Driving through Hampden’s 34th street during the winter holiday season has long been a tradition for Baltimore families. But another neighborhood’s elaborately decorated Halloween homes have become a sight to anticipate for the fall season.
In Southwest Baltimore, residents of the Violetville neighborhood go all out with a mix of playfully fun and bone-chillingly frightening displays. Some neighbors with side-by-side homes even collaborate for bigger, more elaborate attractions.
Trick-or-treaters are not just looking for candy; they also want to visit the most theatrical homes, so homeowners have been transforming the exterior of their homes with eerie yet entertaining visual displays.
“Years ago, I started decorating with basic lights and tombstones, and over the years I added a little more to keep it fresh,” says Violetville resident Laura McDonald. “Before you knew it, I had a masterpiece in my yard. People get out of their cars to take pictures of what I’ve been told was just like an entrance to a haunted house and I absolutely love it.”
Decorations go beyond carved pumpkins and a few witches; Violetville neighbors give their homes complete spooky makeovers with massive inflatables that cover an entire rooftop, fake spiderwebs stretched across entire yards, and lawns full of bloody dolls that automatically move and talk back if you get too close.
The community, which recently partnered with Blue Water Baltimore for a tree planting, even decorated those newly planted trees with mini ghosts hanging from their branches.
“We’ve always had a lot of children in the neighborhood so I’ve always tried to go above and beyond for every holiday, hoping to put a smile on a kid’s face. And my neighbors are just the same,” says McDonald. “A lot of us decorate our yards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, and 4th of July. Christmas has always taken the cake, but Halloween is slowly creeping up to be a new neighborhood favorite.”