Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan
Kenny McCombs has continued a 35 year-old tradition of hosting a haunted house at his Snellville home. McCombs has spent the past two months preparing for the Halloween holiday which he and his family provide a free place for the community to come for a scare.
SNELLVILLE -- Kenny McCombs has been setting up for Halloween since August for a one-night free-for-all for trick-or-treaters.
"This took me two months to get set up," he said while sitting in his garage. "I've probably got 300 screws in my house. I hope termites don't like holes that are already started because they've got a good starting point."
But this isn't the Snellville resident's first time hanging spiders, webs and dead bodies. In 1978, McCombs' mother started the tradition and Kenny McCombs has kept the creepy custom alive. To this day, he has spent about $10,000 updating, remodeling and spooking the children in his garage and front yard.
The only original prop is an old-school coffin in his garden.
"That's a real coffin and I remember Tommy Wages gave it to my father," McCombs said. "First, he (borrowed) it for Halloween, then finally Tommy said he could have it. The crazy thing is that people who used to come here as kids, they started bringing their kids and years later, they brought their grandkids."
Since he took the task from his parents, McCombs tries to change the theme for the outside of his house.
"I like it to be different each year," he said. "This year, I went overboard. I always do the corn, spiderwebs every where. I added the graveyard, roof lights and new people this Halloween.
"I was Spirit Halloween's best customer."
During Halloween night, McCombs' family members volunteer to dress up as zombies, monsters and other creeps that wander the yard and street. Even though it's a haunting holiday, he keeps things "PG-13."
"I would love to have it a little more gruesome with some things, but I have to watch it with all of the little kids how far I go," he said. "I just do it for the kids. I just do it for everyone to see it."
McCombs doesn't just let his family have all the fun. He gets into the act each year, too -- even if it's a little painful.
"Two years ago, I had a fake knife super glued to my hair and I didn't think about the little hair I do have," he said. "When I had to take it out, it took out every hair from the roots. I had a scar there for about four months afterward. But believe it or not, I'll probably do it again, but this time I'll shave my whole head."
One thing the Snellville resident wants everyone to know is that this is for kids and 'tweens, not teens who are looking for a scare.
"It's for the trick-or-treaters. It's not like Netherworld. I want kids and parents coming by. I don't mind older people coming by to appreciate it. This is not for the older high school kids because they might expect more. But two 15-year-old girls who are neighbors won't come through. They're too scared."
Once All Hallow's Eve ends and everyone removes the makeup, hangs up the costumes and returns to their day jobs, McCombs begins to take the decorations down until next fall.
"Once Halloween is over, I'm burnt out. I'll start taking it down afterward," he said. "It takes a long time, too. I takes two rooms upstairs to fit everything."
Right now, the live monsters only come out on Halloween, but that may change in the future.
"I wouldn't mind doing it a few days because I put in so much work," McCombs said. "I probably have -- with just putting it up -- 120 hours and then taking it down will take me 15 to 20 hours, just for one night."
The McCombs' house is located at 2057 Tanglewood Drive in Snellville.