How to celebrate Halloween without busting your budget

- “They say coming back after dark is the thing anyway. I don't know if we'll have the leeway, we'll see.

“Strange things come out on Halloween... like me!  Ah ha ha ha ha...”

Truer words were never spoken.  Let's get weird.  It's Halloween.

“Welcome!  Don't be afraid... ah ha ha...”

Halloween's big business now. $8.5 billion will be spent on candy and costumes this year, according to the National Retail Federation.   But what if you don't want to bust your budget?

“We have been waiting for you... ah ha ha ha...”

Penny-pinching Halloween freaks like you and me have options and some are right in your backyard.

Like the one in Williamstown at the corner of Crystal and Atlantic Avenues.

There are a number of layouts: a gory picnic with a body part butcher shop display.  There are skeletons fishing, several witches, a pet cemetery -- it's radical.

“So it looks like a lot of fun, no admission, you can drop a couple bucks in the donation box. I'm sure that goes to a good cause.  No one here from the house to talk to about it... unless of course, you consider The Gatekeeper.

“Leave some candy for me or beware of what you see...”

I dropped by one at Harrison Avenue in Blackwood that's supposed to be good too, but the guy wasn't home from work yet.   So off I went over to Southwest Philly to Drexel Hill.

“Everybody always asking us when we're doing it so we do it for the neighbors, we do it for the kids.  Everybody just really enjoys it.  And we do it for ourselves too.

“And she tells me this is the place.  There are no pretenders -- at least not in Drexel Hill -- this is the Drexel Hill Halloween House.”

Anna MacMichael and her husband have been laying out their Halloween extravaganza for seven years at their Drexel Avenue home.  All the windows are boarded up and the front yard features a real autopsy table which weighs a ton and goes with the real coffin which goes in the back of a very real hearse.

“My husband has an auto repair shop in Upper Darby -- Al's Auto Repair in Upper Darby.  So that's where we just store everything in the back of the hearse and just tow it right to the back of his shop.”

I particularly like the heads hanging from trees, so wrong and oh so Halloween right.  Look, this is a word of mouth thing, and I just gave you three.  Pay one a visit and make sure it's after dark -- the attractions are better -- and the owners will be there. 

And then just start asking around... you can pay a lot this Halloween, but you've got options.

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