Boo! She falls, rises and makes sure the Halloween show goes on
Balanced on a ladder, Karen Marsh was up in tree branches trying to hang a ghoul mask. One of the braces to secure the ladder was unfastened. Marsh swayed and took a spill.
She got back up but her right foot hurt. Pah, it was only noon! So much to do!
Outdoor Halloween decorations don't just appear by black magic.
Marsh swallowed some Advil and kept hobbling, positioning more ghosts, skeletons and grim reapers.
Eight hours later and long after darkness, she called it a day.
By now her painful foot was throbbing. She visited the hospital's emergency room.
Doctor's prognosis: Broken bone.
Later in the week, once the swelling subsided, Marsh saw a specialist. She was outfitted with a heavy, tall boot to hold her foot in place with splints.
Something to be thankful for, the boot comes off right before Thanksgiving.
"Meanwhile, it won't slow me down," Marsh vowed. "I still have work to finish. I asked the specialist if I could climb a ladder to get my things out on the roof. He couldn't believe I was asking, but said OK, if I was very careful."
Careful or not, during the next week Marsh broke no more bones.
The result: Her sparkling Halloween décor is ready to be seen and experienced.
Christmas to follow
For those who may not recall, Marsh is the lady who designs and installs elaborate props for a vast, lighted Christmas display each December on the farm property of her parents, Roman and Dolores Pechacek, 11436 County Road FF, town of Clifton.
Some decorations spill over to the next-door house which is hers.
What some may not realize is that the 60-year-old Marsh sets up a Halloween display. It rivals the size, scope and grandeur of the Christmas one.
The Halloween and Christmas setups are populated with large, inflatable figures. At night everything is illuminated by scores of crisscrossing lights.
Spectators, especially families and kids, are encouraged to drive through her parents' decorated farm.
Look for a welcoming sign posted in front just off the highway. Follow the driveway as it loops round the back and emerges on the other end.
Take your time, enjoy the view and make a circuit. If you feel so moved, Marsh asks that you bring foodstuffs or cash to benefit the River Falls Food Pantry.
A food pantry station with kiddy treats and goodies like pirate patches, small bouncy balls, balloons, candy, pencils and more can be found by a trellis/table as the driveway circles the back yard.
Marsh, a substitute Hudson elementary school teacher, says she shuts off the lighted display around 10:30 p.m. each night It will remain open through Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Marsh says Halloween viewers should get a kick out of her "Pirates Cove" that's housed in the back yard chicken coop. By December, for the Christmas display, this building will house "Santa's Workshop."
Blizzards have disrupted Marsh's Christmas displays in 2010 and 2009.
For her Halloween display, she said wind gusts and torrential rain are a threat.
"I have to let the air out of the inflatables when it's blustery or they take a beating and rip," she said. "Also, sometimes the cords that are strung out get moist and trip the electrical system, especially the older section."
Marsh invites everyone to drive over, circle her parents' property, look at the Halloween exhibit, then drive west next door to see how her house is decorated.
On the rooftop of her house lurks a monster-sized inflatable spider dangling from the edge.
"The whole thing is really spectacular," Marsh said. "People should come for a look. It's not just for kids. Even the oldsters will enjoy it."