GOURDGEOUS! Nixa, Mo. pumpkin display dazzles community

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 9:50 PM CDT
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) - A hair-raising haunt is scaring up quite the audience in Nixa. Hundreds of pumpkins and other Halloween fare are making for a boo-tiful display this year.

All of Friday evening, families drove by or walked past the Nixa Pumpkin Haunt at South and Main, soaking in the spirit of Halloween a day early. The man behind the massive display- which wraps around the entire house- said Halloween should be just as much about smiling as it is about scaring, which is what he hopes to offer his neighbors.

Five years ago, Eric Delzell and his roommate Dane Wallace visited a pumpkin patch in St. Louis that inspired their spooktacular haunt in Nixa.

“I thought the next year, it might be fun to have maybe 100 pumpkins and stick them on the porch, so that’s how it began, with a mission of 100 pumpkins," Delzell said.

Since then, the pair has far surpassed that goal. Delzell said the haunt has continued to grow every year. This year, there are 591 pumpkins spilling into the yard.

Delzell said the display is usually a hit with the neighborhood, but this year, there are even more people drawn to the pumpkins, including the Schultz family. Gracie is 9, Xavier is 12.

“I thought they were really, really cool," Gracie said.

“It’s crazy. Also I love the skeletons," said Xavier.

One of those skeletons is nearly one story tall, but it’s the number of pumpkins that is really blowing these young minds

“It’s impossible! There are hundreds," Xavier said.

They say there are too many to take in with just one visit.

“After we went last night, we thought it’d be really fun to come back," said Gracie.

Halloween enthusiast Cheryl Leonhardt agrees. She’s been back to the Nixa Pumpkin Haunt three times to soak in her favorite holiday.

“Halloween is just about being a kid and having candy and dressing up and being fun and there’s no other expectations with it," Leonhardt said.

That’s why she wanted to share this sight with her son, who is stationed overseas with the Army. Leonhardt walked around the yard talking snapshots of the scene to send him.

“It’s Friday night here now, so it’s Saturday morning there, and I want him to have the pictures so he can enjoy them actually on Halloween in Korea,” she said.

It’s smiles like Cheryl’s, and the one she says this will bring her son, that motivate Delzell’s mission even more.

“It’s just fun. You know you’re doing a feel-good for somebody and that’s what life’s supposed to be about anyway," he said.

Delzell said last year, 300 trick-or-treaters showed up to the house on Halloween, and he has no idea what to expect Saturday night, but he’s prepared with pre-portioned candy bags, masks and a one-way walkway through the pumpkins. He said he and Dane will leave the decorations up for about a week before tearing them all down and preparing for Christmas.

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