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‘Halloween House’ worth the drive to Boulder City

Updated October 27, 2023 - 5:44 pm

Deep, unnerving voices of towering scarecrows, zombies and skeletons taunt spectators who dare walk by. The hair-raising sound of a werewolf’s howl echoes through the night, sending shivers down one’s spine and causing animals to fear.

“When people are walking by with their dogs, as soon as they get to the werewolf and he howls, the dogs react,” said homeowner Destry Labo. “They jump or growl back and don’t want to get too close.”

Known as the “Halloween House,” Labo’s haunting display is worth the drive to Boulder City. The incredible spectacle covers the entire front yard of her ranch-style home at 1415 5th St.

“The name came from the kids who came by,” Labo said. “They started calling it the Halloween House, so we kept it.

“We were the first to really go big,” she added. “This is our biggest year. We added more lights, and it’s more themed.”

Prepping began six months before Halloween. Labo spent many late-night hours shopping online and in stores for items to enhance her themed collections. Before anything goes outdoors, Labo stages things in her living room, starting with the smaller items and transitioning to the taller creatures.

“Sometimes, I walk through the house in the middle of the night and forget all the scary stuff is in the house,” she said with a laugh.

Setup begins the third week of September, taking over 10 days and three people to complete the elaborate showing. The taller creatures, starting at 12 feet, require assembly and several people to tether into place. The tallest is a 15-foot Grim Reaper towering above the pirate scene. Even though she has staked the figures into place, Labo must watch for high winds.

“We watch the weather a lot,” Labo said. “If we have high winds above 25 mph, we lay the big guys down.”

The home’s front entrance is the dividing line for Labo’s different themed displays. Half the yard symbolizes Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”-themed ride. The center section depicts two ghostly pirate ships filled with skeletons sailing the stormy seas blocked by giant blow-up tentacles of a hidden octopus.

“I love the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride,” Labo said. “The octopus tentacles are one of my favorite things right now. They’re new this year, which took our display to another level.”

Towering over the fence is a lineup of 12-foot creatures, seemingly guarding the pirates exhibit, including an animatronic scarecrow with piercing red eyes and glowing rib cage, holding a large scythe. As you walk by, he starts reciting a chilling monologue with warnings of impending doom. Matching 12-foot pumpkin-headed skeletons flank each side of the yard with realistic LED eyes that move and blink.

“Everybody loves this,” Labo said. “They get so much joy out of it. We have regulars every night that bring their kids. I love seeing all the faces.

“Next year, I want to add more scenes from the ride,” she said. “Like one of the guys laying in a canopy bed surrounded by jewels.”

Disney’s Haunted Mansion theme takes over the other side, complete with a carriage carrying the dead, stretching portraits on the walls, the hitchhiking trio and the grim grinning ghosts. Several chandeliers filled with cobwebs hang from a large tree, adding to the haunted motif.

Guarding the home’s entrance is a cluster of witches, one suspended in midair as if she’s about to take flight, another group of enchanters is stirring up an evil concoction. The newest addition to the coven is Lethal Lily, an animatronic green witch who cackles at spectators.

“This side of the yard is a little bit of witches swamp heading toward the haunted mansion,” Labo said. “I want to get a full haunted mansion going over there. I’m working on it gradually each year as things come out.”

Four fog machines strategically placed throughout the yard spill out white smoke, amplifying the spooky ambiance. Halloween night is the culmination of all her hard work. It’s become the place to be in Boulder City, with guests lining up to trick or treat before the sun sets. Labo plans to dress as a pirate this year, handing out candy to all her guests. Last year, the Boulder City police arrived and directed traffic.

“We probably had over 1,000 kids last year,” Labo said. “People stopped in their cars, and others lined up for candy, so it got congested. The police came over and managed it. They were even handing out candy in the street.”

Labo plans to add more pieces to augment her Halloween House. She said the price tag for creating her entertaining showstopper isn’t important, though she estimates she’s invested thousands.

“I’m not sure how many things I have in the yard. Probably hundreds,” she said. “As we get bigger, I will have to take something out to bring in something new because we don’t want to get too much to lose the theme.”

Labo’s inspiration for larger-than-life spooky décor began 15 years ago after witnessing her Southern California neighbor go all out for the holiday.

“She was amazing at decorating,” Labo said. “It seemed she should have worked for Disney.”

But it wasn’t until purchasing the Boulder City home in 2020 that Labo discovered a way to take her décor creativity to a new level. The oversized front yard was the perfect backdrop for a massive spooktacular. Over the last three years, Labo strategically added new items to her repertoire, getting bigger and better every year.

“This was the perfect yard to get it going big,” she said. “And it’s the perfect street. Our house gets a lot of visibility.”

Labo grew up just a few doors from her current residence in Boulder City. She attended high school down the street, and her friend lived in the home Labo now owns. She lives in the house with her adopted children, Laila and Lane.

“I spent time in this house growing up,” Labo said. “So, when I saw it come up for sale, I had to put an offer on it. It’s a great house and a great street. Boulder City is a wonderful community and a safe place to raise your kids.”

The Halloween House is at 1415 5th Street, Boulder City, Nevada . The lights will be on nightly from 5 to 9 o’clock. The display will be up until Wednesday.

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