Halloween houses: Dartmouth residents get in the spooky spirit

Oct 30, 2020

With Halloween parties and many events off the cards this year, many Dartmouth residents are turning to a few fabulously decorated houses to get their spooky fix.

DJ Jordan Paiva’s place on Cotton Candy Lane, with its colorful inflatables and spectacular music nights, has been a big hit this month, as have other houses scattered around town.

Grace Botelho started decorating her house at the end of Azalea Drive seven years ago.

“I started because I love Halloween,” she said. “And because the neighborhood kids started getting excited about it, because it was pretty much the only one on the street that did a little bit.”

As more and more people started to come, she said, “I got into the spirit!”

She said the reaction has been “so crazy” this year that neighbors have put up barriers to keep cars from parking in front of their houses. 

Botelho said she spends a whole month setting up the display, which comes complete with lighting and sounds effects as well as animatronic characters that she gets from various online marketplaces and shops. 

Each year, she creates different scenes with matching themes and a variety of colors, and takes care to animate just a few of the characters so the noises don’t clash too much.

“I keep collecting, collecting, collecting,” she laughed. “I always say I’m all set, but as soon as I see something that I like, I have to get it.”

“I have a few favorites,” she added. “I love everything that I have, and I still don’t have everything I love.”

And since each piece is bought whenever she finds it, she doesn’t keep track of costs. Botelho said that she doesn’t take donations.

“I do it for love,” she said. “People love it, and the kids enjoy it, and everything. It’s a lot of fun.”

Michelle Almeida decorates her house at Pinehurst St. and Greystone Ave. — now known as “The Boneyard” — every year.

“This year I have noticed an uptick of onlookers for sure,” she noted. 

Almeida said that she decorates because Halloween is her favorite holiday, and she enjoys adding new scenes every year despite the cost of the hobby. 

“Ever since I can remember it was a holiday my whole family enjoyed and participated in,” she stated, adding that she hopes to give her two small children the same fond memories that she has from childhood.

“I love how it makes me feel to reflect on years past, seeing my children’s reactions as well as those of passersby,” she said. “It is a wonderful way to spread joy without even knowing it at times to strangers.”

“As long as I am physically able, I will continue to decorate for Halloween,” Almeida added.

Have a favorite Halloween house you’d like to share? Email editor@dartmouthweek.net and we’ll add it to the list!