Local man gets ghoulish with handcrafted decorations

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Victor Lanna decorates his Rodlun Court home for Halloween, each year adding new spooky items to the collection. It’s foggy and dark, so trick-or-treaters will have to be careful of the body parts strewn about the porch, but it’s hard to concentrate when a pack of bedraggled undead are clawing at the nearby window.

This Rodlun Court home looks cheerful eleven months out of year, but in October, Victor Lanna turns his front lawn into a sticky, webby, foggy, shadowy, grisly horror house.

Where a friendly Buddha statue usually sits by the front door, a bloody, yellow-eyed Buddha takes its place. Tombstones and spiderwebbed crosses replace roses and shrubs. A cemetery rises on the lawn, where skeleton heads and hands pierce the grass from below. Walk up to the porch and you’ll find heads hanging from chains, a zombie woman, a mummy made from cheese cloth and black paper mache pumpkin.

In daylight, Lanna sends out a cheerful greeting to visitors, offering news about this year’s décor. But on Halloween night, he’ll try his best to scare you — and he’ll probably succeed.

If trick-or-treaters aren’t scared by a rigged candy bowl, they’ll likely startle at a giant jumping spider or Lanna’s “Ivy Man” costume — about 1,000 pieces of fake ivy pinned to a black Lycra body suit. Lanna or a neighbor sports the costume, and disguised as a bush, jumps out by the sidewalk to grab passing arms and legs.

“I just love seeing the kids’ reactions,” said Lanna, 44. “I like to try to scare the parents, too.”

A nursing home administrator by day, Lanna has always liked Halloween, Christmas, decorating, and making holidays festive.

He grew up a self-proclaimed “Star Wars nerd” and always enjoyed dressing up for the holiday. “I’m still just a big kid at heart,” Lanna said.

After visiting Portland’s Davis Graveyard, Lanna was inspired. “Whoa, this is what I want mine to look like,” he said to himself as he left his “kiddie” themed Halloween lawn behind for the gory and gruesome.

“I try to make mine a mini version of that,” Lanna said.

He continued to draw inspiration from the Davis place, taking Halloween set classes the creators offer. He has learned how to make his own realistic gravestones, how to make foam board look like real wood, and how to construct a statue of a cloaked woman, who mourns in his NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Lannah makes a lot of his statues and gravestones out of foam board.

For the last six years, Lanna has come up with a new theme each year and usually builds a few new things to add to his creeper collection.

He’s put a hot glue gun on an air compressor to shoot out spider webs. He’s rigged a candy bowl to shoot out air when kids reach in. He’s even covered his whole house in fake bricks to make it look like a dungeon.

This year, his decor centers on zombies. He purchased a television that fits squarely in his front window, where a DVD of zombie hands scraping along the glass loops behind his handmade foam boards.

Now, neighbors anticipate his exploits, stopping by to help set up or just to chat. A few have even told Lanna he’s inspired them to decorate.

This Halloween, he’s hoping more trick-or-treaters will head down his street.

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