David McDonnell (centre) among friends at his haunted Halloween house.
David McDonnell (centre) among friends at his haunted Halloween house.

Crowds haunt ghost house

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

IT all started as a small gathering with some of their daughter's friends.

But this Halloween more than 400 people will pass through David and Annette McDonnell's house of horrors.

Not to say their house isn't tidy, it's just that every year the Gladstone couple spend weeks transforming their home into a ghost house.

'It just started off small for our daughter and a couple of her class mates, but it has grown bigger and bigger each year,' David said.

Their daughter is now 19 years old, but the event hasn't lost any of its excitement.

In fact word has spread across Gladstone with hundreds now coming to take part in the Halloween festivities.

'It used to only be held on one night, but now we've had to make it two nights because everyone kept asking if they could bring more and more people,' Annette said.

Walking into the McDonnell home, one expects a few posters and perhaps a dummy wearing a mask.

But instead visitors are confronted by a well-drilled display of ghosts and less than wholesome characters from all their favourite horror movies.

'We make all the props and costumes ourselves and then just buy the masks,' David said.

'We have just managed to collect them over the years and add to them.'

For those who think Halloween isn't scary, David knows otherwise, after copping a few knocks from visitors who have been more than a little frightened.

'He has got a smack in the mouth and a punch in the stomach from people who have gotten scared,' Annette said.

So popular has the event become, the couple can't even go shopping without people asking if they are holding the event again this year.

'I've heard all the comments that it's an American thing, but that's not why we do it,' Annette said.

'We just have fun doing it, everyone has fun.'

This year the Illawarra Drive residents will hold the event on Halloween night (tonight) and on Friday night.



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