Getting into the Spirit


Moreland family brightens up Halloween with spooky yard display

Patrick Moreland and his children Jackson and Grace in front of their home, which is all decked out for Halloween. PHOTOS BY DAVE ONGIE
Patrick Moreland and his family take delight in decorating their house for Halloween each year. Their display on Mockingbird Place in Jonesborough has grown into a spooky destination that draws around 100 trick-or-treaters each year.

By Dave Ongie, News Editor

When Patrick Moreland was a young boy, he almost instantly became enamored with Halloween.

But as the years rolled by, and Moreland grew up and got a house of his own, sharing his love of the holiday with others proved to be a challenge. Moreland, his wife Rebecca and their children would often decorate their house in Maryland, and following a move south, their new home in Bristol, but the flow of trick-or-treaters was almost non-existent.

Moreland feared the same thing would happen once his family relocated to Jonesborough. After all, there didn’t seem to be a lot of kids in the neighborhood, which is tucked away in the rolling hills just beyond Tennessee’s oldest town.

Moreland and his family add new decorations with each passing year.

But a funny thing happened on a rainy Halloween night about five years ago a few months after the Morelands moved into their new home – costume-clad youngsters materialized in the waning daylight and began making their way down Mockingbird Place, shambling down the driveway and up the steps toward the Morelands’ front door.

“We didn’t put any (decorations) out,” Moreland recalled. “It rained, and I didn’t think we’d get anybody, and I was surprised. We got like 30 or 35 kids, so I got all excited for the next year.”

The next year, Moreland had spooky tombstones in the yard, drawing more trick-or-treaters. Each year has brought more elaborate props and decorations, which now draw around 100 trick-or-treaters each year. By last year, Moreland’s display had become a full-blown tourist attraction.

Jackson and Grace Moreland with a prop designed to put a scare into their visitors come Halloween.

“We got to the point where we had adults out there with their phones and iPads and everything taking video,” Moreland said.

When the sun sinks low in the sky this Thursday, the Morelands’ house will once again be the place to be, and Patrick wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s great to see the little kids,” Moreland said. “Some of them get so excited and they’re pointing at everything. That’s the big thing.

“Every year I try to think about what we’re going to try to add to it for the next year.”


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