Fans of elaborate Halloween displays don’t have to wait until Monday night to take in the sights.
Figures have been seen moving about, indoors and out, by day and by night, readying things for the witching hour. Among them are the homeowners in the 100 and 200 blocks of Broadview in College Hill — known as Halloween Street.
People bearing flashlights have been walking up and down the street at night already to see what’s brewing, with the benefit of no trick-or-treating crowds.
“Come back this weekend — she’ll be up and running,” one undertaker, er, homeowner said to a couple of visitors to his cemetery.
Shining green in Kansas’ sesquicentennial year is the Wizard of Oz house at 211 N. Broadview. In addition to a yellow brick road unfurling, a tornado twisting and a hot-air balloon lighting in a field of poppies, the white house is lit green from within, the understated but haunting face of the Wizard himself peering out from the upstairs hall window. Do pay attention to the man behind the curtain.
On a breezy night, white gauzy sails of a ghost ship flap under a skull-and-crossbones pirate flag next door, while jack-o’-lantern-headed ghosts fly in the trees at the adjacent house. Yellow mums in the ground underneath are jolts of pre-frost reality.
Farther up and just west, big inflatable black cats prepare to pounce, their claws out and their heads eerily turning, at Second and Fountain. The sound of the inflatables’ motors could be taken for hyper purring.
Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on Halloween this year, up 19 percent from last year, the National Retail Federation predicts. Almost $2 billion of that will be on decor — up 15 percent from last year.
Since the National Retail Federation began keeping track in 2003, the amount the average person spends has risen 73 percent to $72.31.
In the 100 block of North Broadview, a Monster Carnival is new to Wichita’s Halloween Street, with a fortune-teller booth, black-festooned Ferris wheel and — horror of horrors — a clown. Harry Potter characters are back, literally hanging around another house.
At the house where you find a gallows, let your glance wander to the windows of the house. Inside you can see that BEWARE has been etched in the dust of a mirror, and an unobtrusive mummy stands with her back to the south window.
Back at the Emerald City, “on Halloween evening, people can see Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, Glinda, the Wicked Witch, lions and tigers,” homeowner Sonja Alseike said. “The only characters we don’t have are the wizard and scarecrow.” Family members dress up, as do students from Kapaun Mount Carmel High School, she said.
If you do go, Halloween night or before, know that the unevenness of the sidewalks offer their own little frights, so be careful, and carry a flashlight.
Contributing: Orlando Sentinel