PHOTOS: Season of the Witch Starts Now For Casper Family Decorating for Halloween
When I look out my window
Many sights to see
And when I look in my window
So many different people to be
That it's strange, so strange
- Donovan, Season of the Witch
The time has almost drawn nigh. The air is cooling (like, sort of). The sun sets earlier, the night comes sooner. The moonlight beckons all who surrender to it. It is autumn. It is Halloween. It is the season of the witch.
Or, at least, it is for one Casper family who have set up their Halloween decorations a little early this year, eager to usher in what is, arguably, the greatest season of the year.
Even though it's only September, the Calloway family have already turned their home into the coolest house on the block, decorating it with a variety of spooks and skeletons, witches and werewolves, ghosts and goblins.
And Pennywise. There is always Pennywise.
Driving past this house on Kelly Drive is an experience. You come around the corner not expecting much. An RV blocks the scene until you're deep inside of it. But once you are, your breath catches, your muscles tighten, the skin on your arms breaks out in goosebumps and it's no longer a 97 degree September day - it's October 31 and the darkness beckons you.
But the reason the Calloway family has started decorating early isn't just because they're in a spooky mood already; they're also just preparing for the pitfalls of Mother Nature.
"It's very time consuming," said Tara Calloway, the matriarch of the family. "And because of the Wyoming wind, all of these items actually have to be screwed in. My husband actually screws them together; it's not just a normal assembly. He has to screw in every piece together to make sure that it withstands what Mother Nature gives us."
And, in Wyoming, you never know what Mother Nature might have up her sleeve.
Tara's husband, Kelvin, said they actually started constructing their 'Halloween House' about three weeks ago. He also said they're "only just beginning," which means they have some ideas about what else they're going to add. It involves Astroturf, pumpkins, and so much more.
Once everything is set up, the decorations are all hooked up to a blue tooth mechanism that coordinates the music and lights and various other thematic elements that will turn this house into a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
"When you invest this type of time and money, you want to bring it out early, so the kids get to enjoy it more," Kelvin said. "We have neighbors from three blocks over that are putting this block on their walking routes."
And it's not just walkers. In the 15 minutes it took to interview the family, three separate cars parked outside of the house to take in the scene.
Once October hits and the house is standing in all its glory, it's going to be the coolest house on the block...possibly in town.
More than that, though, is the fact that this is exactly the type of thing that brings the community closer together.
The Calloway family moved from Houston to Casper five years ago and they immediately ingratiated themselves to the community by dressing their house up.
"The first year we had some stuff and then we kind of added to it and we saw what a response we got, so we were like, 'Oh, we have to just make this bigger and better!'" Tara said. "So last year it was a really good, a really awesome Halloween. But this year, the witch is new, the werewolf is new. We've got quite a few new items that we brought out."
One of those items is the skeleton of a Trojan, riding the skeleton of a horse. This is to honor their children, Ethan and Vance - both of whom attend Kelly Walsh High School, home of the Trojans.
There's also a Chucky, a Pennywise, several ghosts and goblins, and much more. The house is a veritable 'Who's Who' of spooks...and it's awesome.
Kelvin stated that, over the last 3 years, he's spent "a good $5,000 to $7,000" on the various accoutrements that make up this haunted house. It serves as a family bonding experience, and as a way to bond with their neighbors.
"We noticed this last year and even more this year," Tara said. "We really get to know our neighbors. And now, we're really getting to know a lot of our neighbors. They come by and they talk to us and tell us that they're going to come trick or treat here, and they're all excited and tell us that they drive by on purpose. It's great."
Kelvin shared a story about picking up another decoration at Menards and meeting a fellow who was also picking up some decorations. The two got talking and Kelvin was describing his house. Turns out, the man knew exactly which house Kelvin was talking about - he had been to that same house the year prior.
"He ended up coming over," Kelvin said. "We get that a lot. So we became friends on Facebook and he came over and got a tour."
That's the sort of camaraderie that this season evokes; it makes people happy, it brings people together.
By day, Tara works for a local insurance company and Kelvin works for the Sinclair Refinery. He is also a part of Sinclair's charitable committee, so he's deeply enveloped in the community. He knows how tightknit Casper is, and he's proud to add a little bit of cheer to the community.
"We love it," Tara said of living in Casper.
Her husband agreed.
"You know, in Houston we wouldn't get as much fun out of doing this," Kelvin said. "But here, in such a small town, with word of mouth from people, we get a lot of smiles and a lot of waves. This community takes care of itself."
And it's a community that the Calloway family is proud to be a part of. That's why they're so excited to be able to do something; not just for themselves, but for their community.
"A lot of people decorate for Christmas," Tara said. "But not as many go all out for Halloween. I mean, our 'littles' are 17 and 18 [years old]. So this is kind of something that we get to do together and have fun. It's kind of our thing."
And luckily, they made their thing our thing. There's still several weeks until Halloween, but this is the perfect start to the holiday. So when we drive by the Calloway house and look out our window, there are many sights to see. Because even though it's only September, we know that the time is drawing nearer. It's Halloween. It's a menagerie of the macabre. It's playground for Pennywise, a slow dance with the dead. It's the greatest time of the year.
It is, in fact, the Season of the Witch.
Photos of the house, as well as a video, can be seen below: