When passing by 75 N. Main St. in the town of Halifax, it is hard not to stop and marvel at the fantastical Halloween decorations in the yard.
It’s a mini Halloweentown in one of the most frequently traveled stretches of town.
The creation is the handiwork of Drew Granger, carrying on the holiday yard decorating tradition started by his late father, Bill Granger, who died in June 2021. Granger revived the tradition after a hiatus during the courthouse renovation downtown and COVID-19, adding some of his own touches to the decorations this year.
“It’s a kind of memorial to my dad and a give-back to the town. I’m doing the things my dad used to do, with my twist of being a lighting designer,” Granger said. “It makes me so happy to see people enjoying it. My family has always been known for our Halloween.”
Those passing by Granger’s expansive yard are greeted with an array of Halloween “creatures” — light-up inflatable ghosts, clowns, a looming Grim Reaper, a jack-o’-lantern with a wicked grin, Jack Skellington from “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” a menacing divination hand and a terror-invoking, gigantic spider in a web. Along with the inflatables are orange and purple lights and adding to the eerie scene, fog emanating from a machine. Granger shared he also has upgraded to energy efficient, LED lights this Halloween, producing a wider range of colors.
“It’s forever going to keep changing and it’s forever going to keep growing,” Granger vowed, as he looks forward to continuing to deliver Halloween fun for the residents of Halifax.
After spending about two and a half weeks perfecting the Halloween decorations in his yard, Granger has turned his attention to preparing to open a Halloween trail in the yard for people to walk through and see the decorations up close. He planned to have the “Eye Scream” trail ready for visitors by the weekend.
Aside from working on preparing the trail for visitors’ arrival, Granger has been busy getting ready to pass out treats to the large number of trick-or-treaters he expects on Halloween.
“I’m hoping for at least 2,000 trick-or-treaters,” Granger said. “On our biggest nights in the past, we used to give out anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 pieces of candy on Halloween, and I would love to see a turnout of 6,000 this Halloween.”
Granger shared that Halloween has always been his favorite holiday, one that he relishes as much as an adult as he did as a child.
“Halloween encourages the imagination. It’s a rare thing nowadays,” Granger mused. “It’s a night that it’s okay to be silly and zany, even as an adult.”
As a “theater kid,” Granger said he enjoys the ability to use his imagination to step outside of everyday life and play a character. What better holiday for him than one that involves dressing up in a costume and transforming into a character?
Besides, Granger said he enjoys going “all out” in decorating for Halloween because it is something different that you don’t see every day.
“Everybody does Christmas big. Their houses are decked out for Christmas,” Granger pointed out. “I want mine to be decked out for Halloween.”
Not only does Granger enjoy the imaginative aspect of Halloween, but he also has his dad’s flair for decorating. Granger recalled his father elaborately decorating his shop, Triangle Florist, for every holiday. The family’s yard decorating tradition started with Christmas, when Granger was only about 5 years old.
“It started with Christmas; it started with three inflatables, and it’s just grown since then,” Granger related. “The Halloween yard decorating started off very small, and then one Halloween it got big. We instantly became ‘Halloweentown.’ We made a scary yard and people ate it up. We just kept adding to it, and people kept getting involved.”
That first year that the Granger family went “all out” with their Halloween decorations would have been Granger’s last year of trick-or-treating, when he was 11 or 12 years old. He remembers telling his parents, Bill and Susan, that he did not want to go trick-or-treating that year but preferred to stay home and create a scary yard to greet trick-or-treaters.
Delighting trick-or-treaters with his yard decorations is something that Granger still enjoys to this day. He looks forward to greeting the trick-or-treaters to his family home Monday evening, in conjunction with the Halifax Village Association’s downtown trick-or-treating event, set for 6 to 8 p.m.