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So you think your neighbors are scary?

Bloody handprints cover the window of Mike Keeney's house, and he doesn't mind.

He put them there.

Every year, he goes to great lengths to turn his stucco home in Northwood into Wesley Chapel's version of the Haunted Mansion.

He's not alone.

Homeowners in southern Pasco County and beyond are getting into the Halloween spirit, with yards decked out with pumpkins, ghosts, spider webs and witches.

At Keeney's house, a garden becomes a ghastly graveyard. Tombstones mark the spot where Jack the Ripper and Freddy Krueger were laid to rest. A lanky skeleton peers out of a window wearing a black cape and a creepy smirk.

Keeney adds new decorations every year. It's fun, he says. And, on Halloween, Keeney likes to take part in the fun. When the sun sets, and costumed kids come out, he causes quite a fright. Keeney, a hotel manager by day, morphs into an evil gnome and waits on the porch for trick-or-treaters.

"Most people think I'm fake," Keeney said. "When (neighbors) come up to ring the door bell, they get quite a scare."

These pranks don't come cheap.

Over the past few years, he has shelled out more than $500 for the disguise and spooky display. He insists it's worth every penny.

For retailers, Halloween marks the start of the holiday season, says Tracy Mullin, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation.

"With a variety of costumes in the stores, community activities across the country and decorations on front porches, it's no surprise that consumers, and retailers love Halloween," Mullin said.

Aside from Christmas, Halloween is the second largest decorating holiday.

For the past two months, Ken Frye and a next door neighbor have been hard at work transforming their homes into Dead Run, a two-part haunted house. With adjacent garages, the men offer a scary scene complete with a morgue, electric chair and jail cell.

During October, their well-kept Meadow Pointe homes sport boarded-up windows and cob-webbed corners.

Nearly 700 people dropped by last year, Frye said.

A Web site allows the curious to get a sneak peek.

The biggest draw is the homemade electric chair, which shakes and buzzes.

The dog house is a scream. As people pass by, the door swings open and a dog jumps out.

"Everybody seems to like it," Frye said. "The kids have something to do."

Visitors to Dead Run can navigate a maze that spans two neighbors' garages in Meadow Pointe's Deer Run in Wesley Chapel. Maybe, they won't get lost like this unfortunate skeleton.

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