, Newburyport, MA


October 30, 2013

A 'boo-tiful' Halloween

This column is one of the most enjoyable I believe I’ve ever done in over 12 years. This idea was all started by a West Newbury friend, Leif Young. We were talking about Halloween and he told me that he had been in a project with some friends by the name of Nicholas in Groveland for many past years.

Bruce and Karen Nicholas of 11 Birchwood Terrace started a haunted house about 10 years ago on their property. Throughout the years neighborhood children, their parents and their own child as well as many volunteers get together every Halloween night from 5 to 7 and “spook” this address. What a fun-loving group of dedicated ghosts! Every year Bruce makes new projects and on Sept. 1, Karen starts buying the candy that’s offered to each child who comes through the haunted house. I must add parents can also get candy! This is a free, wonderful, well-thought bustle of activity that has faithfully been put on by this couple for approximately 10 years.

It all started with just the garage being decorated first. A young boy stood outside with his toy saber and said, “Open Sesame!” and that begins the adventure. Next they added the house and now it spreads to the backyard.

They have black decorative lighting and psychedelic lava lamps, red bulbs, strobe lights, Bruce’s homemade coffins, tombstones, owls, skeletons, jail cell, as well as store-bought gimmicks. So enjoy the spooks: orange eyes and projection lights, Dracula in the coffin and more new features being added this year.

Candy is given out to all who enter and I heard some people return the same night to see it all once more. They get candy again — not bad.

I asked her why they had started this project; she said she knew a woman who had a haunted house and she had never forgotten it. Both she and her husband want to give back to their community. Needless to say, the neighbors seemed to love it. So all of this comes into the reason why.

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