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Rocky Mountain Haunters support Halloween with spooky builds

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SALT LAKE CITY — Many people decorate their lawns and homes for Christmas, but a growing number of Utahns, members of a group called Rocky Mountain Haunters, are going all out for Halloween.

Rocky Mountain Haunters is a group that formed to share their love of all things spooky, and people are going out of their way to go see these amazing decorations.

Music, fog, sound effects, chains, moving skeletons and a floating ghost… Greg Shoop has it all in his Sandy front yard.

“I built Jack and then I built Sally (from Nightmare Before Christmas) and then I just kept adding stuff,” he said.

Like a large three-headed dog with glowing eyes that spits out fog. That feature he purchased, like a few others, but many he built himself with the help of Rocky Mountain Haunters.

He’s been with Rocky Mountain Haunters for about 9 years. Every June, they get together to build new props. This year it was a moving skeleton in a box.

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“These all use windshield wiper motors out of cars,” said Shoop. “It has high torque and runs forever.”

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Rocky Mountain Haunters group meeting to build together (via Facebook)

Two years ago the group build was kicking legs coming out of the ground. In Shoop’s yard, they are moving under a gigantic spider.

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Another theme he has done in the past is the Phantom of the Opera. He says this year’s yard display took about two weeks to put all together.

In Kearns, Jim Reed’s décor or haunt took maybe 45 hours to put together this year. The front lawn is a whole graveyard marked with real criminals’ name from history. He calls it the Cemetery of the Forgotten.

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Reed has been with Rocky Mountain Haunters for a year, after wanting to join for a long time.

“13 years ago, my wife and I found an animatronic bride holding her own severed head. We decided to start building, I wanted to start building a backdrop for her. My wife was a little less enthusiastic. But she put up with it and now she loves it too,” he laughed.

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Their 15-month-old daughter is catching on too.

“She uses skeletons as her dolls,” said Reed.

Rocky Mountain Haunters’ membership has doubled in the last year. They have hundreds of members on Facebook, but have grown close. Shoop says when one member’s daughter was in the hospital, they helped out her family.

Some yards go for blood and guts, others have creepy clowns, one has a Jurassic Park theme this year.

“It’s a great group, and everyone does their own take on what they’ve built. It still ends up unique and different,” said Reed.

Each haunt in the group is placed on an online map, and people drive around the state to see them.

“I had an elderly couple knock on my door on Sunday and thank me,” said Shoop. “They say they look forward to it every year. It makes it all worthwhile.”