CNJ staff photo: Robin Fornoff Neighbor Rosi Bentley helps Katie Greene set up one of the many items decorating her lawn. Greene says every year something is stolen or vandalized.
Every fall about this time for as long as she can remember, Katie Greene and her husband Jeff Shumway dig out scary signs, creepy creatures and festive black and orange lights to decorate their front lawn for Halloween.
It’s Shumway’s obsession. “I don’t know why,” says Greene, her voice fading into sarcasm. “He’s demented.”
It’s taken them decades to collect the many eerie items, some of them remnants purchased from graveyards. But every year since moving to Clovis in 2006, they lose some of their Halloween keepsakes to vandals or thieves.
“It just irritates the heck of me,” said Greene. “It ruins it for everybody else.”
Last week it was one of the actual grave markers obtained from a cemetery when they lived in Minnesota. Greene knows it happened sometime between 5 a.m., when her husband left for work at Southwest Cheese, and 9 a.m., when she let the dog outside.
“It’s not that big a deal,” said Greene. “But those things cost about 12 bucks apiece.”
Spokesman Capt. Patrick Whitney said police haven’t seen any unusual reports of such vandalism or theft in Clovis. Whitney said it isn’t unusual to get increased reports of vandalism around Christmas, but theft or damage to Halloween decorations is rare.
At Greene and Shumway’s house on Merrill Drive there are skulls, spiders and cobwebs, a crimson Devil complete with pitchfork, pickle jars brimming with eyeballs and a 6-foot electronic character dressed in black that laughs maniacally while reaching up with bony hands to pull off his green face and reveal a bony skeleton mug.
“You should see him when he’s all lit up,” said Rosi Bentley, a neighbor. “It is creepy.”
“You know, we do this for the neighborhood and the kids,” Greene said. “People like to walk by or drive by at night when it’s all lit up. But I’m tired of seeing things taken.”