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Ozarks Life: Nixa Pumpkin Haunt

Some might think Eric Delzell is out of his gourd.
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 10:00 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Not far from Main and Mount Vernon in Nixa, there’s a haunted house.

“Throughout their whole life,” Eric Delzell says, “they’ll remember that crazy house from when they were a kid.”

Built in 1904, Eric owns that home. It’s one of the oldest still standing in Nixa and it’s a perfect backdrop for his favorite holiday.

“To not take that kind of canvas and just do something ridiculous with it would be a waste,” Delzell said.

Some might think Eric is out of his gourd. But he’s out to squash those thoughts, saying Halloween is all about curb appeal.

“We’re going to be looking at in between 800 and 900 pumpkins,” Delzell admits about the display in his yard, “may be closer to 900, I don’t know we’ll do the math later. Skeleton wise, 80-ish I think.”

For five years Eric has been placing pumpkins and stringing up skeletons for The Nixa Pumpkin Haunt.

“The first year that I decided to do it I thought 100 pumpkins seems like a good number, that seems like a lot of pumpkins,” Delzell said. “Turns out it’s not that many pumpkins, you know, once you really get into it.”

He doesn’t have a blueprint. He jumps from one spur-of-the-moment idea to the next.

“Every year of course it gets bigger than the year before,” Delzell said. “You can’t do the same thing twice.”

Eric’s creation starts in late summer when he separates all of his pumpkins into piles.

“Then everything that’s a duplicate is moved to the other side of the house,” Delzell said about his plan, “so you don’t have any of the same two faces in the same area.”

He also has to repaint some of the sun-faded pumpkins, replace light bulbs, and then cut plenty of fishing line for the skeletons. All of this stuff is buried in various tombs on Eric’s property.

“Little bit of everywhere,” Delzell said about storing his collection. “Whatever I can fit it. I mean under the house, in the garage, in the closet, wherever you need to.”

And despite running out of room, Eric’s always looking for the next, great pumpkin.

“Lots and lots of shopping,” Delzell jokes. “In-person, thrift stores, internet, you name it. I mean I do it all year long.

To knock this out takes long days to get it just right. A lot of time and money spent that he says is all worth it when the kids stop and stare.

“The kids come and they get so excited,” Delzell said. “You’ll hear them out by the fence and they have a story that they tell about what’s going on in the yard; who’s the good guy who’s the bad guy. And it just makes your heart happy.”

Eric’s home is a block south of Main and Mount Vernon in Nixa. You can follow the fun on The Nixa Pumpkin Haunt Facebook page.

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