BUCKHANNON — One might say Oct. 30 is like Christmas Eve for seven-year-old Spencer Mearns.
The bubbling anticipation involved in meticulously positioning his fog machine, the careful tweaking of his myriad Halloween decorations and the artful arranging of his collection of animatronics are all magical steps leading to the best night of the year — at least, in his opinion.
Halloween is like Christmas for Spencer — not that he doesn’t love Christmas, too, but there’s a special affinity in his heart for the haunted holiday.
The son of Julie and Robert Mearns, Spencer lives on Boggess Street and although he definitely relishes dressing up to trick-or-treat on Halloween — he’s been an owl, a firefighter, a spider, a zombie and yes, even a garbage truck — last year, he discovered how fun it was to give out candy while passing trick-or-treaters admired his collection of Halloween accoutrements, which includes a fog machine and multiple ghoulish animatronics.
This year, he gave out candy and displayed his collection with pride, all while dressed up as the grim reaper.
Spencer’s mom, Julie Mearns, said her son’s love of the haunted holiday and all its trappings started when he was just three years old and made his first trip to the Spirit Halloween store in Meadowbrook Mall. He was enthralled, and by the time he turned five years old, he’d begun to collect animatronics (automated characters) and a vast array of Halloween decor.
His collection is comprised of a jumping spider, ‘the collector’ (a very tall skeleton), the limb ripper (werewolf), the Burlap Horror, the Sitting Scarecrow, the Crawling Deal and the Electrified Corpse, his mom said.
“His collection also includes a variety of other decorations like the ghosts and ghouls, fake body parts, lots of skeletons and other accessories,” Julie Mearns said. “He’s saved birthday money to buy some of the animatronics and his grandpa, Rich Calef, has contributed greatly to his animatronics collection.”
“He hopes to expand the collection this Christmas,” she said with a laugh.
In 2019, Spencer decided he wanted to stay home to showcase his collection and hand out candy to passing trick-or-treaters, and this Saturday, for Halloween 2020, he took a quick jaunt around the neighborhood prior to returning home to distribute candy and highlight his spooky assemblage.
Of course, Spencer wasn’t about to let people forget that although they might be donning Halloween masks, the importance of wearing facial coverings to protect others from the spread of COVID-19 was just as important.
“He promoted mask-wearing even under his costume,” Julie said, “but most of all, he got great joy from all the people who stopped and checked out his collection. It probably made his year.”