The Duncan Banner
For most, Oct. 31 is an opportunity to dress up as someone or something they are not. However, there are a few who take Halloween to a whole new level.
Within Duncan, the Addams family — whoops — the Ashford family have no hesitation creating a lavish and frightening holiday. For the seven-member household, parented by Darrel and Tana, Halloween is about as big a production as Christmas, maybe bigger.
“Halloween is something we can all enjoy together,” said Darrel.
Darrel and Tana both grew up in households where Halloween was a special time, they said. Scaring family members was almost a way of life throughout the year and the October month meant pulling out all the stops.
“I had the cool mom who would put on a costume with us kids and trick or treat with us,” Tana said.
“It was a family tradition,” Darrel explained. “I never grew out of it.”
Their first Halloween together came after the two had been dating only a couple of months in 2010. They attended Main Street Duncan’s Boo Review dressed as pirates.
“We really bonded (over a shared love of Halloween),” said Darrel.
The Ashfords even visited a haunted house on their honeymoon. After a June 11, 2011 wedding, they went to Branson, Mo., where there is a large fright house year-round.
When the couple met, both had been married before and had children. Jewell, Caitlyn and Little Darrel (or Big n’) Ashford and Kaylee and Kylen Cooper are now a part of the Halloween madness created by their parents.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Caitlyn.
On the night of Halloween, the entire family dresses up and the family truck is decked out in strobe lights, skeletons and more. The kids pile into the back of the pick-up and its off trick or treating they go.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Kaylee. “Not everyone gets to drive around in a truck with skeletons and strobe lights.”
Throughout the month of October, the Ashfords participate in other ways to enjoy Halloween. Heavily involved with Duncan Little Theatre, this will be Darrel and Tana’s second year to be characters in the Simmons Center’s Haunted House.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun,” said Darrel. “It’s a nice opportunity to get to be a part of it.”
The front yard of their own home is also somewhat of a haunt. This year, it features the fence of a graveyard, which includes skeletons and tombstones Darrel said he made from concrete. There is also a giant spider and its large webs.
To greet anyone walking up to the door, there is a totem pole of sorts the family constructed. For each member of the family, there is a jack-o-lantern stacked one upon another.
Not only are many decorations home constructed, but costumes are created by the Ashfords as well. Tana said it has almost got out of hand.
“We almost have more costumes than I do (everyday) outfits,” she said.
Almost everyone has a favorite Halloween costume. The Ashfords are no exception.
For Tana, it was a zombie bride outfit where she even wore white contacts to complete the creepy attire.
“I got to borrow my mom’s Chewbaca outfit in 1989,” Darrel said. “It was cool that I got to wear it. It wasn’t scary but it was different.”
Though Halloween is only one day a year, the family said they have scare wars any time they can.
It’s nothing vindictive, only a bit of fun. Still, around Duncan, you may want to watch out for — The Ashford Family. Snap. Snap.