The Dart: Natchez family loves to share Halloween spirit

Published 1:08 am Monday, October 31, 2016


NATCHEZ — Driving on Madison Street, missing the house with giant spiders, tombstones and a skeletal dog guarding the porch is difficult to miss.

When The Dart landed on Madison Street, Ashley Junkin was packing up some of her Halloween decorations to take to the Dupré family’s home. Junkin said her friends Jason and Dana Dupré were getting ready for a Halloween party.

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“The Duprés are from New Orleans and there is always a haunted house to see in New Orleans,” Junkin said. “They have put together a cool haunted house on Main Street.”

Junkin said she was taking her life-sized Wicked Witch of the West — complete with a captured Toto in a basket — a punch bowl with legs and several decorative items from her mantle. She also planned to take some of her items from the porch, including the skeletal dog and some of the tombstones.

“They have enough spiders,” Junkin said.

Her collection began approximately five years ago. Junkin said she buys a little bit every year, some of it from out-of-town Halloween stores, but much of it comes from discount stores.

“My wicked witch came from Dirt Cheap,” Junkin said. “She was originally $300, but I paid $30 and she says different things.”

Junkin said she got into decorating for Halloween because she and her friends have costume parties.

“I don’t really put a lot into my costumes, so I’m the decorator,” she said, laughing. “I do love the costumes. Lou Ellen Stout, like you see in (Natchez the Magazine), always has the best costumes. I love her Wonder Woman.”

On Oct. 1, Junkin starts putting her decorations up slowly, and they go down the day after Halloween.

“Then it is time for Christmas,” she said, laughing. “I don’t decorate as much for Christmas, but it’s my son’s favorite holiday.”

When away, the decorations are in 20 boxes and take up the whole garage. The Junkin family, including her son, Paxton, 13, simply tolerate the Halloween decorations for her.

“I don’t like having a bunch of creepy things looking at me,” Paxton said.

Paxton said the creepiest figure is the animatronic ghoulish butler.

“The butler,” he said. “I hate the butler.

“But if it makes her happy, it’s OK.”

Junkin said though she doesn’t really like scary movies, she loves Halloween.

“I just love the colors,” she said. “I really like pulling the stuff out of the boxes and seeing what I have.”

“Halloween is just a lot of fun.”