October 28, 2004
Ty Ty -- Some people live behind masks everyday, but one time a year their spooky sides get an opportunity to come out. Sometimes we don't really know people, their true selves, their hidden personalities until Halloween.
"All my life I've loved scary things," says Walter Hansen, who, for the past six years, has enjoyed scaring people. He likes skulls, one of the many symbols of Halloween. "They've always amazed me, skulls," says Walter standing by a smiling skull dressed in a bride's gown.
He's not blowing smoke even though one skull has smoke come out of the eye sockets, nose and mouth, part of his huge Halloween collection.
Walter Hansen has been known to drive 200 miles to buy a particular Halloween decoration. "I see what I want and I get it," says Walter standing by a dancing Frankenstein. He starts October first putting together his Halloween display.
"Gets bigger and bigger each year," says Walter having to move to a new home so he would have more room to scare people.
He has about a hundred items that set the stage for his alter ego to come out briefly. "The only night of the year I get to do it," says Walter with a laugh.
You could have a hard time recognizing Walter when you go and see his Halloween decorations because you never know what mask he will wear. He has several, and gets help from neighbors to help scare visitors. "There are usually five or six of us hiding out here," says Walter.
He's deadly serious about the yearly spook night. "This is my cemetery," says Walter. A rather substandard one at that. "They come out at night," says Walter pointing to part of a hand and foot that look as if they are coming through the dirt. Looks like some of them got an early start.
Many people would be green with envy to have such a display, while others might say he must have a hole in his head to do something like this. "I have fun," says Walter.
Fun he likes to stretch over, not one, but several nights. To him, Halloween lasts all week. "If you come to my house you will get scared," says Walter.
What does he get out of all this work and expense? "Frightening the young ones," says Walter. A tall, green Frankenstein rates as his favorite decoration. It sings and dances to Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
"I like him boogying," says Walter who sees his power bill increase $50 to $75 during October to operate all the decorations. "It doesn't matter, you know. You can't take it (money) with you," says Walter.
You get a strange feeling when you visit Walter Hansen's home, "I like to be spooky," says Walter, as if he lives a double life. "If you can't have fun, what's life," asks Walter, and then he disappeared to scare people each night through Saturday night.
He lives at 130 Malcolm Street in Ty Ty.
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