|The Combs' creepy circus tent on Miller Lane|
There are people who love Halloween, there are people who LOVE Halloween and then there are the Combs family of Fort Thomas. Family friend Trinity Walsh says that for them “Halloween is like their Christmas, Super Bowl and twenty-first birthday all rolled up in one – they love the holiday!”
Last year the Combs started a tradition of building a haunted house in their yard on Miller Lane, If you’ve been on the street in the last couple of months you can’t have missed their latest effort, a “creepy circus tent” complete with giant clown’s face. Despite the similar theme, the haunted house is in no way related to the recent outbreak of creepy clown sightings.
The haunted house is a labor of love for the Combs. They start planning as soon as trick or treating finishes the year before. This year they began building props in January and Kelson started building the structure in July this year. He estimates he’s spent at least 25 hours a week on it since then, after work and on the weekends. All the props in the house and the costumes are home made. While they’ve spent some money on materials, they also receive a lot of donations of props from friends and neighbors and use a lot of recycled materials. Joanie says that despite the time spent and the expense, the reactions of the kids who come through make it all worthwhile: “That’s why it’s fun, the kids that come through are hilarious! We mainly do it for them.”
The fabrication itself is enough to stop traffic on the street but the Combs have an overwhelmingly positive response from their neighbors. “The Stevens used to do a haunted house back in the day and the neighbors are always the first ones through. Some have made props and masks for it and some are even dressing up to be in the house or hand out candy.” Last year’s haunted cabin got a great response but with word of mouth from last year and daughters Lucia and Evia spreading the word through middle school and high school, they’re expecting even more people through this year.
Joanie and Kelson are quick to point out that they came up with the idea for this year’s haunted house, along with the next few years, on the evening of Halloween last year and that it’s in no way connected to the trend of creepy clown sightings that have occurred recently, both in NKY and nationally. Joanie points out that the purpose of the house is to entertain, not capitalize on the fear caused by the clown sightings. “We just want to reassure people that it’s safe, it’s not at all connected.“ Trinity Walsh also wants to make sure people know that the Combs are only running the haunted house with the best of intentions and not to be insensitive. “I think they certainly deserve kudos for going above and beyond to entertain the people of Fort Thomas.”
Despite there being no link with the clown sightings, Joanie says the Combs’ haunted house definitely will be scary! “We’ve had to go in and run people out of it before. We’re not pumpkin spice when it comes to Halloween!” Kelson says at the haunted cabin they built last year, “You wouldn’t believe how many adults just stood outside and wouldn’t go through!”
If you’re feeling brave on Halloween, the Combs, with the help of their friends and neighbors, will be running the creepy circus from 6pm to 9pm on Miller Lane. It’s open to all, kids and adults alike. There will be loud noises and smoke, but there will also be candy, popcorn and a lot of fun.