When the Chambers family moved to Harbin Street in Waxahachie seven years ago, more than one person said, “Have you heard about Halloween?”
“Everybody mentioned it,” Norma Chambers told the Sun. “And it was way more than we could possibly have imagined. And now we’re the ones saying to new neighbors, ‘Have you heard about Halloween?’ ”
Indeed, Harbin Street is a popular one for trick-or-treaters as they make their rounds. Norma recounts how their family has given out up to 3,000 pieces of candy, which translates to an estimated 1,500 children going through. They also try to have some treats for babies and anyone’s dog who might be along.
The annual event has become a passion for them, with Norma and her husband, James, joined by her sister and brother-in-law, Julie and Dave Posey, in an all-out effort to have more of a display than the year before.
They don’t just decorate the Chambers’ property and set up booths in front of their house, they also decorate two neighbors’ houses to one side. They get in costume and admittedly have “a lot of fun” with the families who stop by the neighborhood.
And Norma is leading an effort to get even more of her neighbors to decorate for Halloween. She enjoys seeing the interactions when a community comes together.
“It’s about getting kids off of their smartphones and devices and doing something with their family,” she said. “It’s about getting to meet your community and the opportunity to do something fun. This is one way we can build relationships in our community.”
She laughs when she recalls that first “warning” about Halloween on Harbin Street. Fortunately, she says, her sister and brother-in-law are “Halloween people” and brought over their decorations. Now they’ve got an estimated five truckloads of decorations between them.
In fact, the families have accumulated so many decorations, props and booth materials that they’ll take the day off before Halloween to truck them over out of their storage and set everything up. The decorations – which range from fun ones to scary animatronics (one’s a skeleton roasting on a spit) – then come down the day after.
A special feature for their annual Halloween extravaganza is the photo area Norma said they always set for families to use. A photographer herself, she’s happy to help provide a way for families to create a memory of the event.
“Some have even told me they send out the picture they take here as their Christmas card,” she said with a smile. “You just meet the greatest people.”
Their Halloween on Harbin event is a major activity for the Chambers and Posey families, whose grown children step in to help. Norma’s parents have even flown in from California. All year-round, the families bounce ideas off of each other and are always “creating new things,” Norma said. “Pinterest is our best friend.”
While she’s sometimes too busy to get into costume, she and her sister opt for non-scary outfits. Her husband enjoys dressing as a clown and her brother-in-law typically opts for something a bit on the scary side.
“It’s a great event,” Norma said. “The kids love it. We learn something new every year and try to improve it for the next year.”
For those planning to trick-or-treat on Harbin, she encourages them to bring a flashlight and their camera.
Neighbors wanting more information and advice on how to participate can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. One pro tip she shares is to start buying candy early on so as to take advantage of any sales and not hit one’s budget all at once.
“Have fun,” she said. “Get out of your house and have fun.”
Halloween on Harbin starts at about 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, and continues until 9 p.m.