UA alum shares the story behind the famous Halloween house on Guilford Road.
BY SAMMY BONASSO, ‘20 AND JOSIE STEWART, ‘21.
“We [have] a big, giant arrow sign that says, ‘North Pole This Way.’ And, you know, when I was a kid, I thought I was in Santa’s Workshop,” UA alum Griffin Wear said.
Each holiday, Wear is immersed into a surreal scene with hundreds of decorations and lights that hide the grass on the front lawn. While Wear once imagined himself in the North Pole or surrounded by witches and ghouls, he looked through crowded windows to see strangers marveling at his house from the street, with a bus of senior citizens blocking the street on one occasion. In a way, these onlookers take part in the family’s long-running tradition, which began before Wear’s birth.
“My dad was [decorating the house] before I was born,” Wear said. “[He is] the mastermind; I am just the heavy lifter and kind of do what he says. He knows the ins and outs of everything. It’s crazy. With electricity, he has it all mapped out so we don’t blow a fuse.”
The house has been owned by the Wears almost since the day it was built, and since Wear’s father moved in, the decorations have grown vastly and garnered more attention with each addition. Wear currently lives with his parents in the house while he completes his college education at Columbus State.
“I have two older siblings who have moved out in the past couple years, so once I finish college I’ll follow suit,” Wear said. “Basically all my siblings have helped [with the decorating], but now that it’s only me left, it’s just me and my dad most of the time.”
With a couple hundred decorations, the task of putting up and tearing down for Halloween, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Easter takes the Wears at least a few weeks.
“If we had enough people, like when I had all my siblings, we could get it up in a week or two,” he said. “But with how busy I am and the rest of my family, it probably realistically takes [a little less than a month] for Halloween. The transition from Halloween to Christmas is kind of crazy, so that probably will take about a month or so.”
Halloween is always a spectacle on Guilford, and this year Wear passed out candy from his front step.
“[The most kids come to our house] by far. It’s like a little flash mob of children,” Wear said. “This year, we had two bags left, but you just never want to run out. There’s a constant flow of children coming in, and there are just too many people, man. But I love it.”
The family tradition that’s made the house well known in the community all began with Wear’s father.
“His hobbies are basically this and working on cars. That’s pretty much what he does in his free time: Halloween, Christmas and cars,” he said. “[My dad] loves Christmas, and I think [the decorations] just kind of started from there.”
Although Wear’s father gathers new decor each year, it began with Christmas decorations that he built himself.
“My dad used to be a bit of a woodworker himself, and he made these Santa’s elves with one of his buddies, and they painted them,” Wear said. “A lot of the older Christmas decorations that we have were made by him when he was a lot younger.”
Naturally, unused decorations take up much space, filling a backyard garage and an attic. Whatever decorations break merely free up space for newer purchases. Wear’s father even keeps inventory in his head of dysfunctional decorations so that he knows what to buy when decorations go on sale after the
Beyond decorations, even, Christmas in particular holds intangible value for Wear, who is close with his nuclear family but rarely sees them.
“There’s a lot of people I only get to see around that time,” Wear said. “My sister, I don’t see very often. My brother lives in Atlanta. So, [with] seeing them around Christmas, it’s just positive emotions, and it lets you forget about any of the little things in your life.”