Halloween house becoming local tradition
Picture over 20 fog machines and blocks after blocks of dry ice setting a spooky scene over more than 100 tombstones in a huge graveyard setting, and you have a local legendary Halloween house.
It’s a must-see event, say many. “Nobody does anything that compares to what we do, something exciting and scary and, most of all, safe for kids on Halloween,” said Cape resident Christian Markel.
He, wife Ellie and neighbors have hosted a Halloween extravaganza for the last eight years.
The 110 tombstones he made himself, with some spooky and some funny sayings like, “Here lies Joanna, who slipped on a banana,” “Here lies Jake who got bit by a snake” and “Here lies the lost souls, the dead walk.”
The idea for the extravaganza, he said, came to him eight years ago when he and his wife moved to the Cape from Pennsylvania.
“We’re both from up north, and we loved Halloween,” he said. “It’s huge where we come from.”
He said one of his fondest memories was running around Halloween night with a pillow case that ended up full of candy.
“But we found the holiday wasn’t that big down here in our area,” he said. “The first year we only had 10 trick-or-treaters. Last year, we had over 1,400 on Halloween night.
“We wanted to create a safe and fun thing for everyone to enjoy because we all know we all like to get dressed and have fun,” he continued. “And the kids enjoy this a lot.”
Every night the many lights are on
and it is available for anyone to come see and walk through from Oct. 1-31.
The setup was a building process over the years, he said. Each year they add more.
“We now even have about 15 actors on Halloween night that bring things alive, and some of the best scary music,” he said.
And he has over 20 coffins and much, much more.
“I start in the middle of September, and now it’s full-time on”, he said of the preparation.
And it’s all for free.
“We don’t even ask for donations.”
The whole family pitches in. His son, Brandon, 8, and daughter, Courtney, 10 help out.
“They love it, they tell all their friends,” he said. “They help handing out candy and my son is one of the actors.”
Markel stays busy filling the fog machines and watching the dry ice, and chatting to those who come by.
He invites everyone to stop by on Halloween night.
“The more the merrier.”
People can visit tonight, Saturday night, but the actors won’t be there until Halloween night. Visitors are invited then from 7 to 10 p.m.
The address is 526 S.E. 2nd Street, south of the crossroads of Hancock Bridge Parkway and Cultural Park Boulevard, north of City Hall and just past the Historical Museum and Cultural Park Theatre.