How Brave Are You?

While many people enjoy handing out candy on Halloween, one local family takes it up a notch. In order to get a sweet treat, you first have to make it up the sidewalk.

Gravestones, skeletons and clowns are just part of a typical Halloween display right? Think again…on Halloween night the display comes to life for the Hiltz family Haunted yard.

“Anybody can hand out candy, we just make it a little more fun,” said Stef Hiltz. “A little more challenging to get to the front door. It takes some of the boredom out. I’d rather be out there and see the kids.”

Over the last 11 years the display has grown from a couple of headstones to covering every available space and you never know where something might pop out.

“Halloween night we have several kids in costume roaming around,” said Hiltz. “Some you’ll see that may be real, some may not be real. I have a costume and a really loud chainsaw that gets people going.”

“I think it’s cool, but sometimes I get scared sometimes I don’t,” said 9-year-old Ryan Rokosz, who is part of the theatrics.

“I’m the clown,” said 14-year-old Ben Hiltz. “Everyone looks out for me. A lot of little kids are scared of clowns.”

A lot of hard work goes into the display every year. Hiltz is a carpenter and even made three-fourths of the decorations himself.

“I’d rather make something then buy it,” said Stef. “Anyone can buy it. It’s what you can create from nothing.”

“It’s pretty cool that he has the time and effort he puts into it, I think it’s really cool that he does it,” said Ben.

But seeing the kids’ reactions on Halloween makes all the hard work worth it.

“A lot of them know it’s not real,” said Stef. “All they want is the candy, so they’ll run up the sidewalk, Last year I had a couple of people that peed their pants for real, so you name a reaction you get it.”

“It’s funny. Sometimes people scream, sometimes people won’t walk up the doorway,” said Rokosz.

Even though scaring people is a major perk, giving the kids candy is the main purpose.

“For the little ones that won’t come up the sidewalk, the candy will come to them,” said Stef. “My mom and my sister will come over. I have a whistle that I’ll blow and everybody stops. Everybody gets candy, it’s just a matter of how far you’re willing to come up the sidewalk.

Hitlz says he’s constantly trying to figure out things to add to his yard and just came up with an idea he might try and squeeze into this year’s display: a jack in the box with a live clown.

To see how brave you are head to their house in the Winding Creek neighborhood off 75th Street.


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