2008 was another resounding success with literally hundreds of trick-or-treaters and visitors to our pirate yard haunt. I again converted our front porch into a pirate vessel complete with a 10-foot mast, anchor, skelly bowsprit, two 8" cannons, and a "skeleton crew" of undead pirates.

The theme of the haunt is "Dead Men Tell No Tales" in tribute to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. A pair of flaming skull torches near the street beckons guests to the house. As visitors approach the yard, thunder and lightning can be heard and seen from above as a haunting voice warns visitors, "Dead men tell no tales..." Two cannons extending from the side of the "ship" appear to fire upon the onlookers as the cannons light up and smoke bellows out of the cannon shafts.

Souls brave enough to approach the house are greeted by a skeleton pirate atop a barrel, holding jewels and necklaces and a sign warning visitors to board at their own risk. A wooden gangplank and pilings lead guests past an animated pirate zombie and to the deck, shared by two wise-cracking skeleton gunners and their fearsome captain, Billy Bones, with sword drawn. The crew entertains visitors with musical renditions of "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)", "Shiver My Timbers", and an original version of "Hoist the Colours", and they warn guests to watch their step and to keep their ruddy hands away from the captain's booty.

Closer to the front door, the torso of an unlucky crew member hangs in chains, spinning continuously. Meanwhile, a seemingly possessed and well-chained crate begins to move and shake as an eerily red glow and smoke seethe from inside.

Only the bravest youngsters are able to meet the first mate, Red Dawg, who rewards them with a handsome treat.

Next year promises to be another piratically fun Halloween with even more surprises.

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