Featured Stories

Haunting the House

by: Carole Archer, Tracy Duncan, right, and her two daughters, Ginger, 4, and Eve, 7, left, give their favorite Halloween decoration a big heave on Thursday, Oct. 26. The Duncans decorate their Roberts Avenue house every year for their second-favorite holiday (Christmas is first).

You know the types - on Oct. 1, they're outside, covering their houses with cotton spiderwebs and oversized arachnids, pitching scarecrows and carving jack-o-lanterns. They have piles of pumpkins, large bowls of candy inside and ghosts hanging from their trees. Meet a few of East County's resident spooks.

TRACY DUNCAN

Age: 43.

Neighborhood: We live along Roberts Avenue.

Why the fascination with Halloween? Now that I'm a mom, it's my children's excitement that makes it fun. We bought our costumes for this year in September, and they're already choosing their costumes for next year.

When did the Halloween obsession get started? We've been decorating our house for about three years. I start pulling out the decorations around Oct. 1.

What's your prized Halloween decoration? Our big, giant blow-up pumpkin. You can see it from far away. Our neighbors always ask when we're going to put it out.

What's your favorite Halloween candy? Mini Baby Ruths. I steal them from the girls' bags.

Do you believe in ghosts? Yes. Because I've felt them. And we thought we saw one. There's a lot of old houses around here and one of them was empty for a while and we thought we saw something in the window once.

Do you prefer tricks or treats? Treats.

What's your neighborhood like on Halloween night? Busy. But we usually get dressed up and go across Powell to downtown Gresham. That's really nice, because it's very safe, and all the shops stay open and give out candy to the kids.

How many trick or treaters did you have last year? I'm not sure. We usually put out a big bowl of candy on the honor system.

How much candy did you give out last year? About three bags.

How much did you spend on candy last year? $20.

Are you going to attend a Halloween party? We're going to a pumpkin carving party this weekend.

What are you going to dress up as? I'm the mom, so I always dress up as a witch. Every year I'm a witch.

What was your best costume ever? Once I was a black cat.

What's your favorite scary movie? I don't watch scary movies, they freak me out. I did like Ghostbusters though.

Is Halloween your favorite holiday of the year? No. Christmas is. Halloween's our second favorite.

Do you collect any one Halloween decoration? No.

How much money do you spend on decorations every year? $50.

EVE DUNCAN

Age: 7.

What's your prized Halloween decoration? Our giant pumpkin, but it has to stay with the eyes and nose facing the road. But this year it got a hole in it, so is has a pimple now.

What's your favorite Halloween candy? Candy corn.

Do you believe in ghosts? Yes. Because I saw one once.

Do you prefer tricks or treats? Treats. But daddy would say tricks.

Are you going to attend a Halloween party? I go to the Franciscan Montessori school, so we're having a party there.

What are you going to dress up as? American Idol singer Paris.

What was your best costume ever? Once I was an Angel. I really, really believe in God, and I was up in heaven.

What's your favorite scary movie? Ghostbusters II.

Is Halloween your favorite holiday of the year? I like Christmas and Halloween.

GINGER DUNCAN

Age: 4.

What's your prized Halloween decoration? The ghost. I'm going to make a big ghost but we haven't made it yet.

What's your favorite Halloween candy? Candy corn.

Do you believe in ghosts? No. Because I'm a superhero.

Do you prefer tricks or treats? Tricks. I like to put worms in people's hair.

Are you going to attend a Halloween party? We're carving pumpkins with my favorite babysitter.

What are you going to dress up as? Batgirl.

What was your best costume ever? Once I was Sailor Moon, the superhero.

What's your favorite scary movie? I like Scooby Doo, the one where he goes and sees the werewolf and the dracula.

Is Halloween your favorite holiday of the year? Um, yeah!

GAIL SWANSON

Age: 52

Neighborhood: Fairview Village

Why the fascination with Halloween? It's just an opportunity to be someone who you're not, to be a kid again. It's a chance to be creative, and the night brings so much joy to kids.

When did the Halloween obsession get started? Probably 15 years ago. It started with changing the lights every year, mostly the outdoor lights and different things to hang around on the outside of the house, around the pillars, and then carving the pumpkins. It grew from there, especially when we moved to Fairview Village. It was an opportunity, with more house, to do different things here.

What's your prized Halloween decoration? The Shrek, without a doubt. And the scarecrow in the front. This is the fourth year I've put Shrek up. It was just something that I got and blew it up; we didn't realize how big he was. That was the first year that there were hundreds of kids coming through here. People started bringing their kids to the house to get a picture with Shrek. We had to patch him this year with rafting patches. We give him a little Halloween hat sometimes. With the lights at night and everything, the kids just love to see him. He's 8 or 9 feet tall. Also, we use orange rope lights in front to write 'Boo.' Not in a scary way, so they don't get freaked out.

What's your favorite Halloween candy? I would have to say chocolate topped candy corn.

Do you believe in ghosts? Uh-huh. I don't think I've ever had an experience with them. But I do think there are a lot of friendly spirits, especially here.

Do you prefer tricks or treats? I like the kids to do tricks. Sometimes they sing a song or tell a joke.

What's your neighborhood like on Halloween night? It's like a football game just got out, and the streets are packed with kids. Last year we counted 589 kids that we gave candy to. You can't drive your cars through here, people park by Target or the post office. It starts at about 4 in the afternoon with real little kids, and by 7 you're out of candy. The fist year we were here, 1997, we were one of the first families and there were hardly any kids, so all the kids got big candy bars. But over the years, people just started coming in. I think they feel it's a very safe space. When you first move in here, your neighbors tell you, 'Just wait for Halloween.' It brings a sense of, wow, this is a community; it has a small town feeling.

How much did you spend on candy last year? $80.

Are you going to attend a Halloween party? Unfortunately, no.

What was your best costume ever? When I dressed up as Hulk Hogan.

What's your favorite scary movie? I don't watch that many. I remember the first time I saw Birds by Hitchcock though, that was scary, especially when the birds start pecking people's eyes out.

Is Halloween your favorite holiday of the year? Christmas is much more so than Halloween, we do more with lights and things like that.

Do you collect any one Halloween decoration? I try to find things that are different, like these witches' feet coming out of the garage or the different kinds of lights.

How much money do you spend on decorations every year? Not much, because I use them over and over, maybe $20.