It’s The Great Pumpkin Haunt, Ozarks!

It’s The Great Pumpkin Haunt, Ozarks!

Okay, okay. We know. We’ve touched on the whole Halloween theme in this space already. Deal is, there’s a ton of enthusiasm for the annual observance here in the Ozarks and we’re here for all of it. That said, we’d be remiss if we didn’t do our due diligence to hit as many highlights as possible, and we’ve run across a dandy we simply must share.

Next time you’re in search of something to see, head toward Nixa and ask your GPS to steer you to 401 South Main. This corner of Main and South is unlike anything you’ve seen before, and the backstory is as eye-opening as the… well… you’ll know what we mean when you see it.

It’s called the Nixa Pumpkin Haunt, and it all started when Eric Delzell rented the house about seven years ago. The place has a pretty expansive front porch, and when Halloween rolled around he figured it needed a pumpkin. Or two.

Having always had a flair for decorating, Eric placed a few on the porch and – in contemplating the vast size of the historic old home – added a few more. Year after year the pumpkin population grew, and skeletons (111 to be exact) joined the mix. A few ghosts, some spider webs, a witch or two, even a casket… well why ever not? And all this regalia just begged for proper lighting, so Eric took advantage of colors and shadows to transform the porch, yard, side yard, detached garage and even the roof into an Instagram-worthy must-see.

Now in its 7th season, Eric Delzell’s home sports 1,056 pumpkins and all manner of traffic-halting spooky stuff. And speaking of, Eric says the neighbors really don’t mind at all. As a matter of fact, some have contributed decorations to the cause and others have asked if Eric will decorate their house too.

For the record, he says he’d decorate the whole darn street if he could take a month off work and get some help with purchasing and storing the goods.

As side note, Eric is the Front of House manager at Jimm’s Steak House in Springfield. He says Jimm is fully supportive of the annual effort, even helping spot and suggest décor additions from time to time.

This caliber of display is months in the making. Eric says he starts scouting for Halloween décor as early as August. Apparently, that’s about the time all the other enthusiasts gear up to find the coolest stuff, and Eric says it’s an “all-out battle for decorations at that point.”

Beginning around September 1st, Eric spends pretty much all his free time sorting through storage, unboxing the goods and figuring out the placement. Little by little the green grass is covered in orange, friends are scaling the rooftop to help position décor at Eric’s direction (he hates heights) and when the calendar flips to October 1st, it’s showtime.

Eric has the lights on a timer, and when dusk sets in the pumpkins start to glow. Night after night, traffic slows to a crawl, groups stroll past and nearly everyone stops for a selfie or two. The actual night of Halloween features some extra surprises, including fun touches like music, extra décor and candy for around a thousand trick or treaters which donations help fund.

As for the man of the manor? He’s not outside front and center. He says he prefers to hide on the porch and listen to the comments. Eric says children love the spectacle but seeing the adults react like wide-eyed kids again is the big payoff for him.

The Nixa Pumpkin Haunt is up and running now and will be through Halloween night. And if you think Eric’s house is Hollywood worthy, you’re not alone. The home will make its big screen debut in the new, local indie flick Happy Halloween which is set to debut at the Alamo Draft House on October 20th.

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