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Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Bewitches Crowds With Annual Halloween Blowout

Some started preparing their turn-of-the-century homes along stately Gladstone Boulevard on Sunday; others planned to start as early as 6 a.m. on Halloween morning.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill plastic skeletons or blow-up black cats.

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
The Peterson's always have the graveyard but this year the theme will be zombies.

Homeowners along the boulevard near the Kansas City Museum have worked for years with the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association to create Halloween blowouts featuring music, sound effects and displays with multiple moving pieces.

The city closes off Gladstone Boulevard, and residents boast of buses bringing thousands of trick-or-treaters.

Joey and Cheryl Peterson get help from volunteer students, not to mention neighbors and their own children, 13-year-old Aleena and 15-year-old Julien. 

Every year it's a different theme, says Joey Peterson. This year: zombies.

"We always have the tombstones," Peterson says, "But we add a few pieces every year. This year we'll have a guy who reaches up and picks up his head off his body."

Credit Laura Ziegler
Decorations at the home of Jeff Linville and Jeff Zumsteg will include a ghost of Aileen Moores Stevens, the daughter of the home's builder, Kansas City real estate magnate Edward Stevens.

Jeff Linville, an accountant, and his partner, Jeff Zumsted, who works for AT&T, start preparing their decorations in the summer. This year, their 1902 Colonial Revival mansion becomes Kansas City’s historic Elmwood Cemetery -- complete with homemade faux wrought iron fencing across the front of the house and the gates of Elmwood Cemetery arched over the top.

In the front yard will be a replica of the mausoleum where Jacob Loose is buried and an imitation headstone from the grave of Edward Stevens. Mr. Stevens was a prominent Kansas City developer who built the home in which the men live.

"The front of the house will be draped in white sheets," Zumsted says. "And we're gonna show Nosferatu,  a classic black and white horror movie from the balcony throughout the evening."

An authentic coffin will be on the porch; another on on the back of a carriage led by a headless driver.

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3

The city blocks off Gladstone Boulevard mid-afternoon, and trick or treating wraps up by 9 p.m.

Laura Ziegler is KCUR's community engagement reporter. Follow her on Twitter, @laurazig.

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
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