Beware of ghosts and evil spirits running wild in Lakemont Place. They are most surely from LaDonna Woolley’s home.
Halloween is her favorite holiday, and she does it up big.
Her front yard is a cemetery. Her living room is a funeral parlor, and her den is a witch’s haven.
Beginning in mid-September, Woolley, her fiancé and children and grandchildren make a bucket brigade from the attic to the den, bringing down the masses of decorations, most made by Woolley or collected over the years.
She encloses her front yard with 100 feet of fencing she made from old oak pallets.
“I went to Lowe’s and asked if I could have some of the old pallets,” she said. “I took them apart, built the fence and painted it dark.”
Inside the enclosure is the graveyard, which is guarded by a mannequin named Mike and his handy shotgun. There are tombstones, a grave robber shoveling up a grave, the grim reaper, two skeletons and a lady weeping over the grave of her lover. Another woman is trapped in a well Woolley made from a five-gallon drum, which she covered with bricks. At the side entrance is a ghost stirring a cauldron of skulls.
Then there’s the coffin Woolley handmade from particle board with large rats eating the hand of a skeleton.
The cemetery is lit with blue floodlights that give the whole scene an eerie feel, especially when Woolley’s fog machine is turned on.
The entrance hall of the home is filled with cobwebs, which cover her foyer table and mirror.
In the living room, with flickering orange lights in the chandeliers, are two antique coffins, one large and one small.
The adult coffin, lined with red satin, is the resting place of a woman. The other is a child’s coffin with a baby, who, when given a squeeze, says, “You dropped me and broke me. You made me angry.”
“I saw the baby in one of those Halloween stores, and I just had to have it,” Woolley said. “When I find things, I pick them up.”
The den is home to a witch at a ouija board with her cauldron and specimen jars of body parts and spiders at her side.
The fireplace is filled with glowing orange candles. On the mantel is an arrangement of twigs Woolley made and painted black.
One of her favorite items on the hearth is a large book, actually a candy box, with the title, “Spells, Potions and Creepy Concoctions.” It was a gift from a friend who thought it would fit perfectly into the scene.
Throughout the home and yard, spooky music plays as different items make scary noises when moved or come into contact with people.
Woolley has been decorating for Halloween for years but only added the graveyard about 10 years ago. She begins her planning in the middle of July of each year.
“I sit on my front porch and make notes,” she said. “I decide where I will put everything.”
She gets ideas from the Internet. “I find out what they have on there and then make it on my own,” she said.
Her mother, Loretta Graham, who recently moved to Folsom from Memphis, came for several weekends this year to help with the setup.
“We have had a ball,” Woolley said. “We were out there, posing for pictures, when neighbors came by and commented that we were having too much fun in the cemetery.”
Woolley stores her stuff in the attic and a shed in the back. The fence is in sections so she can take it apart and put it behind the shed in the off season.
It takes a good three weeks to set everything up and about a week to take it down, but Woolley is careful to organize her decorations so that like items are put away together.
She would probably decorate the entire house and the rest of the yard if she didn’t have a 4-year-old grandchild who is terrified of the whole thing.
“I take into consideration that the grandchildren need their safe zone,” she said.