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Dec. 5, 2021

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Huge Halloween house haunts: Clark County goes ‘really big’

By , Columbian Features Editor
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An animatronic plant monster waves its arms at Jim and Cecilia Mains' house on Franklin Street in Vancouver.
An animatronic plant monster waves its arms at Jim and Cecilia Mains' house on Franklin Street in Vancouver. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Jim Mains, already known for his home’s over-the-top Halloween decorations, wasn’t kidding when he said, “This year we wanted to go really big.”

His display at 4616 N.W. Franklin St., Vancouver, has overtaken three neighboring properties. It includes 12-foot skeletons, 12-foot inferno pumpkin monsters, a 7-foot dragon, brewing cauldrons, skeletons climbing a 25-foot flagpole, a 15-foot scarecrow, a creepy zombie pickup truck, and a huge spider spinning webs over the driveway.

“Families and children have struggled with two difficult years due to COVID-19 and all the frustration a pandemic can bring to a home,” Mains said in an email. “So, we spent the summer investing in more animatronics and much larger props to really make an impact as you drive by our home. We want kids of all ages to have lasting memories when they visit our display.”

Lights, animatronics, special-effects video, holograms and Halloween tunes will run nightly from 7 to 9 through Friday.

On Thursday — make that Thriller Thursday — Michael Jackson tunes will play all evening.

Then, on Saturday, Mains invites families to drive by from 6 to 9 p.m. to look at the decorations and watch costumed actors from the safety and comfort of their cars.

Tips for a Safe Halloween

Even more scary than ghouls and goblins is the prospect of contracting COVID-19, which is why Clark County Public Health encourages residents to take precautions during Halloween activities.

“We want people to be able to enjoy Halloween. But with virus activity still high, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer. “You can still have fun while celebrating safely.”

Whether you’re visiting a pumpkin patch, attending a party or trick-or-treating, Clark County Public Health recommends these steps:

Wear a face covering.

Keep your distance. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from people in different households.

Use hand sanitizer after touching shared surfaces, such as handrails and wheelbarrows. Wash hands with soap and water upon returning home.

Gather outdoors if you can, which is often safer than gathering indoors.

If gathering indoors, open doors and windows to increase the amount of fresh air in the room.

ν Gather with other people who are vaccinated. Gatherings are safer if everyone who is able is vaccinated.

eep gatherings small.

If you’re feeling sick, stay home.

For those who are handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, Clark County Public Health recommends these tips:

Create grab bags of treats, rather than having kids dig through a communal bowl of treats.

Set treats on a table outside and greet visitors from a lawn chair at least 6 feet away. Or try a creative approach, like sliding candy down a long tube.

Use little pumpkins or other markers on the ground to help visitors stay at least 6 feet apart.

— Erin Middlewood

The extravaganza culminates on Halloween, when kids can trick-or-treat at the house from 5 to 9 p.m.

Jim Mains and his wife, Cecilia, aren’t the only Clark County residents who go all out with their home Halloween decorations. Here are some other houses to check out during this spooky season:

  • 4714 N.E. 43rd St., Vancouver: “This year, to go with our 12-foot skeleton, we have added a 12-foot inferno pumpkin head with flaming jack-o’-lanterns,” Ben Roussel said.
  • 511 N.E. 124th Ave., Vancouver: “My house and yard are decorated with a cemetery with lighted skulls and hands, a spooky train, a pirate seance on the porch, fun inflatables (Yoda, Mandalorian, Scooby the pirate, pumpkins, ghosts, witches, etc.) a large spider in front of the garage door hovering over a pumpkin patch, a skeleton child riding a bike and a large spider net with a spider watching for his next meal. I’ve made it fun for all to enjoy. The display goes on around 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.,” Cathy McGuire emailed The Columbian.
  • 16412 N.E. 13th St., Vancouver: Darby Smith wants people to check out the scarecrows and skeletons eerily illuminated in his yard.
  • 4155 N.W. Sierra Drive, Camas: “Our theme is ‘Da Bones Dog Park.’ We even have a COVID-safe candy dispensing tube. We hope everyone finds it fun,” Tracy and Paul Maguire said.
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