They Can't Take Halloween Away Determined Spooksters Won't Bow to Real Terror

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Byline: Devin Hester Daily Herald Staff Writer

Halloween has not been scared away from St. Charles.

Some novelty stores and haunted houses in America have decided to tone down the gore and violence of their displays, worried about traumatizing people further than the threat of terrorism already has.

In St. Charles, however, Halloween should be business as usual at haunted houses and residents' yard displays.

"We don't want to make the situation worse, but we're getting back to normalcy, and this is what we normally do," said John Colpen, chairman of the St. Charles Jaycees' haunted house.

The Jaycees' annual haunted house moved this year from Elfstrom Stadium to the former Euclid beverage building at 248 N. Randall Road.

Colpen planned for the new location to have similar scares to the ones in the stadium, which are somewhat gory, but rely mostly on surprise to get adrenaline pumping.

"Most of our scares are just timing effects," he said. "You come up behind a group and find one person that's not paying attention. Sometimes, all you have to do is hop or shift your weight at them. That's the type of thing that we're into."

The Haunted Manor at the Charlestowne Mall is a larger event than it was last year, but is taking a pass on the gore to instead take a scientific view of Halloween illusions.

The manor is a series of workshops that include tutorials on how to create your own ooze, make music with fire and float on a cushion of air.

St. Charles residents competing in the Gallery of Ghoulish Homes aren't letting the specter of terrorism outdo their home decorations.

Homeowner John Burdette, of the 500 block of South Sixth Ave., plans a theme of the history of witchcraft.

He said he might take some of the focus away from the religious aspects of witchcraft, but makes few other concessions as far as toning down his display. …