Elaborate Halloween Haunted Display Thrilling, Frightening
Huntley family expects 2,000 people to view the display this season.
Joe Buedel is a Christian whose fascination with creating elaborate, creepy Halloween displays may seem contrary to his beliefs.
“It’s just for entertainment purposes,” said Buedel, who works with a computer center in Vernon Hills. “It’s just really enjoyable watching people and their kids.”
His home at 10716 Wheatlands Way in the Georgian Place subdivision has 11 props including animatronics. The haunted display has scary music that can be heard on an FM frequency. Everywhere you turn, there's something that will make you jump.
Building a haunted display
Everything is built by hand, he said. Buedel has people showing up at the house everyday when he’s building. He usually takes things down in July or August to start preparing for October. He starts decorating outside the first week of September.
“We actually are doing more professional style props, like animatronics,” said Buedel, who has a website, www.holidayhabits.com.
One display features a coffin that opens then bangs shut, he said. The coffin is wired to do eight different things so people are always surprised, he said. Then there's the voice calling for help.
“I’m not a big blood and gore person,” Buedel said. “Our theme is scarier. I like things that make people wonder if it’s alive or not. We have live actors the weekend before Halloween so people wonder."
Buedel estimates 2,000 people will come see the display. An average night draws 30 to 50 people. There were over 100 people last Saturday. “The people just keep coming,” he said.
Every year, people come back to see what’s new. There’s one family who drives from Wisconsin to see the Buedel display.
“We had over 400 trick-or-treaters at the door last year,” he said. “I don’t know how many didn’t make it to the door.”
Family works together for good cause
Buedel and his family moved to Huntley in 2005. He’s been decorating more for Halloween than Christmas over the last 10 years. Overall, the Halloween industry has grown quite a bit, he said. It’s second to Christmas in terms of elaborate decorating, he said.
His wife was against having a Halloween display because of her religious background, but she’s slowly been getting into the fun, he said. The family is a member of Willow Creek Community Church based in South Barrington.
Buedel began cutting back on the blood and gore out of respect for his wife. She now helps decorate and invites family and friends over to view it, he said. His son, 23, and daughter, 8, love it and help out.
“It’s become a family thing,” he said.
While he does it for fun, the family is collecting donations at the home for a friend stricken with cancer. The 37-year-old Elgin woman is the mother of three. The Buedel family has raised about $2,000 through the haunted display and through online efforts.
There is a box for donations and an informational flyer about the woman.
Buedel is a member of the Chicago Haunt Builders, a group that prepares for Halloween year round. Each of the members' displays have a name, like Buedel's Holiday Habits and raise donations for different causes.
Sherry Devilleres has visited the haunted yards located in Huntley, Lake in the Hills and Algonquin. She and her sons, Kai, 11, and Kian, 5, liked Buedel's display but have a soft spot for Haunted 31 in Lake in the Hills. The family's favorite is the skelton who spits out what is labled as hazardous material at visitors.
They have also volunteered at Haunted 31, Devilleres said.
The displays of Chicago Haunt Builders members are exciting and a good place to let kids enjoy a haunted house for free, she said.