MOLINE, Illinois-- Halloween is right around the corner. Parents are making their kids' costumes, and children are dreaming of mountains of candy. But one Moline man has been making Halloween dreams come true for decades.
"It's been 30 years of just decorating and adding, decorating and adding," Alan Atkinson says.
His lawn on the corner of 12th Avenue and 9th Street is covered with jack-o'-lanterns and bones. There's a dragon sitting on his roof, and a giant cat crawling over his fence.
"Every year, we try to spend $500-$600 on decorations," Atkinson says. "And we hand out candy. We spend $400-$500 on candy every year."
It took 40 hours to get every bone and every ghoul in place this year.
"It's all worth it watching the kids' faces and some of the older people," Atkinson says. "Some of them I made. The tombstones I made. The dummies I made."
There are so many decorations that Atkinson can't even keep track of them all. But I counted at least 55 pumpkins, 25 skeletons and bones, and 20 ghosts. That doesn't even begin to encompass all the inflatables, statues and dummies cramming the lawn.
Every year, this display attracts hundreds of trick-or-treaters, with lines going all the way down the sidewalk.
"When they come to trick-or-treat and their eyes are so big... they want the candy," he says. "And they're looking at everything that moves. It's just wonderful."
"I don't like to be scared, but I like scaring people every now and again," Atkinson says.
He says he builds his dummies to his size so he can switch into their clothes and stand in their place. Then he can scare unsuspecting visitors.
"The good thing about Halloween is you get to be something you're not for one day at least and nobody's going to say anything," he says.
Even if you can't make it to his doorstep on Halloween, Atkinson doesn't want anyone to be left out.
"You can come by and look at it, and if you can't come back on Halloween night, I'll get you a piece of trick-or-treat candy now," he says.
Atkinson says he started decorating his house 30 years ago to inspire others.
"Kids come by, and they see this, and they'll remember this," he says. "And they'll like Halloween, and enjoy it."
He says his display started out with a pumpkin, a dummy and a paper-mache skeleton that's been passed down through his family. He says his grandfather made the skeleton when his own father was little. It now rests inside a coffin on his porch each year.
And after doing this for so many years, Atkinson says he sees familiar faces year after year.
"People come up ... that say, 'I came here when I was a little boy or girl.' I went, 'You're really making me feel old today,'" he says.
Atkinson goes all out for the major holidays, decorating his house from top to bottom for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day and the Fourth of July. But he says Halloween is his favorite because the milder weather makes it easier for him to interact with his visitors.
He says he'll start taking his decorations down the day after Halloween.