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Glancer Magazine

LOCAL CHARM | The Schiffer-Schutte Family of Downers Grove Shares Their October Halloween Favorites

by Kristen Kucharski

Family Photos by Ruta Drulia Unless Otherwise Submitted

A Love for Haunted Houses and Halloween Decorating is Not Only a Family Affair, But a Neighborhood Affair as Well

DOWNERS GROVE–James has been involved in haunted houses since he was 18 at the Lombard Jaycees Haunted House. He then moved to Westmont in 2002 to help a start-up for them. In 2003, he met Melanie and their passion for the holiday continued to grow together, eventually including their children Elizabeth (15), Clara (16), Robert (21), and Pierre (22) to create their very own Haunted House at 4113 Williams Street in Downers Grove.

The energy was contagious to even the neighbor kids Jordan Valadez (9) and Gavin Leland (10), as the family begins setting up around September 20th with a goal of everything running by October 14th. The process takes around 200 plus hours with family and friends helping move items from their pool company’s 4000 square foot warehouse to their home.

They also belong to Chicago Haunt Builders where they get ideas and build props through Make- -n-Take workshops that have grown their decor from basic tombstones to what it is today.

“We decorate by setting up a display that the community can watch from the sidewalk and driveway,” Melanie says. “There are three rooms with different themes in each one. Props have motion and sound, and there is also a graveyard with moving and nonmoving props that include favorites such as the flying nun, the twitchy clown, and the vortex tunnel.”

A family that scares together, stays together!


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