Halloween decorations in the Miller family’s yard on La Escuela Court include dozens of skeletons and other creatures dressed in their best festive garb. Photo: Michael Moore

Homeowners throughout Morgan Hill are vying to outspook their neighbors and express their holiday spirit in the city’s first Halloween home decorating contest. 

About 40 homes have entered the Morgan Hill Parks and Recreation Department’s “Morgan Hill Haunt” contest, in which residents decorate their homes and landscaping with their most creative and frightful displays, effects, props, lighting and animations. Skeletons dressed in all kinds of wardrobes, hillside graveyards, witches flying on broomstick in the trees, undead creatures crawling out of the ground, hovering ghosts and jack-o-lanterns of varying visages—these are some of the scenes depicted in the front yards of contest participants all over Morgan Hill. 

The deadline to enter a decorated home in Morgan Hill Haunt was Oct. 20, and city staff were out judging the creations Oct. 23-24. Entrants are judged in three categories: most creative, best use of effects and scariest decor. 

The winners were expected to be announced on the city website shortly after judging. The prize is “the ultimate Halloween home decorating bragging rights,” says the city’s website. 

Spectators can still take their own self-guided tours of the decorated homes. The city’s Morgan Hill Haunt web page (morganhill.ca.gov/2460/Morgan-Hill-Haunt) includes a map of participating homeowners. 

Many of the competitors are families who have long enjoyed spending dozens of hours every year decorating their homes for Halloween and other winter holidays, and now have a chance to see how their creations stack up against their neighbors. 

Among the contestants is a string of homes on La Escuela Court in the La Crosse neighborhood in southwest Morgan Hill. Several neighbors teamed up to intricately adorn their front yards and doorsteps with finely detailed Halloween scenes. 

The Miller family, on Escuela Court, is one who has devoutly decorated their home for Halloween and the winter holidays each year. They were excited to learn the city was hosting a competition this year.

“What a fun thing to do for the town,” Jennifer Miller said Oct. 24. 

The Millers’ front yard and that of their neighbors’ includes more than a dozen skeletons of different sizes, dressed as a variety of characters depicted in unexpected scenes such as a card game, delivering packages, playing on playground equipment or simply welcoming visitors. 

And the fun is just beginning for Miller and other families. Jennifer Miller said she hopes the city hosts a similar contest for Christmas and winter holiday decorations. 

“This neighborhood is really nice at Christmas time,” she added. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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