ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Chris Donaubauer has stopped entering his St. Charles home in Halloween and Christmas decoration contests, because he won them every year. For the last 16 years his Halloween display has been an incredible sight.
He estimates there is about $100,000-worth of Halloween decorations outside his suburban home at 620 Nancy Dr. This year alone, he says there’s about $2,000-worth of new decorations.
But Donaubauer doesn’t just buy everything. Some of his displays were old, broken animatronics that he has repurposed. He builds the wooden signs for his “Dead-Man Carnival” and sometimes people have just dropped off decorations at his front door.
But that’s as much of a donation as he’ll accept.
There is no admission to walk through his garage, backyard and around the side of his house. He says he often has to turn away cash that visitors want to give him. Because money or fame is not why he does it.
“Look at all the kids coming though,” Donaubauer says. “I had a 50-, 60-year-old guy here, he was like a kid in a candy store.”
He even told a story about about a young boy who is partially blind, but when he walked up Donaubauer’s driveway he could actually see all the lights because it was so bright.
Families arrive at his driveway, every day of the week, from about 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. His display even has its own Facebook page, where he posts updates on if the lights will have to be kept off that evenings, due to rain.
He’ll keep the display up through Halloween, but the next day he will start to take it all down and immediately get ready for their Christmas lights display.
Every night he stays at the end of his driveway to welcome visitors, media outlets and Halloween fanatics. He lets his 16-year-old son, Brandon, give tours if anyone is too chicken to walk through by themselves. He likes to point out his favorite piece, a bloody werewolf that snarls and shakes when people walk by.
“They are never expecting it,” Brandon says.
Chris Donaubauer believes about 700-1,000 cars will come by his home on any given night, and on Halloween it’s even bigger. He’ll buy multiple 500-piece bags of candy and expects to hand out all of it.
But he can’t do it forever, right?
“(It will end) when I can’t do it no more, maybe I’ll be in a wheelchair and still be like ‘Brendon, do that…,” Donaubauer says.