Halloween decorations truly frightening experience in Wrangell

A shark thrashes its victim; legs poke out the end of rolled-up carpet; a skeleton rides a giant spider; a haunted house catches fire.

Decorations are up around Wrangell to welcome the spookiest time of year, and for one couple their longtime decorating endeavors saw a truly frightening outcome.

Jeff and Kay Jabusch have dressed up their front yard on Oceanview Drive for nearly four decades.

"We started in the garage, went back about six feet, put bars there, and I dressed up as something, handing stuff through the bars," Jeff said. "We kept moving back in the garage every year till we were all the way back."

"We try to add something new every year," Kay added.

This year, the Jabusches began decorating their garage and front yard more than a week in advance of Halloween, with a giant inflatable spider that moves its head back and forth, warning signs ("No trespassing! We're tired of hiding the bodies"), bubbling cauldrons, snakes and a lot more.

Unfortunately, the Jabusches' garage and all their decorations burned to the ground Saturday morning. What's more, their Christmas decorations were kept in the garage. Nobody was hurt in the blaze.

Their efforts have drawn anywhere from 160 to 180 trick-or-treaters - parents and children - on Halloween, upping the game for their neighbors. "The guy over here ... used to curse us, 'Before you guys started all this, we only had to buy a couple little boxes of candy. Now we have to buy all this candy,'" Jeff said with a laugh.

Jeff Jabusch's childhood friend and neighbor Bill Privett said he's been decorating since first moving in 35 years ago.

"Kay and Jeff have taken it to a whole new level," Privett said. "We do a pretty good job on our end. We've got a couple of fog machines. We have one, they have one, so when you put all that together with the decorations, it makes a pretty spooky environment. The kids love it."

He said parents love it as well since they have been coming over to the Oceanview neighborhood when they were kids.

Elsewhere in town, like an eerie beacon on a hill, KSTK radio has a couple skeletons peering down onto Church Street. Since the nonprofit station isn't holding its annual in-person fundraiser this year, staff decided to use the decorations for the office instead.

"We normally don't quite go this all out," said Cindy Sweat, station manager. "We thought, 'Let's just use it here.'"

Normally, just a handful of kids stop by KSTK for goodies during the chamber of commerce early trick or treating downtown, to be held 3 to 5 p.m. Friday. "We don't get many kids up here. The families, they stay down on Front Street. I always encourage them to come up. I'm hoping this year we get more," Sweat said.

Outside of trick-or-treating on Halloween and the chamber of commerce event, Harbor Light Assembly of God will hold its Harvest Celebration-Lite, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday at 627 Zimovia Highway. The church will be giving out free gifts and food.

And the Jasbusches will still be giving out treats on Halloween.

"I told Kay I'd get one of our folding chairs, sit at the end of the driveway and hand out candy," Jeff said. "She said the folding chairs were in the garage. We still plan to be down there. It can all be redone. It's an inconvenience, but nobody got hurt."


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