Ghoulish guests welcome

Gebhardt invites everyone to annual Halloween party

By Marissa Weiher

Starting in 1977, Ernie Gebhardt and his wife, Beverly, celebrated Halloween every year, whether it was by building a bonfire in their yard or carving pumpkins. 

Beverly died from cancer in April, but Ernie is determined to keep the tradition alive. 

A sign in Gebhardt's front yard at 2310 18th Ave. reads, "Halloween Party, October 31, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Everyone Welcome, Costumes Optional"

Gebhardt, 72, has been preparing for the party for weeks and hopes the weather will cooperate. Depending on the weather, Gebhardt plans to drive the kids on a small trailer on a path throughout his yard where he has a variety of Halloween scenes set up, including a graveyard.

"I let my neighbors know what I'm doing so they're not surprised by all the commotion," Gebhardt said.

In addition to the opportunity to Gebhardt's elaborately decorated yard, there is a table set up for pumpkin carving. Cold drinks will be available, and there will be a fire for roasting weenies and marshmallows.

Beverly was an avid reader and loved to pass out books along with candy on Halloween.

"She always encouraged our kids to expand their knowledge through books." Gebhardt said. "She would look specifically for Halloween books to give out on Halloween."

Gebhardt still has several tubs filled with books that he will be giving out on Halloween to continue her tradition.

Each year, Gebhardt's collection of Halloween decorations grows. He has a two-story barn in his backyard decorated for Halloween year-round. There will also be scary movies playing in the barn during the party.

Halloween is Gebhardt's favorite holiday. His favorite part is seeing the kids have fun, and he also like to scare the adults.

"It's a chance where everyone can get involved and have fun." Gebhardt said.

Gebhardt was dressed up as a pumpkin Sept. 29 at the United Methodist Church's Trunk or Treat. Halloween, however, he plans to dress as Freddy Krueger, the serial killer from "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

"I didn't think I should dress like Freddy Krueger at church," he said. 

Gebhardt expects about 40 t0 50 kids, some of whom will be family, to attend the party. 

"I have a lot of fun with it," he said. 

Gebhardt is also using the Halloween party as an opportunity to have a garage sale to sell his wife's clothes. 

Published in The Monroe Times