11:25AM, Thursday 02 November 2017
Hundreds of trick-or-treaters flocked to two family homes in Cippenham’s Elmshott Lane which celebrated Halloween in style with their deathly decorations.
Father-of-four Richard Axtell has been putting up homemade gruesome garnishings for the past 10 years, with the help daughters Lola, Shannon, Chloe and Bethanie.
This year’s display features tombstones, a blow-up ghost and a castle entrance covering the 16ft front gate.
“We didn’t do it last year because my next door neighbour passed away and they had an open casket, believe it or not on Halloween,” said Richard.
The 45-year-old used to be chairman of the Cippenham Community Carnival, which made a comeback this year having stopped 15 years before.
“It’s nice to be able to do something in the community,” he added.
“I had 4,000 sweets and it ran out at around half past seven. I had to send my daughters down to the shops to get more.
“Between six and eight o’clock it was just manic out the front.”
Many decorations are homemade and take roughly five hours to set up and two hours to put away.
“Being an electrician, the lighting at night is really what makes it pop,” added Richard.
He said his daughters love helping make and set up the decorations.
“They all muck in, they all stand out the front dishing out sweets. Even if they disappear they come back for packing up.”
Down the road, mother-of-two Lucy Bell and her sons Andrew and Daniel give passers-by spooky surprises with their collections of skeletons, coffins, blood-soaked window ledges, a six foot tree-man and more.
The Bell’s have bedecked their home for Halloween since sons 21-year-old Andrew and 20-year-old Daniel were eight and seven.
Lucy started doing it for her sons but it since became a popular attraction for the whole neighbourhood.
It is visited by more than 100 people every year including pupils at nearby Cippenham Primary and Infant schools.
“What kicked it all off was just to see their faces when they came home from school.
“I do the same for the children that go past, I just like to see their faces of excited laughter and shrieks.
“It’s too much fun to stop. The children and the adults absolutely love it.
Lucy, a special educational needs teaching assistant at Montem Academy, says her son Andrew, who has Asperger’s, always loved helping her put up the decorations.
She said other children with conditions like Asperger’s and autism take a special interest in the display.
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