The Haunted Mansion crew include from back left to right: Trusty Ryan Churchill, Maintenance Repair Specialist Phil Nemanic, and State Painter Mike Carpenter; front row from left to right: trusty Luke Roseveare and Facilities Supervisor Ron Bodnar. (Photo: Teri Vance)
It’s that time. Mornings are crisp. The air is cool. Leaves are falling from the trees. And the ghouls are creeping around the Governor’s Mansion.
The state’s Buildings and Grounds workers are putting the finishing touches on the mansion’s Halloween decorations this week, setting the city’s spooky vibes for the season.
“We try to get them up by the first week of October,” said Phil Nemanic, maintenance repair specialist for the Buildings and Grounds Division of State Public Works. “That way, people can enjoy them for three or four weeks.”
This will be Nemanic’s eighth year of coordinating the decorations, which culminates on Halloween night when the governor and first lady hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “Seeing all of the kids and their families who go through – it’s rad.”
After taking a break last year because of COVID-19, the tradition is set to return this year with Gov. Steve Sisolak and first lady Kathy Sisolak handing out Halloween candy.
“The governor and first lady love the trick-or-treating,” said Kristin Dillard, the executive coordinator for the mansion. “They had so much fun doing it the first year. They were pretty determined to make it happen this year.”
She said they are taking precautions.
“Fortunately, it’s all outdoors, and we’ll take every effort to make sure it’s socially distanced,” Dillard said. “We want to keep everybody safe.”
Nevada Department of Corrections’ industrial program, Silver State Industries, supplied the straw bales and pumpkins for the décor.
Inmate trusties from Stewart Conservation Camp also aid in the effort. Trusty Ryan Churchill said it is a good opportunity to serve the community.
“The whole crew is awesome,” he said. “We love it here. It’s a great transition.”
Revelers will want to check out the eerie vibes before the end of the month, as the decorations come down the day after Halloween.
“We go straight from Halloween at the Governor’s Mansion to Christmas at the Capitol,” Nemanic said. “We bounce back to the Mansion after Nevada Day to pull down all the Halloween stuff and start with Christmas as the Mansion then back to the Capitol. It’s all decorating all the time until Dec. 3.”
While it’s a hectic time of year, Dillard said the first family and staff are looking forward to it.
“It’s our favorite,” she said. “We’re excited to be doing it again this year.”
As in years past, Nemanic will be on hand helping out on the night of Oct. 31, with his 11-year-old son.
Dillard said not only is the mansion festive, but the surrounding neighborhoods also invoke the supernatural.
“All the houses are lit up and there are kids everywhere,” she said. “It’s just super fun.”
The adults even get in on the celebration. Both Dillard and Nemanic have their favorite decorations.
“I do love the skeletons crawling up the wall, Dillard said.
Nemanic added, “The cemetery is pretty cool.”
Bob Zmuda, from South Lake Tahoe, drove by the mansion Tuesday morning.
“Now I’m in the Halloween mood,” he said.