CARLSBAD — The Halloween decorations started with just the skeleton chop shop. Four years ago, a skeleton butcher covered in gore waved his cleaver behind a table of stray limbs and organs from the Cothran-Bray family’s front yard.
This year’s trick-or-treaters will find a few additions to the home on Segovia Way, like the graveyard monster spurting blood from its eyes, the winged demon breathing fog out to the sidewalk, and the decapitated head spitting blood into a pool on the front walkway, just to name a few.
“When you have two boys, you always end up with blood and guts for Halloween,” said Peyton Bray, who has been putting monsters in his front yard since 2008, and works as the Dean of School Life at Pacific Ridge School.
He and his sons, Cosmo, 14, and Tennessee, 11, were tweaking blood flows and adjusting fog machines on the night before Halloween. “This is actually kind of tame,” Peyton said, stepping over spare body parts.
Peyton estimated that this year’s display took about 16 hours to assemble. He said he has spent about $500 over the years on the yard’s spooky scenes, adding that he has saved money by shopping for supplies the day after Halloween.
To Tennessee, the best part about the decorations is that they create scenes together, unlike other neighborhood yards. “It’s nice to be known as the house on the block with the cool Halloween decorations,” he said.
Though she loves to see how excited her boys are about their haunted yard, Ellen Cothran said the creepy creatures are not her preference. “I kind of wish we just had little witches hanging in the yard,” she said. She is the librarian at the same school as her husband, and does her best to keep the decorations from becoming too gruesome or suggestive. This year she insisted that the man being eaten alive in the blood fountain was blindfolded instead of gagged.
The completed decorations will be on display from Halloween night through the first couple of weeks of November.
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