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Columnist
Round Lake Beach couple takes Halloween decor to new heights
By Vince Pierri | Daily Herald Columnist

Darin and Lucy Johnson's haunted front yard gets more elaborate each year. The Round Lake Beach couple says they love scaring the kids, and the kids love to be scared. "Nobody else has a flaming pentagram," Darin said.

 

Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

No haunted house is complete without the customary severed head.

 

Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

The electric chair provides some shock value at the Johnsons' home haunt.

 

Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

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Published: 10/28/2009 12:01 AM

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The house is on an appropriately dark and heavily wooded street.

Stroll past 520 Lagoon Terrace in Round Lake Beach and you can almost feel the evil.

Ghouls hanging from gallows. A skeleton rides a tricycle, another is trapped in a cage. An overweight guy gets zapped in the electric chair. A lawn mower mulches over an unsuspecting soul. Half a man swings from a noose.

"We love scaring the kids," Lucy Johnson smiled. "And they love it too."

This is the third year Lucy and her husband, Darin, have spooked up their front yard.

"It's started with Christmas," Lucy explained. "We have a huge display every year. We won first and second place in back-to-back years in the village-sponsored contest."

The Johnsons said their haunted home is getting popular.

"We're getting a huge fan club from the neighborhood," Darin said. "We're getting a big, big fan base. A carload of teen boys pulled up, hopped out and said, 'We heard about you,'" Lucy said. "That was pretty cool."

There are strobe lights, of course, and spooky music; a blood soaked guillotine and spider webs.

"Almost everything here is homemade," Darin said. "I like the creative part of this."

A mini graveyard is set toward the back. Dirty, gray tombstones with pithy engravings protrude from the grass. "Here lies Brittany Spears' Career 2007," reads one.

The Johnsons are proud of the newest, soul-stirring, addition.

A quick flick from a cigarette lighter and a five-pointed star bursts into flames.

"Nobody has one of these," Darin said. "How many people do you know that have a flaming pentagram?"

Tongues of fire, fueled by a hidden propane tank, lick from all points of the ancient symbol. "This took at least 40 hours to make," Darin said.

Lucy and Darin become part of the scene, too. Both will be costumed on Halloween night. "I'm going to be a demon troll," Darin said. "I'll be a creepy clown," Lucy added.