Artist Christine McConnell swears that morphing her parents’ home into a massive monster — complete with six enormous eyes and 36 fangs — is no Halloween trick, just pure treat.
“They love it,” the professional photographer and artist based in Twin Peaks, Calif., tells Yahoo Parenting about her folks’ take on the transformation of their Highland, Calif., Victorian. “I’ve decorated their house several times in the past few years, mostly on Halloween,” says McConnell, whose last Oct. 31 overhaul of the property had a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. “Usually they ask me, ‘Can you do this or that?’ and I run with it, but this year they said I could do anything I wanted.”
So the cookbook author spent four days, toiling 12 hours each time, with about $250 in supplies and decorations to turn John and Kathy McConnell’s abode into a frighteningly impressive work of art, the images of which have gone viral on Imgur with more than 1.9 million views in the past two days.
Christine McConnell preparing her decorations. (Photos: ChristineHMcConnell/Imgur)
The artist admits that her dad, 67, and mom, 58, “didn’t really grasp the idea at first.” She explains: “When I put the eyes up, they were like, ‘OK…’ but once I did the teeth they said, ‘Oh, wow, that’s amazing,’ and they got really excited.”
Photo: Christine McConnell
Ditto for the neighborhood. “It’s like a carnival attraction now with people stopping by to look at it,” says McConnell, who grew up in the house, which her parents have owned for more than 25 years.
Christine McConnell with a cake she made inspired by her parents’ home. (Photo: Christine McConnell)
Not that the homeowners mind. “My mom does a big Christmas party every year, so they’re pretty community-ish anyway,” explains the artist. “Last year I was working on my cookbook so I didn’t have time to decorate, and she said that the trick-or-treaters were bummed. She told me, ‘You have to do it this year.’”
Homeowners John and Kathy McConnell, parents of artist Christine McConnell. (Photo: Christine McConnell)
McConnell’s parents, after all, are her “biggest cheerleaders,” she says, adding that she and her mom talk multiple times a day and visit often, living just 45 minutes apart. “It’s pretty cool that they’re very understanding,” she says. “But I’ve been practicing on their house forever so it’s gotten to the point of them knowing, ‘She’ll probably do something great.”
Two years ago, the home had a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. (Photo: Christine McConnell)
The spooky installation will disappear like a ghost right after Halloween, however. “We’ll take the decorations down right away and start revving up for Christmas,” says McConnell. “The house is just like the one in Edward Scissorhands, the standalone odd one among other cookie-cutter styles,” she adds, “so it’s the one everyone looks to for the holidays.” At the end of the year, though, her family keeps the style simple: “It’ll just be lots of beautiful lights.”
The McConnell’s home last Christmas. (Photo: Christine McConnell)