Holiday House at Third in Ridgefield provides plenty of punch for a townhome
He dreamed of a career working as an Imagineer for Disney or on a top crew in Hollywood, a behind-the-scenes guy who creates scenery.
Instead, James Kugler is thriving, driving, in a different career with UPS.
He never stopped dreaming, though.
Now, his dream has become a passionate hobby, one that he shares with his wife Brittany and their three children.
Actually, he shares it with his whole neighborhood, too.
The Kugler family is one of those families that goes all-in for decorations, theming. Halloween just keeps getting bigger and bigger at the Kugler home, with new items not only every year, but sometimes, daily throughout October.
Speaking of big, new things. What and who is that creature standing so tall at the Holiday House at Third? Well, it is not a Jack-o-Lantern. It’s Lewis!
Yes, the Kuglers found a Lewis, one of the hottest Halloween props to hit the market in years. A video of Lewis at a Target store went viral on social media when this 8-foot, pumpkin-face creature simply tells all who will listen that he is not a Jack-o-Lantern. How could he be? His name is, well, Lewis.
The Kuglers brought Lewis to their Ridgefield townhome on Wednesday.
“He’s pretty popular. When we were rolling it out on the flatbed cart, everybody was pointing at him and saying, ‘Lewis!’ A lot of people know who he is,” Kugler said.
While Lewis is Lewis, many of the items in this huge display are modified or built by James himself. This passion of his started at a young age.
“When I was younger, I trick-or-treated like most kids,” Kugler said. “The neighborhood I was in did a lot of stuff like this. For whatever reason, I caught an interest. I stopped trick-or-treating at a really young age. My dad helped me and we started building stuff at our house. I did that all the way through high school.”
HIs senior year, he won a neighborhood award with his old western town theme, with a saloon, a plank boardwalk, and a jail.
“I wanted to work for Disney or in the movie industry. I wanted to do set design or prop production,” Kugler said. “That never panned out. It’s just a hobby now. It’s a lot of fun.”
And it is a family project.
Brittany is on board for all of it, too. Noah, their 6-year-old, helps his parents, too. Oliver is 2, and Wyatt is 2 months old. The hope is they, too, will embrace creativity.
James and Brittany said they spend a “substantial” amount of money on their projects.
“I truly believe life is so short we should enjoy it, especially with our young kids,” Brittany said. “I want them to grow up with these memories with pictures and videos. I think it’s worth it.”
Brittany learned of James’ fascination with set design early in their relationship.
“He showed me pictures. I loved it,” she said.
She knew she wanted to be part of it, too.
“I’m probably as bad of an influence as he is,” Brittany said. “Every time we go to a store, I’m like, ‘Oooh, we need this pumpkin. We need this one.’”
This is the fourth year the family has created a display, and this is the biggest project to date. Interestingly, the scene is set up on and around their townhome. This is proof that one does not need a huge home or a large lot or a big yard to create Halloween magic.
“It started off small. It didn’t look anything like this in the first year. Just slowly built over time,” James said.
He started working on this year’s theme in early August. The props started going up in September. He’s got a Jack from The Nightmare before Christmas, the caretaker from Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, a scarecrow, and, of course, Lewis. Then, high above the balcony, there is a Pumpkin Master, including fog that forms out of his mouth. James made the Pumpkin Master.
His neighbors seem to appreciate the effort.
“Everyone who has come out to say something has positive stuff to say,” James said. “I like to think everybody enjoys it.”
He also has repeat visitors from throughout the neighborhood.
“A lot of the families who walk through here tell us that they walk through here every night just to see it,” James said. “I think it’s the hard-core peop[le who are into Halloween who walk by every day.”
The Holiday House on Third also has its own Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/theholidayhouseonthird/
It is located at 3307 North 3rd Street, Ridgefield, 98642. The lights are on from 6 p.m. until midnight, and on weekends, more lights and more sounds are included in the scene. Of course, everything will be on for Halloween, on Oct. 31.
The Holiday House on Third is also listed on The Northwest Haunters map, which can be located here:https://nwhaunters.rip/haunt-map/
The map shows dozens of spirited homes in Clark County, and beyond.
Feel free to tell us your favorite Halloween Home spots in the comments.
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