Dragons on Main for Halloween in Geneseo

Claudia Loucks
“Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego” was the Halloween scene on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Barnhart residence.
The Mountain Men Band was featured in a recent Halloween display at the home of Brett and Holly Barnhart on Main St. in Geneseo

“Dragons on Main” started when Brett and Holly Barnhart purchased two 10-foot inflatable dragons – one for a Halloween decoration and the other for Christmastime.

The dragons were joined two years later when two skeletons, Mr. and Mrs. Skellingsworth took up residence in front of the dragons. Not long after, Mrs. Skellingsworth’s sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Bonaparte joined their relatives at 225 West Main St.

The Halloween display is set up on Oct. 1 each year and passers-by will find that the four skeletons on Main St. are dressed in different themes each day through Oct. 31.

Holly Barnhart said Halloween is a favorite family holiday…”We were shopping for Halloween decorations because at that time we had almost no trick-or-treaters on Halloween. There were no young children living on our block and the Main St. is a pretty busy street.”

The Barnhart’s are parents to two daughters, Lucy, a freshman; and Julia, in seventh grade.

“We found the dragons and we later found the skeletons, so we put up the dragons and added the skeletons in hopes of drawing more trick-or-treaters,” she said.

The idea worked and in addition to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, Barnhart said people sometimes stop and take photographs.

“People walk by with young kids and stop and look,” she said.

“I began taking photos of the yard to share on face book with my family because they do not live in the area,” Barnhart said. ‘Brett began sharing the photos with fellow workers and that led to us to creating ‘Dragons on Main’, where I post daily pictures with a couple of explanation sentences.”

Holly Barnhart is quite creative by nature and said she likes “to decorate in general. I like to design and planning the yard displays are another way of doing that. It’s for our kids and for the community to enjoy.”

The displays are different each day and even change from year to year.

“It is different every day,” Barnhart said. “Sometimes I use the same clothes over, but with a different theme.”

When asked where the clothes and props come from, she said, “Some of the clothes are our own, some are from Halloween costumes in previous years, some are borrowed and most items actually come from Good Will.”

“Brett collects antique tractors and sometimes he brings one in and sets it up in the yard,” she added.

A first this year was a Geneseo High Homecoming, complete with goal post, when one skeleton were transformed into a football player and another became a cheerleader.

“We always do different themes,” Barnhart said. “We have had the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ swimming display, but never with the same suits and props; and the Mountain Men Band with their wash board, jug, saw and spoons for instruments.”

Last year Barnhart featured “A Tribute to Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter),” and she explained, “My kids love animals and we used lots of stuffed animals in that one including a giant stuffed alligator.”

Sometimes she incorporates real musical instruments for the skeleton characters to play.

“Everything is pretty much G-rated,” Mrs. Barnhart said. “It has to be geared to kids, something fun, not anything that parents have to try to explain what it is”

The characters are dressed for the day on display between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. every day, although their designer never knows what they are going to wear until the night before…”Sometimes it is even in the morning before I decide what the theme is going to be that day,” she said. “Sometimes my ideas are from watching movies or from looking for Halloween costumes in general.”

“They are out on rainy days unless it is super bad outside,” Barnhart said. “For the very first time, we posted a rain delay one day this year. But all of the skeletons are not out every day. We have one baby skeleton, but the baby does not come out all that often.”

If the weather is particularly harsh, she puts them on the front porch so they are still visible to passers-by.

Last year the Barnhart’s bought a horse skeleton which made its debut on Oct. 31, 2020, when the skeleton was pulling a vintage sleigh with the skeletons in the sleigh going to the Halloween Ball, but Mrs. Barnhart said, “That will not happen again this year. I don’t know what we will do for Oct. 31 this year, the scene will be very weather-dependent…My best laid plans can be undone in a random storm.”