Couple’s passion for the macabre delights Johnson Creek neighbors

Be careful driving corner of SE Johnson Creek Blvd. and 43rd Ave. – ghosts and goblins abound at their Halloween-decorated home …

East Portland’s “ghost hosts with the most”, Jeff and Chris Davis, invite guests who dare, to drive or walk past their spooked-out home.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One look at their place, all decked out for Halloween, and it’s easy to understand how Jeff and Chris Davis turn their abode into an elaborate spook show. Turning their modest 1930’s-era home into a creepy Hollywood-like set required an abundance of imagination, lots of hard work ‚Äì and a $6,000 budget.

So much for “how”. We visited the Davis’ on their property at the corner of SE Johnson Creek Blvd. and 43rd Ave. to learn why they dedicatedly decorated for Allhallows Eve.

“We like Halloween,” said Jeff simply. “And, it is a lot of fun. It is mainly that we get to express ourselves.”

Chris chimed in, “There is a lot of creativity in all this. We’ve figured out ways to improve our display. It’s grown every year for eight years.”

Jeff said he attended a convention dedicated to Halloween events and decorations, and picked up new lighting and special effects used in their tableau of terror.

The Davis Haunted Grave Yard wouldn’t be complete, they said, without a cathedral ‚Äì so they built one ‚Äì complete with its own ghost.

New ‘cathedral’ towers over the graveyard
The couple proudly spoke of their largest set piece, a cathedral. The fa?ßade is built on the front of their garage and shop, towering prominently at the back of their driveway.

“If people look closely,” Jeff said, “They’ll see a ghost in the upper window.” The couple even came up with a method of making realistic-looking stained-glass windows. “But, everything packs down into a relatively small space,” Jeff told us.

Neighbors are entertained
“Our neighbors say they’re impressed, and say they love seeing what we come up with every year,” Jeff grinned.

“We get a lot of great compliments,” Chris added, “People come from all over to see our display. It seems as much fun for them as it is for us.”

As we were photographing the spook-making couple, neighbor Rick Denton walked up. “I really enjoy what they do. But then, I love this kind of stuff. Being a magician, I play with stuff like this. I know how much care and effort they put into their production. It’s wonderful.”

Jeff and Chris Davis stand with their friend who is “hanging around” for a while. They welcome visitors to look–but from outside the gates of their property.

Ghosts everywhere
This year, the Davis Graveyard features 40 individually-lit tombstones, six monuments, three animated features and projected special effects. A large, hooded monk figure is set up so he can talk to, and interact with, passers-by.

Hoping to turn their passion into a business, the couple is writing a book to help others learn how to make props and transform their own yards into elaborately Halloween-themed sets. Interested? See www.davisgraveyard.com for more details

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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