Their daughter, Jesika Alexander, calls her father “a perfectionist” in the annual endeavor, describing the countless hours he spends rearranging the setup outside.
“It just gets bigger every year,” she said.
When asked how many elements they have in all, Gayla Zimmerman guessed it was more than 1,000.
“Too much to know,” she said.
Even more awaits in storage, but space and weather conditions prevent them from being presented simultaneously. Luckily the city’s trick-or-treating time for today was postponed until tomorrow, when milder weather conditions will allow more decorations to be on display, Brian Zimmerman said.
Brian Zimmerman said the hobby stems from an affinity for old horror films instilled in him by his mother. This admiration can be seen in the vintage Dracula, Frankenstein monster and Wolfman models, figurines, posters and movie stills throughout his home. It was a better time for movies, he said, when dialogue was important and the “actors acted,” as opposed to the “slice and dice” of modern horror films that seem to focus more on shock factor.
Providing a unique and fun trick-or-treating destination for kids is also among the couples’ motives.
“We really do it for people in the community,” Gayla Zimmerman said. “We like to see the kids have a good time during Halloween.”
And kids do. Gayla Zimmerman recalled one year in which they handed out more than 1,000 trick-or-treat bags. While the slew of scary sights on the front porch gives some kids the willies, the Zimmermans say it’s never their intention to frighten anyone.
Alexander said she always enjoyed growing up around her parents’ ongoing Halloween fascination, although she does recall a few frightening late-night instances when she would awaken to the sound of a shrieking animatronic ghoul whose motion sensor had been triggered by one of the family pets.