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Queen of Halloween creates frightfully fun time

There’s something frightfully fun going on at the southwest corner of Second Street West and Wood Street South in Jordan.

A landscaping crew of skeletons tend the gravestone-laden front yard of the 1931 English Tudor-style home. Nearby, a trio of hand-holding witches, their arms swaying in the breeze, greet passersby.

And there are a lot of passersby, stopping by to get a closer look, getting out of their car to take a photo.

“You know, you put a smile on so many faces,” said Irene Theis, the Halloween ringleader of this merry mayhem.

She spends about four days working on the daunting decorations every year, with some assistance from husband Mike. She installs the lights at night, ensuring they add the right touch to the entire affair.

The life-size articulated skeletons operate antique machinery — a reel lawn mower; a garden cultivator; and a goat wagon, filled with colorful gourds.

Nearby, two chickens, Scarlett and Henrietta cluck away, adding just the right atmosphere.

Theis shakes it up every year. In 2020, she posed two skeletons waving to people from a tandem bike.

WHY HALLOWEEN

There’s a reason for the high-octane Halloween. Mike and Irene have four children, ages 26-35. Their daughter Rachel, 28, was born on Oct. 31. “So I always decorated before that, but once she was born, then we really went off the deep end,” Theis said.

She thought about scaling it back once, when her daughter was in high school. Then she overheard Rachel tell her friends, “‘My mom always decorates for Halloween because it’s my birthday.’ So I have never scaled back.”

When the Theis family moved to Jordan six years ago from Shakopee, they brought the Halloween fun with them.

“Christmas is my favorite, but Halloween is my favorite to decorate for,” Theis said.

NOT TOO SCARY

There’s a method to the madness. Theis doesn’t make the decorations too gory — after all, she has eight grandkids that visit.

The decorations also speak to her acute design skills. The inside of the home is as beautiful and tasteful as the exterior.

Inside, she has orange Halloween bubble lights, intermingled with rat skeletons, decorating the stair bannister; ravens are perched on the fireplace mantle.

The passion for Halloween doesn’t extend to her siblings, notes sister Pam.

“I’m the Halloween queen in my family,” Theis notes.

Theis loves kids. She’s already geared up for young trick-or-treaters, with a CD of creaky doors and witch cackles and a vintage Lollipop box full of Moon Pies, Oreos and other goodies.

Last Halloween, there were lines of up to 12 kids waiting for candy.

“The gratification I get out of this and the people I make happy is way too much fun,” she said.


Native peoples in Mexico started growing pumpkins for food over 11,000 years ago.


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