Happy haunts

Williamstown resident Pat Carter who lives on the corner of Kent and Sicklerville Road, decorates for every major holiday. She uses exclusively recycled materials and solicits help from her children and grandchildren to transform her yard into a festive display for the community and passersby. (Anthony J. Mazziotti III/The Sun)

For the last 12 years the corner of Kent Road and Sicklerville Road has been known as one of the spookiest locations in Monroe Township.

No, it’s not haunted by a colonial ghost or the final resting place of a famous country music star, but a heavily decorated property owned by a woman named Pat Carter who likes to celebrate every holiday with handmade decorations.

“I just see pieces of wood and I paint it,” Carter said of the dozens of tombstones planted on her lawn, a totaled version of Santa’s sleigh and other painted slabs of wood to look like vampires or ghouls. “I hate seeing thing wasted. I always find second and third uses for everything I have.”

When talking about second and third uses, the fencing used to surround her display is made from braided and tied ShopRite bags. While not recyclable by definition they make a perfect red rope alternative to surround her decorations.

Carter receives help from her grandchildren when setting up her yard. Between the tombstones, giant banners, skeletons, scare crows, caution tape and more she said the process can take upwards of two days. It’s worth it in the end to see the smiles on everyone’s faces from her grandchildren to strangers in town.

“I’m happy to have people appreciate it,” she said. “As long as people keep smiling I’ll keep doing it,”

Carter said she decorates for Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving, too. But there’s something special about Halloween that is attractive in her mind.

“People don’t have to be themselves, they can be whoever they want to be,” she said. “They can dress up and go out. A lot of times when people are out of their own skin they feel so much better about themselves,”

Carter’s obsession with decorating percolates down to her grandchildren. When it comes to getting into the spirit of any holiday it’s truly a family affair.

When driving down Sicklerville Road be sure to check out the corner house on Kent Road, you can’t miss it. From the graveyard in the front to the skeleton fortune teller on the side, it’s truly a sight to see. Be sure to check in for Thanksgiving and Christmas to see what Carter has up her sleeve next.