A frightfully good night for trick-or-treating
October 31, 2005
It began with a Halloween dinner of mummified hot dogs, chocolate spiders and ghostly cheese slices in blood-red tomato soup. As the sun completed its journey across the sky and darkness took center stage, the apparitions came knocking.
For the last four years, three generations of the McLaughlin family have gone all out for Halloween, and this year they unveiled Mount Cyanide Hospital at their house at 611 W. Robinson St.
“Every year we make up the idea in our heads, and then we do it. The family just loves this holiday,” said Sherry McLaughlin. “The girls thought this up; they have all the enthusiasm.”
The family said they began the tradition, which takes roughly two days to set up, as a way to try to make the neighborhood fun and keep up with their famous neighbor – Gov. Kenny Guinn.
“We started doing it because my husband works with the governor, and we want to give the kids more places to go,” McLaughlin said.
Down the street at 603 W. Robinson St., Michael Spears’ family has been scaring kids for more than two decades.
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“Every year, we try to do something new. My parents started doing it when we were little and we would get maybe 500 kids, and it has grown every year,” Spears said.
This year, both the McLaughlins and the Spears bought enough candy to accommodate about 3,500 children. The McLaughlins went with 10 large bags of assorted candies, and the Spears had 45 pounds of Jolly Ranchers.
Up the street at the Governor’s Mansion, the crowd began forming at 4 p.m. for a treat and a picture with the governor. Five-year-old Bella Mina was first in line.
Bella came as her favorite Disney princess, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.” It would be her second time meeting the governor, and she wondered if he would remember her. She was looking forward to filling her plastic basket.
Bella predicted she would end the night with 6 pounds of candy as her haul.
“I like trick-or-treating in costumes and getting candy,” she said.
Bella said she likes the suckers and chocolate best, but doesn’t like Tootsie Rolls because they are too hard.
For the McLaughlins, the payoff for the months of planning and work setting it up their display is the reaction of the children, everything from fear and apprehension to unbridled laughter.
“The families in this community are wonderful. Most of them are out with their kids, and they are very respectful,” McLaughlin said.
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
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