Haunting happenings

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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See Rocklin's haunt spots:
Willard Way: A graveyard welcomes trick or treaters; if kids make it to the front door, past a witch, bat flying overhead and grim reaper, it’s off to the “path of no return”
Hannah and Arnold ways neighborhoods: The streets are laced with houses dressed to spook, from large spiders to ghosts hovering under the trees
Dawson Oil Co.; 4325 Pacific St: The business corner is decorated with a witch flying on her broom and other creepy creatures

Halloween is upon us.
And many Rocklin homes have transformed into frighteningly decorated yards full of ghosts, goblins and graveyards.
For Rocklin resident Roger Barkhurst, his front yard morphs into a spooky scene come Halloween night. Starting Oct. 1, he starts sorting through the décor and deciding on the year’s layout. One week is spent putting all the props together — from a witch stirring a pot of bubbling brew to a bat that flies and flaps its wings overhead. The following week is then spent organizing the placement of the props, he said.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said of the month of work that goes into just one night.
But it’s something he’s done for 15 years that draws a constant crowd of trick or treaters to his house on Willard Way.
Although Barkhurst’s yard is already decorated with a pirate scene full of skeleton pirates, pirate’s booty, a home-made canon that shoots smoke, glowing eyeballs, half-buried skeletons and zombies lining the “path of no return,” the rest all comes together the day before Halloween. Barkhurst carves out pumpkins to form the heads of some of his characters including the grave digger and scarecrow. His graveyard also comes alive, the spider webs appear and ghostly music begins.
“It’s really for every age, kids and adults,” Barkhurst said. “We don’t have people running around scaring the whits out of you.”
The love of the haunted holiday began years ago, when Barkhurst deemed Christmas as his favorite holiday for decorations. But after trying to cut on the amount of electricity costs associated with lighting up the house for weeks before Christmas, Barkhurst said he opted to go all out for Halloween instead and decorate for one night a year. And his family is his biggest fan, he said.
“My family loves this,” he said. “This is their night. They’re the ones that want me to do this every year.”
Barkhurst’s decked-out house is just one of a slew of Rocklin homes looking festive for Oct. 31. And businesses are also joining in the hair-raising fun.
Dawson Oil Co. on Pacific Street dresses the grassy area of their business with festive flair. For more than seven years, the business has set up a stage full of pumpkins and flying witches.
Steve Handa, credit and collections manager for Dawson Oil Co. said people come in asking when the decorations will be up.
“They can’t wait to see them,” he said.
The spot gets a makeover come Halloween, Christmas, springtime and the Fourth of July, full of a mix of old and new holiday decorations, Handa said.
The owners, “they just really enjoy doing it and know people get a kick out of the decorations,” he said.

For more photos: Rocklin homes turn into terror tracts

Want to donate extra sweets?
What: Candy Buy Back – Apple Periodontics and Dental Implants will buy candy from kids at $2 a pound and send them to soldiers overseas
When: 10 a.m. Nov. 1
Where: 4300 Live Oak Lane in Rocklin
Information: 789-1222 or