October 25, 2012
There are some people who love Halloween – and you can often tell who they are from the awesome (and spooky) displays in their front yards! Jeff Thornton, who lives down the street from me in Doraville, is one of those people. For the second year in a row, he has been one of the recipients of Northwoods Area Neighborhood Association’s “Best Fall Yard” award. He puts a lot of work into this, and the award is well deserved. This year, Jeff’s theme was a Zombie Apocalypse. It was actually inspired by a zombie gnome he saw early in the year, and the seed took root in his brain and grew. When he was able to score some free plank wood, Jeff realized he had the material he needed to create his zombies. With the help of his step-dad, Ron (a third generation cabinet maker), Jeff got started on turning his vision into reality. Not only was it fun to see his zombies take “life,” but the project also provided a great bonding experience for the two men. The give and take between Ron and Jeff, as they bounced ideas back and forth to each other, made the end result even better than initially anticipated.
Along with the help of some friends, Jeff took several days over the course of a balmy October weekend to start decorating his yard. Things started out unassumingly enough, but before you knew it, there were zombies running around. Jeff isn’t so into Halloween decorating as a simple means of scaring people. What he enjoys is the opportunity to express creativity in unique ways. Jeff tells me that he likes creating costumes and other illusions, and has done this since he took drama in high school. He looks forward to the opportunity to make home-made decorations and costumes – enjoying the challenge of getting it right. Halloween ties into this, because Jeff feels it’s the time his yard can be “in disguise”. Unlike other holidays, the imagery surrounding Halloween is very open – it can be anything that people find scary or weird! That, combined with the long history surrounding Halloween that goes all the way back to Europe, are just some of the reasons Jeff loves the holiday. The scenes he created this year were stunning and deserved to be recognized Of his love of decorating his yard, Jeff says:
We moved around a lot when I was a kid.. and I don’t remember ever really decorating the yard. I do remember seeing that everyone else did, and enjoying the interesting displays, all through the years. It was always fun to see the creative ways people would decorate. The delusions of grandeur through the years “ When I have my own place….” Have been in my mind through the years. Now That I do have my own house… the realization of the need of money has hindered the elaborate dreams. I plan to grow into the decorations as best I can each year. Last year I won the “yard of the month” the first year in the neighborhood. That alone has encouraged me to be better every year.
I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next year!
Photos courtesy of Matt Gunn & Jeff Thornton