It’s like any scary movie: a garage turned into a morgue haunted by the scariest of shrieking characters, and a front lawn inhabited by zombies, witches and limbs.
It’s all part of the Halloween-themed yard display Richmond resident Jennifer Pavlovic has prepared, as she takes up the tradition of transforming her parents’ home into a haunted site for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
She was first inspired as a child when she went trick-or-treating at a neighbour’s house who dressed up as a witch from the Wizard of the Oz and went out of her way to decorate her garden.
And now — a house and a husband later — Pavlovic, 30, continues to expand her own yard display, because for her nothing beats the creepiest celebration of the year.
“I’ve enjoyed it since I was a little girl. I remember being so excited about the decorations, the parties and the candy,” she said. “I like Halloween better than any other holiday, even Christmas, because I get to be so much more creative.”
Along with her sense of creativity, a lot of time, effort and money (up to $600 dollars annually) are put into Pavlovic’s haunted Halloween yard display.
She usually starts preparing in the beginning of August, researching new props on the Internet.
“Every area has a different theme,” she said. “And I like to add new things because I don’t want people to have seen it all before.”
Although her parents weren’t really into Halloween before, they support Pavlovic in her passion, pitching in while she prepares decorations. Her husband’s building skills come in handy, too, as some of the spooky figures are created out of wooden frames.
And when all her work is done, seeing the happy faces of young trick-or-treaters stopping by makes it all worthwhile.
“There’s not much to do in Richmond when it comes to Halloween and I like the kids to have a fun place to go to. I like to make them happy,” Pavlovic said.
Apparently, her display doesn’t miss its effect on adults either, as “they sometimes get scared, too.”
But to Pavlovic, Halloween is about more than fun.
“I figured, if we’re going to do it big, we might just as well help others.”
Therefore, visitors can make food or money donations, all of which are directly passed on to the Richmond Food Bank. She selected her charity after an eye-opening visit to the non-profit organization. “I saw all those single mothers with their children and thought it was so sad. And this time of year, people often forget how many people depend on the food bank,” she said.
Excited her best-loved event is quickly approaching, she’s already dreading the moment it will be over.
“After all the work I’ve put into it, I get sad when it’s over. Packing up and cleaning is not my favorite,” she said, adding it takes her and her family a week to store all decorations back in the attic.
Pavlovic’s haunted Halloween yard display can be visited on Oct. 30 and 31, from 5 to 11 p.m. at 11731 No. 2 Rd., just south of Steveston Highway.