GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Drive down Haviland Avenue during the Halloween season, and one house may stand out to you. Yes, that’s right – it’s the one with skeletons waving from the porch, graves haunted by the not-quite-dead, and two kids running around, making sure every cobweb is exactly where it should be.
The house at 29 Haviland Ave. is one of 19 houses dotting Glens Falls that have gotten competitive with their love of Halloween. The houses are part of the Glens Falls Halloween House Contest, put on by the Glens Falls Collaborative to let the best and brightest decorators in town duke it out.
At 29 Haviland, that leader isn’t mom or dad. It’s 8-year-old Trey Babson, for whom the yard of spooky delights is never quite complete. There’s always a severed head to move, a ghoul whose arm could be a bit higher, or a new idea striking like a candy-induced sugar rush.
“He’s always loved Halloween since he was probably 2 years old,” said Avery Babson (mom), standing in front of “Boot Hill Graveyard” – part of the Babson family’s display for their second year in the contest. “Santa brings Halloween stuff for Christmas, every year.”
One of the earliest Halloween decorations Trey ever received for Christmas was a skeleton named Bob. Every skeleton to join the family since, he’s named Bob, too. Why?
“They’re all twins,” he says.
The family display, which wraps around the side of the house, was planned and laid out by Trey. with his parents and sister, Eve, helping to place everything just right. In addition to what the family picked up along the way, plenty of decorations have come to them via friends and family over the years. The graveyard’s headstones were originally for Avery’s cousin, a child at the time. Long since grown up, that cousin knew exactly where to bring the old graves.
As for the arrangement, Trey denies coming with full stories about the yard’s haunting characters – but he has scenes in his head. A skeleton in the water? He fell there, and met his untimely demise.
Nearby, at 11 Edgewater Place, David and Wanda Sowizdrzal are aware of the competition. They have no 8-year-old Halloween prodigy. What they do have? Enthusiastic grandkids.
“About four years ago, our grandchildren told us that we needed to put something out,” Wanda explained. “Every year we do a little more, and every year we get told to step up our game for next year. So this is us stepping up for this year.”
This year, the Sowizdrzal home has haunted gravestones and skeletons of its own, with a bit more theming. On the porch, two skeletons finish a game of cards. On the lawn, two star-crossed (skull-crossed?) lovers join hands. One lone skeleton sits, sadly all out of rum.
It’s just what it sounds like. The yard has been overrun by pirates.
“The drunk pirate in the wine barrel came first,” said Wanda. “We worked from there.”
Voting in the contest runs until Saturday, Oct. 29, on the Glens Falls Collaborative website. The idea to create a competition that came complete with a self-guided tour around Glens Falls first came in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic ruled out many in-person events, like Glens Falls’ traditional Boo 2 You celebration. Since then, it’s only grown.
“We are delighted with all the participation this year,” said Casey Scoville, the contest organizer with Glens Falls Collaborative. “It really makes the city come alive – even the dead, in some places.”
As of Thursday morning, over 600 votes had come in for the contest. In that time, businesses have pitched in to add to the prize pool awaiting the grand prize winner. The most haunted house of all will win gift cards from downtown businesses including Alif Cafe and Downtown Social. Both businesses are also on the list of contributors to Boo 2 You.
Now, the families that have turned their homes into Halloween meccas can only wait – for the contest results, and for Halloween. It’s an exciting prospect, every year, to see kids coming to trick-or-treat, stopping in the yard with excitement on their faces as they see a spooky wonderland laid out before them.
And, when you’re bitten this bad by the Halloween bug, you’re already planning for next year.
“I can tell you that next year we’ll have more skeletons,” said Wanda Sowizdrzal. “But I won’t tell you what they’ll be doing.”