Jim Mains shows off his annual fright-filled display of Halloween decor
VANCOUVER — Jim and Cecilia Mains are what you might call, veteran decorators, when it comes to Halloween. Maybe it’s the 12-foot skeletons, maybe it’s the zombie pick-up truck or maybe it’s the live projection, music and real actors in costume.
Whatever it is, they’re not letting COVID-19 stop them from continuing the tradition.
This year, like every year, Franklin Street outside of downtown Vancouver will be adorned with all manner of spooky spectacles for October 31. The Mains’ home is located at 4616 NW Franklin Street, in Vancouver WA, and will have nightly effects on display as well as performances on Halloween.
“Holidays on Franklin started in 2014, I believe a group of us here in the neighborhood just on this little block of Franklin Street decorated for Christmas,” Jim said. “Everybody really got into it. We created a Facebook page, and it just kind of keeps growing. I guess our house is kind of the centerpiece because we do pretty much every holiday, but our two big ones are Halloween and Christmas.”
This year many on the iconic street, including the Mains, have implemented creative strategies to keep their candy-seeking visitors safe. Many are doing drive-by style, as well as Jim’s 20-foot “witch” candy tube, which slides the candy right to the trick-or-treater.
Also at the main’s house are whole scenes of graveyards, skeletons climbing trees, a 15-foot scarecrow, steaming cauldrons, large spiders, and live performers who will interact with folks from behind a barrier.
Typically the performers fly in from all over the nation, Jim said, but this year will be mostly local and younger, with many of the older performers unable to make it because of health risks.
For 2020, Franklin Street as a whole, will offer two main nights for Halloween this year, on Oct. 30 and 31. The first night will be drive-by only from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with Halloween itself running as normal from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Masks and physical distancing will be required.
“In a normal year, we would do the first 1000 trick-or-treaters would get a full size candy bar, and last year, we had over 5000 trick-or-treaters,” Jim said. “But that also doesn’t include the drive-bys, and the parents and you know, it’s just kind of a zoo out here with people on Halloween night.”
The Mains’ house, which is also decked out for Christmas each year, is recognized as one of the top decorated homes in the United States by the Daily Mail for its lights, special effects video, holograms and Halloween tunes that are on nightly from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. through the end of October.
The drive-by night is in an effort to protect the health of the older residents who still want to participate in Halloween this year, Mains said. The Office of Neighborhoods will provide the barricades, Vancouver Police will help keep the area safe and Waste Connection is donating 200 pounds of candy for the nights of fun.
“We’re going to have arrows on the sidewalk where each household we’re going to ask to stay on an arrow as they are in line coming up to the candy chute to receive their candy,” Jim said. “We do have four different candy shoots in the neighborhood just on this block that will be giving out candy. We’ll have you know markers pretty much all the way around the neighborhood so that hopefully people will keep their distance.”
For Christmas, Jim said he hoped to go even bigger than normal with the exception of their snow machines, which he said might cause people to congregate without distancing. The goal is 50,000 christmas lights between four houses on Franklin.
“We still really wanted to decorate to have that normalcy for the community for kids,” Jim added. “The feedback we’ve been hearing is people are very happy that we’re decorating.”
Follow all the holiday happenings here: Facebook.com/HolidaysOnFranklin
Reporter Chris Brown also contributed to this story.