Almost every neighborhood has one -- that house that transforms each October from an ordinary home into a ghoulish scene, full of monsters, severed limbs and massive spiders.
The people behind these freaky homes are called haunters, and for many it's a labor of love for all things Halloween that brings them to spend hours, days and even weeks bringing their spine-tingling yards to life. Here's a look at three haunters and their displays from around the country.
Bonnie Dobkin has been a fan of all things creepy, freaky, and paranormal for years, so much so that she actually lived with the likes of a vampire, witch and voodoo priestess as part of a SyFy Channel reality show called "Mad Mad House." She brings some of that creepy black humor to the busy street where she lives in a Chicago suburb.
"I try to set it up so that after being creepy it makes me laugh, which probably means I'm somewhat twisted," Dobkin said.
Dobkin's display centers around a ghoulish groom and his bride, who is springing forth from her casket to drag him down with her. She also has a Pumpkin King and the dead rising from their graves amid a sea of rats.
It takes her a day and half to drag out all her stuff, which she has purchased over the past 12 years from Halloween stores to garden centers.
For aspiring haunters, she suggests hitting up the stores the days after Halloween to find gruesome things for little money. Another tip: cobwebs are much more realistic and creepy when made out of stretched cheesecloth, and adding red and green lights will give your creatures an eerie, sickly glow.
Dano Needhammer's Florida display is so popular it's well-known in his neighborhood as the Spiderhouse.
Needhammer is a chef turned makeup artist who also does special effects work on movie sets. In his spare time, he makes piñatas, so it's safe to say that he is a crafty fellow. That makes the difficult work a little easier.
"It's an expensive hobby," he said. "You have to just love doing it. It's an escape from work: to go home and get out in the garage."
Plus he loves all the visitors that come to house every year. Often dressed up himself, he takes pictures of the children, and over the years gets to see them grow up, he said.
The photos (above) also show how his display expanded over the years as his yard filled up with zombies and pirates. The giant spider over his garage grew and eventually he added a big snake leftover from a Rainforest Cafe -- an element that scares both kids and adults.
Needhammer moved this year, but he plans to revamp his Spiderhouse for a whole new neighborhood.
Peter Montgomery's Halloween displays are not your typical collection of homemade ghouls, but then Montgomery isn't a typical haunter. He's worked on visual effects in Hollywood for 30 years and is a sculptor as well as a self-taught programmer and electronic designer.
Each year, he decides on a theme and then goes to work building a massive, realistic installation. He's had a pirate ship rising from his front yard, a train crashing through his house and a massive steampunk drill emerging from the ground.
All these elements are driven by a skeleton who talks with his raven buddy.
Montgomery started in 2005 with a small graveyard and continued to expand until he decided on the pirate ship.
"In 2007 I kind of went nuts and finally created a display of the scope and scale I had envisioned since I was a kid," Montgomery said. "It took more work than I ever imagined, plus the help of a lot of friends to pull it off, but the pirate ship was a huge success."
It takes several weeks to build the displays, which Montgomery begins long before Halloween rolls around. His next plan is to start construction of a "Doctor Who" display, but a heat wave prevented him from starting it this year, so his neighbors will have to watch out for that next year.