mix giant spiders, a skulking vampire, creepy creatures, a wicked witch, scattered bones, a ghoulish graveyard and a variety of eerie items, and Mueller’s property goes beyond typical decorations.
“Each year I put more and more,” Mueller said.
The Park Avenue resident has been at it for the six years he’s lived there. Before then he was with the Louisville Jaycees and helped them with their annual haunted house.
The movie world might have Clark Griswold to light up the neighborhood at Christmas; Park Avenue has Mueller for Halloween.
“A lot of the neighbors get into it,” he said.
In fact, when Mueller had to take down some of the decorations because of windy weather, neighbors asked when he would put them back up. He began putting things back up as soon as possible.
“I kind of like Halloween,” Mueller said. “Everybody has their holidays.”
Christmas and Halloween are his favorites, he said.
As much or more than anything, Mueller enjoys creating his elaborate scenes for children. Each year, he said, hundreds of trick-or-treaters visit his residence.
In fact, he added to his display based on a tip he heard about some of the neighborhood kids.
“I heard there was going to be a lot of pirates, so I built a pirate ship,” he said.
Mounted on the front fence of his property, the ship is surrounded by skulls, skeletons and spider webs. In fact, a skeletal creature looms above the arched gateway to his yard.
But Mueller is not without his humorous and whimsical nature.
One of the signs affixed to his front fence announces, “Free candy next door.” Headstones sport epitaphs including, “2008 Dow Jones R.I.P.” and “2008 R.I.P. Enron.”
Creeping around his yard, roof and porch steps are spiders and rats, and bats hang from the porch roof.
In past years, his favorite display has been the cemetery.
“Now I kind of favor the pirate ship,” Mueller said.
Other items in Mueller’s display include a Nosferatu-inspired vampire featured in the TV mini-series “Salem’s Lot” and a demonic grinning humanoid in a white T-shirt and overalls he calls Jasper. Mueller said he gets some of his items — such as the mannequins he dresses in costumes — at yard sales.
Many of his items have motion sensors, so creepy voices greet visitors when they are near, and most of the skulls light up. Mueller uses a sound system and fog machine for trick-or-treaters.
The elaborateness of the display means a time investment putting it up.
“It’s a job,” Mueller said.
The reward of watching children enjoy his display is counteracted by all the work it takes to put it up and take it down.
“This is my last year,” Mueller said. “I’m not going to do it anymore. Well ...”
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frighteningly fun facts about Steve Mueller:
Favorite authors: Stephen King, Dean Koontz.
Favorite movies: “Salem’s Lot,” the 1979 TV miniseries; “Forrest Gump.”
Favorite music: Country.
Favorite TV shows: Reality shows, fishing, sports.
Hobbies: Fishing, walking.
Favorite childhood Halloween memory: Going through his bag of candy only to find one of the neighbors had given him an unwrapped candy apple and other candy had stuck to it.