Trudy Cherrille’s creations see the light of day only come Halloween.
Until the stroke of midnight on Oct. 30, the witches, goblins, wizards and other creatures of the night remain hidden in her garage.
For more than 20 years, trick or treaters by the dozens have strolled through the gauntlet of monsters at Stirling Crescent off Lerwick in Courtenay.
“They’re all funny scary; I don’t do gory,” said Cherrille, whose display last year attracted more than 300 visitors, the farthest from Saratoga Beach. “I do it as a surprise for the kids.”
The process is a labour of love for the 64-year-old Cherrille, who starts with a mask then lets her imagination take over, using items such as tomato cages, umbrella stands, cement buckets, pillows — even her husband’s clothes — to create the paper mache ‘greeting party.’ She starts searching the Internet in January to find the masks, most of which she orders from the U.S. and some from England.
Her characters are big. The Grinch, for instance, stands seven feet tall.
“You don’t really get the whole effect and the detail on them ’til you see them,” said Cherrille, a doll collector who was a hairdresser during her working years in the Valley. “They look different in person.”
Her Oct. 31 routine is to start early in the morning and be finished by noon. Some years, she prepares a graveyard scene.
“I do them all in lights,” she said. “It depends what the weather is like. If it’s nice out I’m going to do a parade right to the sidewalk so the kids have to walk through them.”
In case of rain, Cherrille will display her characters on a stage inside the garage.