While many people give it their all turning their homes into a winter wonderland for Christmas, one Lincolnshire student is committed to putting on a show for Halloween. The front garden of 22-year-old Tom Simpson’s Sleaford home has more in common with a horror film than it does his neighbours’.
It’s packed with tombstones, Grim Reapers and creepy spiders – not to mention 10-foot tall skeletons and a looming ‘pumpkin man’ with a set of light-up, fiery innards. The graves all contain references for eagle-eyed horror movie fans, who’ll recognise nods to Stephen King’s IT and The Night of the Living Dead.
The policing student says he likes horror films enough but really, the joy comes from putting together the sets. He said: “I really enjoy it.
“It gets bigger every year, but I don’t think I’ll be able to beat this year. I’ve used every inch of the garden.”
He added: “I’m quite particular, so no one’s allowed to touch it but me.” Tom spent Monday, October 30 adding the finishing touches, having started work on the project a week before.
The tombstones are his own creation, but the giant props have been shipped all the way from North America. He’s been putting together elaborate and spooky sets since he was young and designs the scenes himself.
Over the past three years, Tom has been raising money for Pancreatic Cancer UK, after his dad, Arthur, died. He said: “I’ve always enjoyed Halloween so I thought I might as well give something to charity.
“It’s a bit different – you don’t really see it. You see Christmas houses, but you don’t see Halloween houses.” Halloween is the only time Tom really decorates, joking there isn’t enough space in the loft for two sets of festive props.
This year’s display is farm-themed, Tom said, following on from last year’s haunted house. He said: “I’ve collected the bits throughout the years, but I have to think of a theme each year.
“I’ll then adjust the sets to fit in with the themes. I just enjoy putting things together and making scenes. And we do it for a good cause, so why not?”
Trick-or-treaters are invited to walk through a tent packed with surprises, including hanging body parts and a terrifyingly tall werewolf. Making their way through the flaps, they’re welcomed by a coven of witches gathered around a cauldron.
A particularly gruesome-looking sorceress is clutching a young child in a scene straight out of a gory folklore tale, while plastic severed hands line the walls. All told, he reckons he’s spent “a few grand” on his passion over the years – but he’d rather not think about the specifics.
He currently lives with his mother but said that he’d like to keep the tradition going for the rest of his life. He said: “When I move out, it’s something I’d like to keep doing.
“I’ll just need to find a house with a big enough garden.”