Ready to Haunt on the Hill
Annual display to offer early preview for Friday the 13th
NORWAY — Cathy and Pat LeBeau couldn’t let a Friday the 13th go by without proper recognition.
So Haunt on the Hill will open for a sneak peek of its fourth season from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 503 Oak St., just two blocks from U.S. 2 in Norway.
“Friday the 13th — how perfect is that for an opening preview day?” Cathy LeBeau said.
Haunt on the Hill will then be ready for a dozen more nights of scares. They will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. daily from Friday, Oct. 20, through Halloween. As always, the display is free of charge.
Nights are always weather permitting, she noted. Many of her pieces are made from paper mache and can’t withstand heavy rain. They post updates on their status on Facebook.
The venue in 2016 welcomed more than 1,500 guests, the best year so far.
“We are excited to see how many spectators come this year,” she said. “We are hoping for a dry October.”
Cathy designs and creates these one-of-a-kind props. Every year she adds many new special creatures to the display.
“I work on projects year-round,” she said. “I take a little break after Halloween but then get back at it and work all through winter.”
The yard set-up begins in August to be ready for October. It doesn’t take as long to disassemble and pack away for another year, Cathy LeBeau said, as they are very organized.
LeBeau takes video on how she makes each new addition, posting them to her own YouTube channel. Links to her videos also can be found on Haunt on the Hill’s Facebook page.
New features this year include the Titamor the Troll scene, with creepy mushrooms, haunted campsite complete with campfire smoke, a menacing clown with eerie sound effects, zombies on bicycles coming from a corn field and an all-new big dog.
It took LeBeau about a month to complete the three paper mache and paper clay mushrooms in the troll garden.
Also new to the tour is a blue moon as well as a blood moon, plus a giant spider.
“The spider is uniquely made from Hula Hoops wrapped in paper and covered in furry fabric,” she said.
Only a very few pieces on display aren’t handmade. She and her husband visit a Halloween convention in St. Louis every other year, where they usually purchase some unique pieces such as Titamor the Troll in the Stump House.
“We also have a new photo op scene,” Cathy LeBeau said. “This should be fun for the kids.”
She also credits her husband, Pat, for all the work he puts into the display.
“He’s my light and fog man,” Cathy LeBeau said. “We like to hit all the senses — sight, smell and sound.”
They already are planning and making notes for next year.
“I walk around and see what I really like and would like to expand on next year,” she said.
The LeBeaus always decorated heavily for Halloween but decided to take it to another level for the community after seeing the number of trick-or-treaters decline.
“I also create three new trick-or-treaters to our front display every year,” she said. “Even if they are fake, they are still coming to the house.”
Haunt on the Hill is free of charge and considered safe and fun for all ages.
“We do have some little ones that don’t make it all the way through,” Cathy LeBeau said, “but I always soothe things over with a treat.”