BRUCETON MILLS — Absolutely insane.
That’s how Marcus Stiles described Inflatable Halloween Town — a front yard display of 108 Halloween themed inflatables in front of the Stiles’ home on W. Va. 26, just south of the Sugar Valley United Methodist Church.
“We come out here in the evenings especially on the weekends and we just kind of sit out here and try to soak it all in,” said Jennifer Louden, Stiles’ sister. “And it’s awesome to see the cars slow down really slow to go past everything. Some we’ll even see turn around, some will try and like pull off a little bit off the side of the road so that they can take pictures.”
The family isn’t prepared for people to stop and walk the property this year, Louden’s mother, Dina Stiles said. All of the inflatables are powered and there are uncovered extension cords everywhere which present a tripping hazard.
“We didn’t think it would get this big for one,” Jennifer said. “And two we didn’t think that I guess it would draw as much attention as what it did.”
There are already plans to expand though. Just like the display has over the past few years. It started with about four inflatables being set up for trick or treating while camping one year, and last year the family set up 42 inflatables.
Jennifer said those were mostly in the backyard and it was her dad, Mark Stiles’, idea to move it to the front yard so people could clearly see them. But “you catch a sale here and you catch a sale there and before you know it there’s 108 of them.”
There are clowns, minions, pirates, witches, skeletons, ghouls, ghosts, and all manner of spooky characters. Some inflatables — like a flying gremlin — hang in the air from paracord running between power poles and trees.
Dina’s favorite inflatable is an outhouse that has a zombie coming out of it.
“Everybody hunts, and of course where they hunt at, they have, you know, an outhouse,” Dina said “So, as soon as I saw it I’m like, well, that completely just fits because we’re hunters. And it’s cute. I mean, it’s creepy looking, but it’s cute.”
Jennifer organized the inflatables by attaching pictures of each one to a magnet and using a whiteboard to lay out the display.
Setting up was a family effort and took about a week working a few hours each night. Aaron Louden, Jennifer’s husband, said they’ve been setting this stuff up for a while and, once in a rhythm, 20 inflatables can be set up in a few hours.
Mark and Aaron are both supportive of their wives’ festive ways.
“If it’s what they want to do, they’re always, you know, they’re festive,” Aaron said.
“They let us do what we want to do,” Mark said.
“We like to drink beer and play cornhole,” Aaron said. “They encourage us to do that, and you know if this is the trade off you know I’m more than happy to do it.”
Aaron said the community reaction has been great and it’s really a win-win for everyone.
“We’ve seen people drive by then turn around. That’s what I like the best,” Aaron said. “They drive by slow, they go and they turn around and come back.