Although the sixth annual Superior Spectacular may look different this year, treats are planned for all ages.

The fun kicks off with a “Haunt Your House” decorating contest Thursday, Oct. 22 through Saturday, Oct. 24. Everyone is invited to drive by the 21 contenders from 6-9 p.m. each night and vote for their favorite with social media selfies.

“We’ve always thought about doing this as part of the Spooktacular, but we always had so much going on that it was difficult to add on one more event,” said Carolyn Nelson-Kavajecz, chairwoman of the Spooktacular board. “This year we were really trying to figure out what we could do that would have no chance of getting canceled due to COVID.”

The Salvation Army is also encouraging people to snap spooky selfies of themselves with 31 different Halloween-themed items, from a spider and pumpkin to a zombie and graveyard. People have until Saturday to post their selfies on the 2020 Sal’s Spooky Selfies Facebook page. Those who post all 31 will earn a bag of Halloween candy.

The city’s North End will be buzzing with activity Saturday during the North End Nightmare 2-mile run, which will feature staggered start times beginning at 5 p.m. The Spider Kids Dash will also be held, and the Goin’ Postal Fall Music Festival will take place from 1-8 p.m. in the parking lot of Thirsty Pagan.

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Winners of the home decorating contest will be announced Monday, and the festivities will wrap up with a free drive-in movie Oct. 30 in the parking lot of World of Wheels. This year’s movie, “Hocus Pocus,” will be screened at 7 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. to allow more people to enjoy the popular event. World of Wheels will offer carside concessions and roller skating during the movies.

Members of the Spooktacular board knew plans would be different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they were determined to celebrate.

“With all the shutdowns and cancelations, we thought we really want to do something that’s going to make a difference, even if it’s on a smaller scale than what we would normally do, because we think it’s so important to boost that morale and keep everybody’s spirits up,” Nelson-Kavajecz said. “We really wanted to give people something to be excited about.”

That includes the socially-distant decorating contest, which attracted 21 entries. Some are creepy; others whimsical. For Kelly Schoen, the competition added joy to the season.

“Halloween is my favorite holiday, so this is right up my alley,” the Superior woman said.

Kelly Schoen and her son Braxton, 9, stand by some of the decorations in their yard on Ogden Avenue in Superior Tuesday, Oct. 20. “The ghosts are my favorite,” Schoen said about the ghosts holding hands around the tree in her yard. “I’m going to turn them into angels for Christmas.” (Jed Carlson /
Kelly Schoen and her son Braxton, 9, stand by some of the decorations in their yard on Ogden Avenue in Superior Tuesday, Oct. 20. “The ghosts are my favorite,” Schoen said about the ghosts holding hands around the tree in her yard. “I’m going to turn them into angels for Christmas.” (Jed Carlson /

Typically, she would be making themed costumes for the family this time of year.

“We’re a high-needs medical family and so we’re not going out trick-or-treating, so I put my energy into decorating the outside this year,” Schoen said.

Her spiderweb-decorated yard has taken a bit of a beating from the wind, and she posed for a picture Tuesday as snowflakes fell. The weather hasn’t dampened Schoen’s enthusiasm for the event. She’s looking forward to driving past other entries with her children.

“This year is so crummy, we need something to be happy about,” Schoen said. “I think it just adds joy, and I’m hoping that the city continues to do this as a yearly thing.”

Jeff Eliason has been lighting up his home in Billings Park for both Halloween and Christmas since he moved there in 1996. His kid-friendly decorations fill the yard with light.

"It would have been like this whether there was a contest or not," Eliason said. "I don't really decorate for the contest. I decorate because I like doing it."

With 48 years of experience decorating his home for the holidays, it took Eliason just a few days to set up the Halloween display. The hard part, he said, is maintaining it. This year, that's included reviving decorations after rabbits nibble through cords, and resetting pieces tipped or displaced by deer and the wind. He was getting the snow shovel ready Thursday as a new wave of the white stuff was expected.

"It's fun to do and it lights up the neighborhood," Eliason said. "And people seem to enjoy it."

He'll go through the whole process again soon, taking down Halloween decor and replacing it with Christmas ornaments. It's worth it, he said.

"I like when I go out to my car at night, and there's a mom and dad standing out there with their little kids and their little kids are just excited at what they're seeing," Eliason said.

Nelson-Kavajecz expressed her thanks to the city and local businesses that chipped in to make the Spooktacular happen. She's gotten a lot of positive feedback about the events from the community.

"They’re really excited about it and just thankful to have something to do and something to look forward to, so mission accomplished," Nelson-Kavajecz said.

A full listing of events can be found on the Spooktacular Facebook page.

Haunted houses

  • 2125 E. 7th St.
  • 906 E. 2nd St.
  • 704 E. 4th St.
  • 823 7th Ave. East
  • 8 Laurel Ave.
  • 641 N. 22nd St.
  • 1909 Lamborn Ave.
  • 1015 N. 17th St.
  • 1111 Lincoln St.
  • 1113 Faxon St.
  • 2206 Hammond Ave.
  • 2119 Ogden Ave.
  • 1807 Ogden Ave.
  • 1208 Hughitt Ave.
  • 1503 Iowa Ave.
  • 2204 Ohio Ave.
  • 2319 Susquahanna Ave.
  • 2612 Wellington St.
  • 1515 N. 54th St.
  • 6223 Ogden Ave.
  • 7608 John Ave.

Added treats

Fairlawn Mansion and Museum is joining the holiday fun. The mansion will offer a trick-or-treat event from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25 for all ages. The treat packets can be picked up at the gift shop.

Superstition tours will be offered at Fairlawn Mansion and Museum beginning at 6 p.m. Oct. 30. Tour groups are limited to eight people and there is an admission cost. Reservations are encouraged at or by calling 715-394-5712.

People can enjoy creepy tales told with local voices when Wise Fool Theater teams up with KUWS and Wisconsin Public Radio. Tune in to 91.3 FM at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 for a fright-filled evening of radio plays.

The Massacre on Hammond, a family-run haunted house, will take place from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 29, 30 and 31 at 1701 Hammond Ave. New this year will be a "no scare" event for younger visitors from 4-6 p.m. Oct. 31. All attendees are required to wear masks, and hand sanitizer will be available at the start and end of the creepy maze. Admission is free; donations accepted.