This pandemic year has taken the air out of a lot of Halloween traditions. Walking up to strangers' front doors and demanding candy? Not recommended. Costume parties? Sure … if they’re virtual. Haunted houses? Health officials advise giving those a hard pass.
“If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised,” officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dryly note.
But there is one tradition our cautious times cannot spoil: over-the-top Halloween yard displays. And this is where some Anchorage homes and even neighborhoods excel.
If you’re looking for a festive, pandemic-safe activity, grab your cocoa or other hot beverage, cue up some spooky tunes in the car and drive around to see some Halloween lights.
Is this list comprehensive? Good gourd, no. And some of the fun is finding new spots on unexpected streets. Tell us what we missed in the comments below. (And if you know of a good destination, please describe it using cross streets, not house addresses.)
There’s a collection of spooky displays on Wiley Post Avenue between Wisconsin Street and Fish Creek Park. The highlight may be the house-monster and creepy pumpkin-insects lurking at Wiley Post and Balchen Drive. In nearby cul-de-sacs are giant murder hornets and a porch-devouring spider. (Giant monster insects: so in this year.)
Yards nearby at Bennett Avenue and Borland Drive and also at 30th Avenue and Wisconsin Street lean more into the gory or horror-inspired side of the theme.
For something cheery and child friendly, check out the small city of inflatables that has sprung up off Northern Lights Boulevard and Jefford Place, featuring Baby Yoda, Scooby Doo, Shrek and other friendly faces.
These displays don’t seem to be particularly light-heavy, so you might want to check them out during daylight. Or better still, dusk.
South Addition/H Street
H is for Halloween Street, and you heard it here first. To get the most out of this neighborhood, go after dark. There are the charming skeletons dining al fresco at H Street and 15th Avenue, but that’s just the beginning. Find a place to park, put on your mask and walk both sides of the block between 15th and 16th avenues. You’ll find ghosts and graveyards, giant spiders and cobwebbed trees aplenty.
On the east side of the block is a real standout house, with an incredible display of scarecrows, jack-o-lanterns and multicolored skeletons dancing in the yard and atop the roof.
Homeowner Owen Carey said he built most of the display himself. He and his children hand-carved each of the foam pumpkins that line his fence, house and tree. He bought skeletons, painted them, and uses windshield wipers weighed down by milk jugs filled with water to make them move. He gave the skeletons eyeballs to make them look funny and not as scary for young children, Carey said.
Carey said he’s put up the display every year for about a decade.
When you’re ready to leave, drive down to 16th and go left around the curve. You’re looking for a big house on the right. There are ghosts projected on the side and a 12-foot inflatable blue reaper in the yard, but take a minute to stop and look at the windows — it’s truly creepy. Especially if you have a “thing” about clowns.
Arctic Boulevard and 72nd Avenue
On the corner you’ll see a truly sprawling display of skeletons, pumpkins and every kind of Halloween inflatable, plus an animatronic shark. There’s a lot of love for Halloween packed into one yard.
Emily Mesner contributed reporting to this article.
Note: An earlier version of this article featured a photo that many readers found offensive. The photo has been removed.