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Near Halloween, a Round Rock home transforms into haunted wonderland

Dale Roe

Are you a fan of things that go bump in the night?

Katherine Duff is. Each October, she transforms her home at 23 Meandering Way in Round Rock’s Oak Bluff subdivision into a Halloween wonderland inspired by Tim Burton’s “A Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“She has been decorating, collecting and having custom pieces made for over 10 years, but only in the last four or five has it become so elaborate — filling the yard and every room in the house,” says family friend Amber Cunningham, who ought to know. An artist, Cunningham created many of the elaborate pieces on display inside and out.

Each room in the house is themed. The family room has a green, glowing man-eating plant emerging from creeping vines and a mantle-top tribute to Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Daughter Tori’s room is flooded with green and black lights giving life to wall art and custom sculptures of Ursula the Sea Witch, the villain from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

The dining room is themed after Tim Burton’s “The Corpse Bride” and includes an amazing chandelier and a creepy wedding cake. The great room is filled with figures and artwork depicting Jack Skellington, Sally and other characters from “A Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“A lot of the stuff in here is unique,” Duff’s husband, Scott, says. “It’s not stuff you’ll find anywhere else.” He tolerates the takeover with good humor. “There was a point where I was helping her out and I made the mistake one day — I said ‘As long as I don’t have to help you, you can do whatever you want,’ and this is what happened,” he says with a laugh.

The yard is literally overflowing; Duff ran out of space on her corner lot and the display has crept across the street. Dozens of inflatable and wooden figures, including “Nightmare’s” Skellington and Oogie Boogie join characters from “The Haunted Mansion” along with assorted tombstones and monsters. But there’s nothing too scary.

Cunningham says she and Duff like Burton’s holiday classic because “it’s odd and creepy and quirky, but at the same time lovable … spooky without being gory or overly frightening like many Halloween themes can be.”

Orange, purple and green lights are aimed and strung everywhere, and the flashing display is timed to the rhythm of the Halloween songs that play outside and through car radios tuned to 89.1 FM. Cunningham says the best time to drive by is at dusk, when “You can see some of the props in the daylight, but also are able to catch the light show.” She notes that the lights might not be on during rain or other inclement weather.

The display unplugs each day around 10:30 p.m. and usually continues for a week after Halloween.

Duff hasn’t settled on a date for an open house, but encourages “Nightmare” fanatics to like the house’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheHalloweenHouse and watch for an announcement.