Chicago

CBS 2 Vault: The ghoulish Halloween decorations and fancy pumpkin carvings of more than 40 years ago

CHICAGO (CBS) A Plainfield family made headlines this spooky season for their Halloween display – which features a hovering mannequin depicting Sadie Sink’s Max Mayfield character from “Stranger Things.”

But of course, Halloween decoration displays were drawing crowds to creative families’ front lawns long before “Stranger Things” began production – and even before the time when it’s set. In 1978 – as part of his “Someone You Should Know” series – CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield introduced us to Bill Richter of south suburban Crestwood.

Richter was a tool and die maker who went all out for Halloween. In the darkness, an assortment of dreadful things appeared on the Richter family’s front lawn. Some of them moved. And some of them were not for the faint of heart – from a green goblin being decapitated to a horned devil calmly roasting a severed head and hands on a rotisserie spit.

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CBS 2


The animated display involved simple tools – fishing line, barbecue motors, and safety pins. The Richters had started the display in 1974 – and four years later, it was such a hit that the crowds blocked traffic in the street. And Richter himself joined in as the Phantom of the Opera.

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CBS 2


Also for this installment of the CBS 2 Vault, we found another classic from CBS 2’s Bob Wallace. Around Halloween in 1980, Bob visited the Hyatt Regency O’Hare – where Dean Koretos was going above and beyond as he carved and painted pumpkins.

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CBS 2


Each pumpkin represented at least five hours of work. Among Koretos’ creations were President Jimmy Carter and challenger Ronald Reagan, Darth Vader and C3PO, and Donald Duck next to Bugs Bunny – long before Disney and Warner Bros. characters shared the screen in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

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CBS 2


And during Bob’s visit, Koretos carved a pumpkin into a shark – and gave the shark a mustache to make it… a Bob Wallace shark! Wouldn’t you like a pumpkin carved into a shark in your image?

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CBS 2



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