Check it out: Grand County ‘haunted house’ aims to raise spirits (with video)
An alley full of ghouls, a roomful of murderous doctors and a clown playing whack-a-mole with human heads are just a few of the features frightening visitors at one Grand County haunted house. It’s not a 13th Floor or a City of the Dead — it’s Grand County resident Dave Spargo’s home.
Every year since 2011, Spargo, 55, and his wife, Diane, have turned their yard, garage and spare rooms in to a nightmarish fantasy. Spargo’s property, located at the intersection of County Road 4 and County Road 424, measures 150 square feet on either side and he decorates the whole thing.
“It’s just something I enjoy doing, a labor of love,” he said.
This was the couple’s first year in Grand County and Spargo said it took almost four weeks to get the lights, animatronics and other decorations set up to his liking.
Aside from the typical spiderwebs and graveyard features, Spargo also sets up complete scenes, including an autopsy room with blood-thirsty doctors and an exorcist room complete with a head-spinning demon and spooky priest.
He also takes special care with the lighting.
“I get a lot of my lighting ideas, back in the 80s I used to play in a lot of bands and with the light shows we’d put on I learned a lot about that,” Spargo laughed. “I just bring the lighting concept into this, to set the mood and set the scene.”
Spargo said every year it attracts visitors who stop to take pictures, news vans who want to do Halloween broadcasts and even police who stop to check it out.
“Somebody who was just driving by and saw it and was like ‘oh wow I’ve got to check this out’ and taking a moment of their life to see something like this,” he said. “You show up at my parties and you might see the cops, you might see the news crew.”
Spargo has accumulated the decorations year after year and updates his collection when he needs to replace lights or a fun, new animatronic comes out. He estimates the value of his collection at around $13,000.
Surprisingly, Spargo isn’t much of a horror buff. He watches the classics, like Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as the popular FX show American Horror Story, but he said his wife comes up with most of the ideas. He’s more inspired by history.
“I love old cemeteries, with the old wrought iron grave sites, so that’s what I kind of shoot for on that,” he said. “There’s just such a classic look to it and the history goes with those kinds of things. Like the cemetery up here in Grand Lake, you get up there and you’re looking at families back to the 1800s.”
Regardless of his opinions on scary movies, Spargo continues to decorate because he enjoys the reactions of visitors and passersby. Plus, he said, not many other people go all out for Halloween.
“A prime example is the enjoyment of other people, because everybody kind of likes a haunted house or something like that, but not too many people do much for Halloween anymore. The technology and toys are out there to have fun with and I just like putting it together for the enjoyment of others.”
It’s also his last chance to decorate before snow comes. Unfortunately, Spargo had to take the decorations down early this year due to the snow, which could damage his mechanical decorations.
Spargo said he does the usual Christmas lights and will put up a Santa in his yard, but nothing as intense as he does for Halloween, which has become his favorite holiday.
“It wasn’t before, (…) but the last seven or eight years I kind of fell into it,” he said. “It just kind of gets my mind off of everything else going on in this world and I get to be creative and the satisfaction of getting to put it together and people enjoying the effort I put into it.”
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