SPRING HILL — It started with a mask. Then the mask that John Bohn wore to scare trick-or-treaters who knocked on the door grew each year to something with much more grandeur.
"It just snowballed from there," Bohn said.
Trick-or-treaters who pay a visit to 2151 Meredith Drive in Spring Hill get more tricks than treats each Halloween. With the help of friends, Bohn and his family have been scaring — and delighting — Halloween visitors for years with tours through the two-car garage and a makeshift extension that is transformed into a nearly 1,000-square-foot haunted house. It is a feat that boasts a huge following — 300 to 350 children each year.
But after 20 years, this year's haunted trickery at the Bohn residence may be the final hurrah.
"I'm getting older," said Bohn, 52. His wife, Michelle, thinks it's time to stop. Besides, the couple's two sons — Anthony, 24, and Vinny, 18 — are grown and going to schools on the other side of the country.
Bohn said his sons were always a big part of the Halloween fun. The two boys and their friends always had a hand in creating the haunted house and decorations.
"They keep yelling at me to keep it up," Bohn said of his sons. But being away at college and playing with their school hockey teams doesn't allow them to come home at Halloween.
Originally, Bohn was going to call it quits last year. But his friends encouraged him to do it again one last time, especially since this year Halloween falls on a Saturday.
So the past several weeks have been exhausting for Bohn and about a dozen of his friends, who have been building and decorating what he believes should be his best haunted house yet. The theme at the end of the tour will be from Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Last Halloween drew such large crowds, Bohn said, that some visitors waited in line for more than a half-hour. However, he thinks the kinks have been worked out this year to allow the tour to run more quickly and smoothly.
"None of this was ever done for publicity or monetary gain," Bohn said. "My wife and I have always enjoyed the holiday."
They want to share that joy with one last scare.
Bohn's haunted house opens at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Meredith Drive is east of Waterfall Drive in Spring Hill. From Spring Hill Drive, turn north onto Meredith to reach Bohn's house.