Most people don’t want their new home to be described as creepy, but the Roberts family in New Martinsville loves to hear that description.
That is because they love Halloween and decorating the exterior of their home in all things macabre. The mastermind behind it all is 14-year-old Mac Roberts. He has always loved Halloween, a fascination that has grown from childhood costumes and trick or treating to creating a tableau on the family’s front lawn.
The Roberts formerly lived on the south end of Fifth Street in New Martinsville and local residents looked for their display each year. With their move to 1104 Cherrybrook Drive, the family is afraid many people won’t know where to look for their Halloween fix. While less than a mile from their former location, Cherrybrook is more secluded and thus more difficult to find (turn onto Clark Drive from Fifth Street). Still, the Roberts hope local thrill seekers will venture past their display, stop, and enjoy.
Throughout the year Mac and his father, Mark, work to make the next display bigger and better. “We try to come up with at least one or two new things each year,” said Mark.
This year’s edition has been enhanced with two giant columns and a like-sized caretaker. The father and son team handmade the columns, specifically creating them large enough to fit the scale of their new home. They have also created most of the tombstones in the make-shift cemetery.
Also new this year is an antique wicker wheelchair containing an appropriately scary zombie. “Mac found that during spring cleanup,” explained Mark, who said his son snatched the chair from the trash as a perfect Halloween prop.
By example of that story, their arsenal of decorations comes from all sorts of sources: retail outlets, lumber, Styrofoam, paint, and even the trash heap. But it all comes out of the imagination of Mac, the display’s mastermind.
He hopes this hobby will become a profession in theater arts. The freshman at Magnolia High School has gotten involved in stage productions there and will be in the Christmas play.
It takes about a week to put out all of the elements of the display, although sometimes it isn’t a matter of just putting it out once. “The rains really put a damper on it this year,” said Mark. Many items, particularly animatronic items, have had to be brought in and put out many times.
The ghastly display includes theatrical lighting, sound, motion, and smoke. It might not be for the faint of heart, but Mac says he likes things that are “creepy”, not gory. Whatever the gruesome description, the Roberts home is certainly not your average Halloween fare. While Debbie tries to convince her husband and son to include some more tame decorations, she has yet to convince them. “There aren’t any pumpkins,” says Mac with a sly smile.