Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Esmeralda Garcia hangs a spooky giant clown in the front yard of her Halloween House at 824 Claremont Dr.
For the past three years, Robert and Esmeralda Garcia have decorated their house on 824 Claremont Drive and have enjoyed scaring those who dare visit their haunted yard.
“We have everything that generates a free haunted house,” Robert said. “It’s a free attraction. I do it especially for the kids.”
Garcia’s front yard is filled with tombstones and animated mannequins that have one goal in mind — scary.
“Whatever is not animated, we try to incorporate a light or strobe light for it,” he said. “We have an inflatable tunnel and we have a 10-15 foot marshmallow man from the ‘Ghostbusters.’ It’s more for the little kids.”
The Garcias say it takes about a year to plan out the decorations for their front yard and scours the sales after Halloween to find any decorations to use for the next year.
“There’s about nine mannequins that will be out,” Robert said. “There will be four or five that will be dressed up and will be actors.”
Count Robert as one of those actors.
“He was the ‘Chainsaw Massacre’ guy for Halloween a couple of years ago,” Esmeralda said. “He came out of the gate with his chainsaw going.”
Robert has always been fascinated about Halloween, but he didn’t have an opportunity to enjoy it when he was a child.
“I grew up very poor,” he said. “As a child, I didn’t have this luxury. It was very limited. I had to make my own costumes. Now, have this ability to expand and do it to the next level.”
The Garcias, who have been together for seven years, have a mutual love or Halloween.
“She loves it and I love it,” Robert said. “I never thought someone would be as fascinated as I do. We love this. We both work for the post office and go around neighborhoods and see a house that has something so we have to step it up.”
“I had a bunch of stuff for Halloween, but when I got with him, we got way more stuff,” Esmeralda said.
The haunted yard is also a family affair.
“Our kids are going to be our actors this year,” he said. “She has two and I have three children.”
The Garcias start setting up their yard when the calendar hits October. They gradually put out stuff until it’s fully decorated by Oct. 28. Robert said he is stalling a bit this year because rain was in the forecast.
“We have so many ideas and mannequins that we dress up,” he said. “We also have to put in all the wiring for the lighting and sound effects.”
“We have a fog machine that we also set up,” Esmeralda said.
She said they buy more than $100 worth of candy, but ends up with a lot left over.
“A lot of kids don’t want to come up to get the candy,” she said. “This year, we’re going to give out prizes for the best costumes.”
“If someone uses their imagination to go out or a family going through a theme, I’ll give them a prize,” Robert said.
The Garcias plan to keep decorating and improving their haunted yard at their home, which they’ve had for three years.
“Families tell me don’t stop and keep doing it,” Robert said. “Hopefully, we can go bigger and bigger. We used to do it before, but we were out in the country so we didn’t get a lot of people. It works out really good.”
Esmeralda also said there might be an appearance from a certain clown from a recently released scary movie.