If you're looking for the Halloween Grinch, some say you may find him- or her near Overlook Lane in Canandaigua
CANANDAIGUA — The Spirit of Halloween has skipped town for a Canandaigua couple.
Bruce Kersch and Shannon Skillern have invested thousands of dollars into their Halloween decorations and gifts for kids, but a few grumbling neighbors and the late addition of changes requested by the town board closed the window- and the doors- on their open haunted house.
“We intend no ill will towards our neighbors or the community,” said Kersch, who moved to the area with his wife Shannon two years ago from Springville, NY. “All we wanted to do was something nice for the community.”
Last year the couple hosted their first Halloween haunted house, opening the outside and inside of their home to complete strangers for safe and fun trick or treating. They estimate that in their first year of Halloween at their Canandaigua home- they hosted approximately 600 trick-or-treaters in a three-day span.
“We admit there were some issues last year with all the traffic and the parked cars,” said Kersch who was called to the town board to address concerns.
“The board wanted security, traffic marshals, and other additional things but we can’t meet the recommendations from the board in time so we had to cancel it.”
According to Skillern, the board sent them a letter asking them to address safety concerns after three people from the community complained.
“It’s a handful or residents trying to bully us,” said Skillern, who when she isn’t putting up her thousands of Halloween decorations works as nurse. “I guess we’re just a different breed of people and wanted to do something nice.”
The couple didn't charge any fees for the trick-or-treaters- who not only received full-sized candy bars but toys as well.
The town of Canandaigua did try to come up with an alternative by offering a local park as another location. But the pair still felt there wasn’t enough time to pull off taking all of the decorations down and setting them up again in time for the holiday.
The lovers of decor started the Halloween extravaganza 20 years ago as a tribute to Gordon Skillern, Shannon’s dad who passed away.
After they made the decision to pull the plug on their haunted house, they posted a sign in their front yard with the announcement that has drawn numerous comments on social media supporting them.
As the couple went outside, a local neighborhood kid who helped set up this year's decorations stopped to thank them for the fun and express his disappointment it’s not going to take place this year.
“This never hurt anyone,” said Bradley while cradling his skateboard. “This really stinks.”
For Skillern, she says she’s personally hurt that some people would be so mean.
“I'm no longer comfortable in my home, the aggressive response by a few people is a shame," Skillern said. “The town is missing the boat on community.”
As it is now the couple isn't sure what they will do next year, and are even considering moving out of the neighborhood.
For Kersch, there’s bigger issues in the world than complaining about some holiday decorations. “Love your family, live life and always always be kind to your fellow man.”