MEEKER I It’s creepy. And it keeps getting creepier.
Such is the Halloween tradition at Antler Taxidermy in Meeker for the past 34 years, and, according to owner Donna Wille, “it will likely continue for many years as me and my husband, Bill, truly enjoy Halloween and its scary, gory, graphic nature.”
The Willes continue to expand their Halloween display at their taxidermy business, located at 369 Market St. If you are just passing through Meeker or know of the business, it will quickly catch your attention and may bring out a quick smile while passing by.
But it is worth it to park the car, get out and get a closer look.
Or, better yet, stop by on Halloween night, when the Willes hand out bags full of candy and toys.
“We used to hand out dollar rolls of pennies, but that became too expensive,” Donna said. “If it is a good-weather evening,” she added, “People just hang around and talk to each other and have fun.”
The Willes prepare 500 bags of treats for the trick-or-treaters each year, “and we have always had less than 50 bags left over.”
“We do this because it is a lot of fun,” Donna said. “Bill and I really like Halloween, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger each year.”
This year, the count of lights used in the large display passed 500, she said.
“We started small 34 years ago and it has grown slowly in that time,” Donna said. “We had deaths in both families over the past couple of years, so our hearts weren’t really in it,” she said. “But we are back bigger and better this year.
“The displays change each year,” Donna said. “We move many of the same scenes and creatures around so it looks different, then we add more lights or more monsters or add more effects so it keeps changing.”
She will take the display down, weather willing, right after Halloween.
“It’s strictly there for Halloween, not Thanksgiving or Christmas, so I take it down soon as I can,” she said. “By Thanksgiving and, certainly by Christmas, it is way too cold to maintain a display. Nope, we’ll stick with our favorite, which is Halloween.”
It may only take a few days to take down, but it took at least two weeks to put up the display this year, Donna said. The display also stays lit 24 hours a day and seven days a week until Halloween.
She said she and Bill have had to put in extra circuits to accommodate the added electrical needs, but, she added, “as quick as we add more circuits, the sooner we add more attractions to the display.”
“I have even had the power so stressed it blew out a hair dryer while I was using it,” she said.
Donna said she is sorry that the Town of Meeker is going to eliminate about seven feet of her front yard come spring in order to put in a sidewalk on the north side of Market Street, right in front of the business.
“There is good and bad in all that,” she said. “It will be nice to have the sidewalk, but I am really going to miss that seven feet of frontage on my yard.
“But the spirit remains strong, and we will figure some way to get it all in,” she said.
“I find a great deal of joy in Halloween, strangely enough,” Donna said. “One of the absolutely biggest thrills I get these days is that I see many of the children who first came by here as small young children themselves now bringing their small young children or grandchildren to come and see the display.
“We feel it has been and will continue to be a pretty neat tradition,” she said.