Inside the home at 532 Hannibal St. in Noblesville, open boxes sit on the floor and small decorations hang on the walls. It may not look like it yet, but eventually, the house will be decked out in Halloween splendor and be open to the public from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 30.
Christine Brewster, 55, has been presenting a free Halloween open house event called Haunt on Hannibal in early October each year for the last five years. The presentation includes haunting music, fog, things that jump out, scary decorations and a haunted outdoor area. People can walk through the house, tour the garden and enjoy food and drinks.
Brewster had traditionally decorated her home each Halloween but enjoyed Christmas more until she had her son, who loves Halloween and always enjoyed watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
Now, Brewster said she loves all of October and the Halloween season.
“It’s the food, it’s the drinks, it’s the smell. It’s everything,” she said.
The idea for a family-friendly, free four-hour Halloween event was inspired by her childhood.
“When we would go places, because we had a family of four, plus my parents, it was really expensive,” Brewster said. “So, I was like, ‘It’d just be nice to do something for people with little kids, where they could just come and not spend any money.’”
When Brewster had the idea to open her house to the public, she said her best friend told her not to expect many people to come. But more than 50 people attended that first year.
Last year, approximately 100 people attended, and Brewster said she now decorates some of her neighbors’ porches.
Free alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and food are served at the event, provided by Red Robin at Hamilton Town Center. Christine’s husband, Sammy Brewster, is the general manager of the Red Robin restaurant.
Sammy Brewster said his favorite memory from a previous Haunt on Hannibal event was when a child came into the house and was only terrified of dolls. That year’s display had many depictions of dolls and the child had to be held by an adult while walking through.
Brewster said she enjoys seeing the reaction on children’s faces.
“There have been so many kids that you would think would have an adverse reaction that are just, it looks like Christmas on their face,” she said.
Brewster said she gathers decorations throughout the year and makes most of them herself. She started decorating inside the house Aug. 1 and began doing the outside and her neighbors’ porches Sept. 1. This year she decorated two of her neighbors’ porches but last year she decorated four.
Brewster said she will add touches right up until the event.
“I’m pretty much like the mayor of Halloween Town in ‘Nightmare Before Christmas,’” Brewster said, “Where it’s like the next day, it’s like, ‘We’ve got to start planning, we’ve got get things together.’”
IF YOU GO
What: Haunt on Hannibal haunted house event
When: 7 to 11 p.m. Sept. 30
Where: 532 Hannibal St., Noblesville
Theme: “Midnight Garden”
Other: Although the event is family friendly, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Those wanting alcoholic beverages will need to show identification.