LORAIN — It’s not hard to identify the Gillispies’ home every October.
Tombstones line the driveway with stray hands and feet sticking out of the ground, cobwebs cover the bushes and a giant 2-foot spider sits in the driveway.
The home on Washington Avenue in Lorain looks like a haunted house every Halloween, from the inside to the outside. But this Halloween, neighbors may notice a few less decorations in the yard.
On Sunday, $400 worth of Halloween decorations were stolen from the front yard. Tracy Torres, daughter of Robert and Julia Gillispie, who own the house, said the theft angered the family, so they fought back.
Sunday night, the Gillispies added a new lawn ornament — a message to the thief. The sign read: “For the Grinch that stole Halloween: Kiss my … .”
Torres said the sign was not meant to offend the neighbors but to get a point across. The Gillispies have since taken the sign down but are hoping that the decorations will be returned.
“We want our Halloween back,” Torres said. “The Grinch stole Halloween.”
Still, Torres said the theft won’t stop their celebration of the holiday the family loves.
Ten years ago, Julia Gillispie was diagnosed with cancer. Around the same time, doctors found clots in Robert Gillispie’s lungs.
Robert Gillispie’s health has since improved, and Julia has been in remission for nine years, but the scare was enough to get the family to appreciate the little things in life, including spending the holidays together.
“We’re passionate about every holiday, because we’re going big and living life,” Torres said.
The haunted decor has been 10 years in the making.
The family has been collecting a couple Halloween decorations each year. This year, they have enough to decorate every home in the house with a theme — the kitchen is a butcher shop and the living room is witch-themed, complete with Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West.
The family began decorating Aug. 28 and will continue until the big event. Torres said Robert Gillispie is always the most excited about the big event, creating many of the decorations in the home by hand.
“My dad is passionate about Halloween,” she said. “My dad is the social butterfly of the neighborhood.”
And the neighbors appreciate Robert’s hard work, Julia Gillispie said.
“I personally enjoy watching the kids have fun,” she said, adding all of the neighbors flock to the home.
Julia Gillispie dresses like the Good Witch every Halloween, but some of the kids are scared by the family’s other costumes and surprise spooks.
“They’ve dropped candy and ran. Even the big kids,” Julia Gillispie said, laughing.
Robert said the theft of the most expensive Halloween pieces from the front yard will not stop the family from having a good time. He’s already planning decorations for their next holiday.
“We’re like the Griswolds of Christmas,” Robert said.
Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.