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Chester County Press

A home for Halloween

10/22/2019 09:38AM ● By J. Chambless

A haunted pirate ship extends from the front porch of the Cooke house in Avondale this year.

Plenty of people put out Halloween decorations. But then there are the Cookes.

The family – Alayna and Jeff, and their son Tanner, 12 – has lived in London Croft in Avondale for 14 years. Every year, their haunted front lawn gets more detailed, and it now draws curious visitors for several weeks before Halloween.

Jeff designs and builds most of the props, Alayna said. “We always put up a cemetery out front, but try to add or change up the theme every year,” she said this week. “Last year we had a mad scientist lab, and this year we built a ghost pirate ship in the front yard, with the mast extending up through the porch roof, complete with skeleton pirates.”

The outdoor work starts a month in advance, and the family also sets up a walk-through dungeon scene in their basement.

“We love the creating, building and decorating, but most all we love to see the kids that come to our house with wide eyes, taking everything in,” Alayna continued. “It’s funny to see how some kids were afraid to come up to the front door, and then eventually, as they grow older, finally make it up to the door.

“It warms my heart to think of the wonderful memories that these kids will have of trick-or-treating at our house over the years, and will then grow up to tell their kids about our Halloween haunted house as adults.”