Creepy yard decor thrills Powellhurst-Gilbert neighbors

Find out why an outer East Portland couple has been decorating their yard like this for Hallowe’en for many years …

Sack races, anyone? Welcome to Pumpkin Acres, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Here and there, across outer East Portland neighborhoods, you’ll spot modest displays of seasonal decorations.

But, when it comes to Hallowe’en, a couple living in the shadow of Powell Butte goes way beyond “modest displays” to entertain their neighbors – and the many visitors who annually venture up their dead-end street to take a look at what’s new in their yard!

Welcoming visitors to this year’s Hallowe’en display are Scott Tangen and Karen Olson.

The couple, Scott Tangen and Karen Olson, are active members of the NW Haunters Association, and were asked to set up a “selfie” tableau at this year’s Swamp Meet – [CLICK HERE to read about that unusual event] – and they invited East Portland News to visit their haunt.

“We call our haunt ‘Pumpkin Acres’, here at our home,” said Tangen – with a ghastly smile, as the gate creaked and swung open to the inner sanctum in their driveway.

“What we do, is we change up how we arrange the yard for Hallowe’en every year – how we display the approximately 400 pumpkins, and the activity of the skeletons – making it a new display every year,” Tangen pointed out. “Keeping it fresh interesting gets people keep coming back and taking a look, year after year!”

His partner, Karen Olson, arrived home from work and joined the conversation. She and Tangen work at a local foundry that makes precision aircraft parts – their jobs are in the X-ray department.

In the Crypt area (it’s their driveway), haunted pumpkins and skeletons frolic amongst the tombstones.

“We’ve been doing this for fifteen seasons, at this house,” Olson grinned. “But, Scott has been doing it forever – I just ‘married into it’, and we’ve just kept on going!”

It’s a partnership, they agreed. Olson comes up with the themes and ideas of how to decorate the yard, and Tangen then sets to work executing the plans. “For example, ‘The Crypt’ was her idea and design; then, I came up with how to build it,” Tangen said.

Having manufactured their own spider webs for 35 years, Scott Tangen is an expert – their annual display is subtitled, “House of Spiders”. “I un-weave them, and re-weave them every year; it changes the shape of the web, so it never looks the same,” he confides.

In past years, before the COVID-19 pandemic, they created interactive displays inside for kids who came to visit, Olson recalled. “But now, we need to keep everyone safe, so it’s all outside.”

In addition to the silent pumpkins, figurines, and skeletons, the displays at Pumpkin Acres also feature a big-screen outdoor video, projections in the windows, and “talking pumpkins”. And there’s even more, but you’ll need to go by and see it all for yourself!

Go take a look at this fun, free attraction!

Pumpkin Acres ~ House of Spiders
13922 SE Schiller Street
Monday-Thursday: Dusk to 9:00 p.m. | Lit yard display
Friday-Saturday: 6:30-10:00 p.m. | Driveway open; all effects
Sunday: 6:30-9:00 p.m. | Driveway open; all effects
See their Facebook page: CLICK HERE

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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