Destin houses get in the "spirit"
The sign on George and Debbie Larkin’s fence reads “turn back now.” At night, the windows glow an eerie bright green, a skeleton hangs from a noose on the front porch and an animated Grim Reeper keeps a watchful eye over the premises.
Instead of turning back, though, kids and their parents are flocking to the residence to see the Larkins’ elaborate Halloween display.
“The kids really love it,” Debbie Larkin said. “There are some families in other neighborhoods that come by every single day to take a look.”
The Larkins, who live at 4598 Woodwind Court off of Regatta Bay Drive and encourage people to come see their haunted home, first started decorating for Halloween three years ago as a way to bring their family together. These days, the retirees say neighbors start asking in September about their decorations, and it takes them approximately 20 hours total to put up their terrifying display.
And with Halloween right around the corner, the Larkins are one of several Destin families that are getting in the spooky spirit. Homeowners and condo residents from Calhoun Avenue to Crystal Beach are going all out with their Halloween decorations this year.
Ashley and Jamie Ping, who live with their kids at 416 Calhoun Avenue, have a bed sheet hanging from their porch that doubles as a projection screen, gravestones in the yard that read things like “died from not sending that email 10 times” and a giant paper mache spider creeping along the side of the house.
All but a few of the Pings’ decorations are handmade. They also have fog machines and noise machines.
“We’re obsessed with Halloween,” Ashley Ping said. “We just have fun with this.”
At the Holiday Lights condominium on Holiday Isle, residents there are participating in a door decorating contest. Approximately six full-time residents have spooked out their doors, according to resident Rhea MacDonald.
“We have really friendly neighbors who get really into it,” she said. “Living here and having such great neighbors is good for our kids.”
The MacDonalds decorated their door with a “Walking Dead” theme, complete with bloody hands reaching out of the door frame. She said her kids will “high-five” the bloody hands on their way in and out.