The longtime tradition of ghouls, ghosts and Pickle Nose at one Eastside Costa Mesa home will continue to delight and fright visitors of all ages this Halloween season.
Colleen Hanson and Dale Parker, along with sons Davis Parker and Josh Hanson — the family whose home at 276 E. Wilson St. has unofficially been dubbed the "Halloween House" since 1995 — will set up all their figures, scenes and gags up until the candy-filled holiday Wednesday. Neighbor and friend Cathy Belmonte helps too.
The last night is the house's most active, but it's a busy one. As many as 3,000 people come by.
"It starts at about 5:30 and it just continues on," Colleen said. "They're out into the streets. There's no walking room."
But it's been tough financially this time around. The family will be accepting donations.
"This year, we're actually setting up a week late because we weren't going to do it," Colleen said last week. "It's just not affordable. But so many people said things that we felt we needed to."
Rest assured, there will be Pickle Nose — who talks and interacts with Halloween House guests from inside a coffin — and some 100 other figures that, mostly, are made from scratch by the family.
"Very seldom is any of this bought," Colleen said.
There will be scare characters who jump out.
"You don't know who's real and who's not," Colleen said. "And they scare you. Davis is the best one of all. He's been doing it many years."
Davis, who's camping out on the lawn to help protect the spooky setup, said the late-night drunk visitors are fun.
"They've actually wet themselves," he said. "We get people who scream — it's a blast."
There will be the bar scene and cowboy scene, where characters play poker and real tumbleweeds gathered off the freeway are placed.
And expect the usual assortment of black lights, fog machines, carved pumpkins, the "evil bed chick" and the witch who brews stew and has eyes that follow you everywhere. And don't forget the word puns: Anita Head.
But within it all, don't expect blood-filled gore. That's not the Halloween House's way.
"People will make up their own stories about everything they've seen in this yard," Colleen said. "We've heard that we borrowed it all from Universal Studios, because we work there or something. People just make up their own stuff."
For the record: They don't work at Universal's theme park. Also, there may not be any "real" ghost stories for their Wilson Street abode, but, according to Colleen, "creepy things have happened."
If You Go
What: Eastside Costa Mesa's "Halloween House"
Where: 276 E. Wilson St.
When: Through Wednesday. The family says Halloween night is busy, however, with about 3,000 people