Those who have driven past Bob Lakin’s home on Oak Street have been anticipating Halloween for the past three weeks. That’s how long Lakin has been setting up in preparation for the haunting holiday Wednesday.
More than 19 homemade monsters, ghouls and plenty of fake human parts litter Lakin’s yard, inviting all those who dare find out whether it will be a trick or treat greeting them at the door.
“I just love it,” said Lakin with a grin from ear to ear. “Every day I try to put out something new so people driving by can see what else we have, and everyday someone stops to take pictures, stare or talk.
“That’s the reason I do all this. People love it almost as much as I do.”
Lakin said frightful displays run in the family. His father, also named Bob, has been decorating his home on the east side of St. Paul for the past 22 years.
“It’s become a family affair,” said Lakin, who enlists the help of his dad and stepmom, along with his wife, Jennifer, daughter Xiola, and aunts and uncles who live in nearby Onamia to dress in costume for an extra scare on Halloween. “My dad had been doing this for 22 years but the last two years he hasn’t set it up and we (Lakin and his wife) used to bring my daughter down and she loved it. So when he stopped, we decided we wanted to do it.”
The first year Lakin said it was a much smaller scale version than what can be seen today. A couple tombstones and only one or two creatures last year has expanded to the current chaos it is in its second year.
Making Lakin’s monsters unique is that the majority of them are handcrafted or handed down from his father.
“Underneath (the creature’s costumes) most of that is made from recycling,” he said, adding that one monster can take him up to five hours straight through, sometimes longer. “I find things and think, ‘Hey maybe I can make this into something’ and most of the time I can get it to be what I want.
“The thing I like about these (monsters) is that they are light and easy to move. Add in the fog machine, which is new this year, along with the coffin and lights in the eyes (of monsters) and on the ground, it looks really cool at night.
“Exactly what we’re going for.”
The inside of the Lakin home is also decked to the nines in Halloween decorations, with spider webs and “blood spattered walls” throughout the kitchen and first floor. Lakin said his wife spends the day preparing the home for 7-year-old Xiola’s annual Halloween party which she had last week. One day he said he would like to have a haunted house tour through the family’s home.
But still adding in another dose of screams, Lakin said he and his family will be dressed in mask and costume from head to toe, warning that you never know if you will be looking at one of Lakin’s monsters, or a monster-dressed Lakin.
“Everyone is welcome to stop by and check it out,” he said from beneath his Freddy Krueger mask. “This is what makes the holiday fun, the whole family goes all out for this one.”
And for the trick-or-treaters of all ages, there will be plenty of both tricks and treats at the Lakin home come Wednesday.
“We will have probably about $50 worth of candy,” he said, “so it will be worth the treat, too.”