What started 22 years ago as a few friends coming over to hand out candy has turned into one of Atlanta’s must-stop trick-or-treat attractions. Every Halloween, curious, costumed kids trek from all over East Atlanta—and the city—to see what frights Barry Wisebram has designed. The exotic pet dealer, who owns a bungalow on Flat Shoals Avenue, aims to scare, so the spectacle is not for the faint of heart. Some of his earliest visitors now bring their own children. Here’s how he creates his spooky spot.
- Preparation takes months. Every year, Wisebram adds to his massive inventory of skeletons, scarecrows, and other creepy decorations. Most are his own inventions sourced from local stores or his day job. In past years, he’s used Home Depot decor to fashion zombie unicorns and T-Rex skeletons.
- Wisebram’s brand of horror is both campy and overstimulating. In one corner of the yard, a clown is trapped in the web of a gigantic spider. Elsewhere, a body hangs limp in the mouth of a massive dinosaur. Werewolves, baby clowns, zombies, and the occasional real human hand await trick-or-treaters brave enough to venture to the porch, where a masked man offers candy. Every year, Wisebram hands out some 40 pounds of Kit-Kats, Twix, and Snickers.
- Each year, a dozen or so costumed friends help Wisebram. Eduardo Paco stands motionless among statues and props before lunging out when kids prod his seemingly lifeless form.
- Cleaning up can drag on until Thanksgiving, and he still finds the occasional skull while trimming the hedges in the spring. During off months, Wisebram stores his handmade props in the basement of his neighboring rental property. The faces of dismantled zombies and skeletons press against the windows to ward off curious trespassers.
- Last year, Wisebram hired a photographer to snap photos of children’s reactions. This year, he plans to have an Instaprint machine on hand to provide keepsakes for families. If his crew can make the older Halloween-goers jump, that’s okay, too. “Scaring the parents is more fun than scaring the kids, quite honestly,” Wisebram says.
This article appears in our October 2018 issue.