Gresham man's house-haunting hobby goes viral
It's rare when a creatively driven person finds a day job that complements their true passions, but Troy Crivellone's full-time gig works well in furthering his fascination with Halloween, spooky images, and his penchant for widespread public theatricality.
"I am a courier, so I get to drive around all day and look at Halloween stuff," the Gresham resident says, referring to elaborately decorated homes and yards. "I have postcards in my car that has our association stuff on it. I'll leave it on a porch. It says, 'Hey, you're not on our map. I'd like to meet you and invite you to our group.'"
The association is Northwest Haunters, a group Crivellone, 37, started in 2014 with his wife, Ashley, to foster and promote large-scale Halloween-themed creativity and provide a mapped network of decked-out houses for the general public to check out during the Halloween season.
The idea has grown to a group of 1,200 including residents not just around Oregon, but also neighboring states like Washington, Idaho and British Columbia.
"We've done all different types of displays and haunts, crazy hotels, demented towns and now a big cemetery display," Crivellone says. "There's always a challenge to go bigger, something we've not tried before or a new technique."
Requirements to be part of the association and interactive map are fairly loose.
"(We require) that you have a display, more than just pumpkins and small stuff, that you have tombstones (and other accoutrements) up — it doesn't have to be homemade," Crivellone says. "It's mainly more that you are actually decorating for the holiday. You have to love Halloween and be in the Northwest. We prefer you to have a display ... but we have a couple people who only do a party. (Others) like to be in the group to share ideas and get ideas from us."
The network, for which Crivellone and his associates provide handouts, video tutorials, workshops and seminars to further their projects, is essentially an extended working family joined together by a certain sense of, well, spooktacularity.
"The association, the biggest part is that it creates a giant community that likes to help everybody share ideas, props and supplies," he says. "A bunch of (members) will go over to help others build their displays, and there's a campout we do. It's just a giant community of crazy but amazing Halloween people."
Crivellone, a father of two who lived in Wood Village for five years before moving to Gresham a couple years ago, unlocked his first macabre imaginings acting in a grade school haunt event.
Though his Halloween interested waned a bit in high school, getting involved with the theater lighting crew presented opportunities to create spooky atmospheres and set designs in Halloween productions.
"It brought out something I didn't know I could do," he says, finding his marginal painting skills worked in his favor on dark and spooky sets. "(I realized) you can't really see it cause it's dark out. You can make a mistake. I mean, I can't paint a wall. But it's OK. I want it to look old."
When Crivellone met Ashley, his wife-to-be, his darker aspirations found a new source of inspiration.
"(She) got me back into it," he said. "We started doing displays and walk throughs. We've been doing that since about 2006."
While it's hard to maintain your own elaborate display in the fall and also get out to see those of other Haunters, Crivellone does what he can to support his fellow Halloween wizards.
"It's definitely a creative outlet, but it's also the community that's come about," he says of the appeal. "There's people all over the country. They're basically kindred spirits. There's not a city in the U.S. I can't visit and and crash on a couch.
"I'm a very social person," he adds. "This provides a social outlet for me to talk about Halloween — and that's great."
If You (Dare to) Go
Northwest Haunters: A Gresham-based Pacific Northwest network of Halloween-themed decorative displays. Here are some of the Gresham-area locations to experience members' spookily creative ideas and work, most through Sunday, Nov. 2, or otherwise noted:
Pumpkin Acres: 13922 S.W. Schiller St., east Portland. Scott & Karen Tangen's large interactive yard/garage display.
Scare Hollow: 1650 N.W. First St., Gresham. Troy & Ashley Crivellone's "Hollow Vista Cemetery" display.
Rockwood Rot: 922 S.E. 179th Ave. Angela McFarland's yard display.
Maple Shade Cemetery: 915 S.E. Liberty Ave., Gresham. Kristin Jones' yard display.
Troutdale Graveyard: 3610 S.E. Helen Court, Troutdale. Josh Jensen's yard display.
Bonz Pet Shop: 3125 S.E. Pelton Ave., Troutdale (near Troutdale Graveyard). Yard display.
Dead End Stakes: 28 N.E. 219th Lane, Gresham. Christie Sedgwick's yard display (in great trick or treating neighborhood)
Fear on Florence: 88 N.W. Florence Ave., Gresham. Brandon Caseday's Haunted House walk-through. Halloween night, Thursday, Oct. 31, only.
Link to Northwest Haunters map: nwhaunters.wixsite.com/nwha/haunt-map "I'm a very social person," he adds. "This provides a social outlet for me to talk about Halloween — and that's great."
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