Great Britain

Mum spends £5,000 turning her home into spine-chilling crime scene for Halloween

CANDLES spattered with blood, human legs poking from an upturned cauldron and a spine-chilling howl greet you when Sue Jones opens her front door.

But this is not some gruesome crime scene.

These are part of the Halloween decorations worth £5,000 this Queen of Scream puts up every year.

Covid cannot dampen her spooky spirits — and this time the PA and mum of one is dedicating a whole month to the festivities.

Sue has previously had people queuing down the street and travelling from other towns to brave her haunted house.

This year, virus restrictions mean the decorations are for her family’s entertainment only.

Sue, 50, who lives in Bridgnorth, Shrops, with her husband Grant, 49, and has a son Brett, 30, says: “Brett is all grown up, with two children of his own, and six years ago, way after he moved out, I had a mad moment and decorated my hallway.

“My husband said I should invite the local kids in to get their sweets, so we put a sweetie station in the middle of the hallway and it started from there.

“That year we had 30 people. The following year we had 200, then 350 people who were turning up in taxis and queuing out the door. It all got a bit nuts but I just love Halloween.

“It’s my Christmas. It’s usually cold and wet and a depressing time of year but I love seeing the smiles on kids’ faces. Halloween is just magical.”

Last year Sue and Grant, who has been made redundant from his job as a regional sales manager due to the pandemic, moved from Uttoxeter, Staffs.

And Sue is determined to recreate her Halloween home.

Their town area is in Tier One of the Government’s virus risk system, indicating medium risk — meaning groups larger than six are banned from meeting indoors and outdoors.

Sue says: “This year we can’t have an open house because of the Rule of Six.

“I’ve been speaking with the local village committee and we’re doing a Halloween trail around the village instead. Unfortunately, I can’t let people inside.

“I’ve been banging on about Halloween for the last year to my new neighbours, so I’ve put skeletons, bats and pumpkins for the kids outside, as well as decorations in the windows facing out.

“I’m still decorating inside for me.”

Sue spends at least £500 every year on Halloween gear.

She says: “Throughout the year, I’m hunting in charity shops and online.

Two years ago I made a giant cauldron from a big planter I picked up in the interiors shop Homesense.

“Over the past six years I’ve spent £5,000, if not more. All the decorations are stacked up in the spare bedroom. There are 30 boxes, plus big bags for skeletons and pumpkins. I have hundreds of decorations and they range up to a large witch and animatronics.

“I start putting everything up on October 1. I didn’t have as much work as normal this year so I dedicated lots of days to decorating. I’d potter all day and then wake up in the middle of the night with ideas. I was either plotting or posting about Halloween on social media — it was non-stop.

“Grant puts everything back in their boxes, which takes three or four days.

“I’m great at making the spooky scenes but I don’t like putting everything away because that means Halloween is over.”

With the possibility of a bleak winter and the threat of stricter lockdown measures, Sue believes Halloween is the best way to raise people’s spirits.

She says: “I’ve always hated winter, so that time six years ago I felt particularly bad and going all-out for Halloween was my way of staving off Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“I open up my house to show people Halloween isn’t just about the trick-or-treating, it’s about bringing joy into a dark time of year, especially in 2020.

“At Christmas, Grant and I normally grab a curry from the Tesco deli counter and stay in our jammies all day, or we go to the beach.

“I don’t do Christmas at all. My family all live down south and it’s too commercialised. Halloween is my time to go nuts.

“Halloween isn’t an American thing. It started here and I’m on a mission to bring it back.”

Sue's tips

Here Sue shares her tips on how to make Halloween go with a bang, on a budget.

BEST PLACES TO SHOP: “Homesense, TK Maxx and The Range have the spookiest decorations — but they come out in August and all the good stuff tends to be gone by October.

If you see something you like, don’t wait, just buy it.

“B&M, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s can all be good too, but fluctuate from year to year.”

WHAT TO BUY: “I normally get one big item around the £100 mark, although this year I got a coffin costing £40. Then lots of cheaper pieces to complement it.”

DON’T GO OVERBOARD: “Focus on specific areas, like your hallway and living room, to make an impact without having to cover the whole house.”

GET INSPIRED: “Tap into Halloween communities on Instagram and look on Etsy for cheap decs. I have my own store because I make too much and can’t store them all.”

Visit andseventy.

BE CRAFTY: “Make your own decorations. Black card is cheap and you can get the kids to help you make bats or cats from it.”

Trick or treating rules explained as government announces go ahead for Halloween

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