Halloween without doubt is the holiday that garners the most decorations, after Christmas. All you need to do is drive around, and you will see decorations that go from gory to clever to cute.
We tend to go more for the cute witch and cute ghosts, but for years I have enjoyed the decorations at the home of Betty and Joe Sharp on North Delaplaine Road in Riverside. Each year they seem to add something to their “graveyard” that adds an eerie feeling to their front yard.
The designer of this holiday happening is Joe Sharp, who has been putting together the display for about 30 years, complete with fencing around his tombstones. For the past few years he has enlisted the help of his son-in-law, Rick Duff, whose enjoys the displays so much that it had him fitting right into the Sharp family.
This year Duff will not only be adding to Sharp’s decorations, but will be displaying his own, since he and his wife, Laura, (the Sharps’ daughter) moved into the house next door with their 6-year-old son, Joey. There are enough decorations for the two houses and decorations go from one front yard to another.
Joe Sharp made many of the decorations himself; at one time he had made the tombstones, but they began to disappear. Could it have been ghosts? He has resorted to using commercial foam headstones. He also modified the gates to his graveyard when he discovered little children got scared entering the “cemetery” to get to the door for their treats.
One year before Halloween, the Sharps’ doorbell rang and a young man of about 11 or 12 was at the door. He just wanted to tell the family how he enjoyed their display; his friends echoed the same from the sidewalk. Hopefully, they came back on Halloween to get their treats!
So Joe Sharp says he does the display because he enjoys seeing the children, especially the younger ones, in their costumes coming to the house to trick or treat and their reactions to the decorations. That is probably true but I think it also has something to do with the kid in all of us remembering those fun times trick or treating. Thanks Joe, may the Sharp and Duff family decorations continue to provide a treat for us all.
And a big Halloween thank you to the village of Riverside and the person who lights up the water tower. It is a treat for all to see.