Monday, November 13, 2017

The First Yard Haunter

Discussed this a while back, but have been thinking about it of late.
Who was the first person who decided to embellish their decorations to be more than just seasonal décor?  And what exactly makes a Haunt?

An old porch with corn and garland and pumpkins = Décor
The same porch with a real human skull on a small table next to a flickering candle = Haunt?

Who was that person who had the first thought of making a grave marker or tombstone and jammed it into their front lawn?

When did decorations spill out from the house onto the front porch and the lawn?


Anonymous said...

I would love to know who first started it, and would like to talk to them. My first question would be “what inspired you to do this”.

The Creeping Cruds said...

I was hooked as a kid in maybe 73 or so. I remember venturing out solo (at way too young an age) in Cincinnati. I went down thru some yards and got to the lowest street in my neighborhood and there was a guy who had a porch decked out with webs and a real coffin and an assortment of pumpkins. I strolled up to the door wearing what was probably some lame Ben Cooper vaccuform mask with a picture of whatever monster I was emblazoned on the front of my unitard and the coffin swings open and the dude is wrapped like a mummy and jumps up.
Scared the holy hell out of me.
I probably went straight home. But I never forgot it and from that point I was always more interested in being the guy who scared kids than the kid himself. A year or two later I got to help some friends set up a haunted barn in Detroit. A favorite memory even if it was just ghosts made out coat hangers and plastic bags. I always bought those monster make-up kids out of the back of Famous Monsters etc. I wasn't until seeing the pumpkinrot haunt that I ever dug in to making ground breakers and sentinels etc.

girl6 said...

i think the first Yard Haunter was possibly..Vlad the Impaler : D

boo_hiss said...

Family legend says my Grandfather and his brother dug a grave in the middle of main street (dirt at the time, obvs, woulda been sometime late 20's?), tombstone and coffin sticking out and everything. It goes along with all the noisemaking and pranks (and outhouse stealing). I think decorating/participating offered a sort of protection. Origins in Samhain/All Hallows guising traditions? But with a decidedly US spin. I don't think it's a new thing, but for the commercialization aspect.

Perhaps the holiday itself evolves, like a home haunter's collection of goods eventually overtakes all their available storage space as the years pass.

Willow Cove said...

Yes someone has to be the first to set up a yard haunt. It's gotta be around formation of trick-or-treating in America possibly? Maybe the horror classics like Dracula and Frankenstein and Hollywood help bring this about? There's got to be a photo of the first time in a shoebox somewhere.
And the lucky trick or treaters to to walk up to that first house!

Ragged Grin said...

Those accusing every other resident of Witchcraft back in Salem and across the pond, they probably had some disturbing displays.

Rot said...

VenomStorm comment: (accidentally deleted it on account of the Reject button being WAY too close to the Publish button)

Its a cool question. I wouldnt be surprised, though, if several people did it independently and it spread up from several areas of the country.