It's become an annual tradition in the Newville area of Cumberland County. It's the “Halloween House” of Mike and Sue Bixler.
“A lot of the neighbors enjoy it,” says Mike Bixler. They really enjoy it. There's just a lot of people come around to see it. And it's just a good time. There's no pressure with it.”
Every Halloween, there's a new look to frighten and entertain visitors. This year, a 35 foot haunted castle, complete with a moat, drawbridge and scary residents. is featured. Construction of the displays takes weeks, but planning for them is a year-round effort.
Bixler says “The whole year, whenever something pops into your head, you write it down and try to make use of it this time of year.”
Over 14 years, the Bixlers' Halloween themes have included a corpse cafe, haunted hotel, spooky ballroom and western saloon. And every year, the family project seems to grow.
“We started out with a wind sock, a skeleton and a pumpkin and it has grown year after year to what's behind me,” says Sue Bixler.
Behind the haunted castle, a separate grave yard features tombstones with tongue-in-cheek names of the dearly departed.
“I can be in a grocery store in June or July,” says Sue, ” and have someone come up to me and say we were at your haunt, we loved it. What are you doing this year?”
Mike takes a week's vacation to help build the display. So what about taking it down?
“I take another week off work,” he says laughingly.
For the Bixler's, the annual “undertakers' undertaking” is a labor of love. But, it is still labor.
“Sue, I know this takes a lot of work and I'm thinking that you could probably use another pair of hands,” Said Chuck. ” Here you go. Knock yourself out” he added, handing Sue a pair of plastic monster hands.