CHARLES TOWN – Johnnie Parkin and Sallie Edwards don’t really believe in ghosts, but they believe in the magic of Halloween.
For the past 10 years or so the Charles Town couple has decorated their home to summon the spooky holiday’s paradoxical merrymaking power to lift spirits and make people smile after a good scream.
Every October, their haunting frills transform their two-story craftsman-styled home on Church Street into the neighborhood’s “Halloween House,” which sits next to Zion Episcopal Church’s graveyard.
“It was just kind of a fun thing and it caught on,” Parkin said.
“Halloween is just a fun holiday,” Edwards explained. “You don’t have all the obligations of Christmas or anything, and so you can do whatever you want to be creative, and, you know, it’s something that, even as adults, we can enjoy.”
Every year Parkin, 59, and Edwards, 50, change up their decorations to keep the holiday fresh. This year reflects a mostly skeleton theme basked in purple-tinted lighting.
Skeletons of various sizes stand in their yard, while several are lounging about on the porch or doing different things around the top and side of the house. A couple of ghosts, a scarecrow and a dragon round out this year’s characters.
One whimsical skeleton on the roof is busy fishing with an oyster-net contraption.
“We want to be spooky, but we also don’t want to be gross or anything,” she said.
That’s Halloween, tastefully done.
Their neighborhood usually draws between 200 and 300 trick-or-treaters during a typical holiday, they said.
“When you get an audience like that, you want to perform for them,” Edwards joked.
The couple also dresses up—he often the Grim Reaper, she a classic wicked witch—to pass out candy on the Big Night—All Hallows Eve.
Edwards and Parkin are not sure whether the pandemic will bring more or fewer trick-or-treaters this year. But their decorations will be up night and day through the holiday for people any age to see.
“We just like to do it and see people drive by and see the smiles on people’s faces and stuff,” he said.
The couple acknowledges they’d be charmed if some passersby got a goosebump or two, either night or day.
“As long as it’s in good spirit and everything, I think that’s cool, particularly on trick-or-treat night,” Edwards said. “Being spooky, in the good way, is part of it.”