Lebold Mansion Prepares For Halloween

A famous Abilene landmark is planning several days of Halloween-themed events.

According to officials at the Lebold Mansion, local businesses and Abilene schools are part of Halloween preparations underway.  Last year, more than 2,000 visited the mansion on Halloween night, waiting for up to two hours in a line several blocks long. This year, owner Joseph Tatner is planning weekend events (including open house) so Halloween night can focus on children seeking a spooky good time and candy.

“I noticed that only about 20% of last year’s visitors were kids trick-or-treating,” Mr. Tatner explains. “And so many people said they wanted to visit but couldn’t wait in that long line, so I’ve expanded Halloween to include events all weekend, including two open house days. I’m hoping this will give more people a chance to see the mansion decorated in all its spooky glory. Like last year, I’ve involved the local schools and businesses.”

This past weekend, Lisa from Rivendell Bookstore in Abilene (rivendellbookstore.indielite.org) began decorating the dining room. Rivendell won the Dickinson Country storefront Halloween decorating contest last year and is pulling out all the stops for the mansion. Science Teacher Mitchell Burkett and student Gabriela Guillen (Project Coordinator for the National Honor Society) brought lab bottles, beakers, and other “sciency” stuff to create a Mad Scientist laboratory in the Lebold library. Later this week, Joan Hirsch of Hirsch Real Estate (hirschrealestater.com) will return to decorate the lawn as a spooky graveyard. Joseph even figured out how to rig the horse-drawn hearse for Kevin Brown to offer hearse rides by Rocking B Carriage (rockingbcarriage.com). Mr. Tatner is also sponsoring the Abilene Middle School pumpkin-carving contest again, with food coupon prizes donated by Tossed n Sauced, Original Grande, McDonalds, Arby’s, and Sips. He began the contest last year upon learning a previous mansion owner stole pumpkins off other people’s porches.

Abilene’s traditional trick-or-treat walk will again include the Lebold Mansion, brought to life by Gomez Addams himself (owner Joseph Tatner) and his creepy/kooky family. Abilene traditionally blocks off NW 3rd Street to protect costumed kids out for the evening, and Vine Street was added to the street closure last year, leading to the Lebold Mansion as the grand finale of the evening. Mr. Tatner also has arranged to have Salina Septic Service (salinasepticservice.com) provide porta-potties again so trick-or-treaters from all over the area can find relief. Two will be decorated for Halloween on the lawn and three will be available to use on the edge of the mansion property. The mansion will be open for trick-or-treaters from 6 to 10pm on Monday evening, but this year, the Halloween fun starts on Friday, October 28!

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Joseph is hosting “Ghost Tours” of all floors at 6 and 8pm. Unlike the standard tours, Ghost Tours will feature ghost stories of the mansion’s past, behind-the-scenes insight to the special effects that turn the second floor into a fiery inferno, plus an explanation of ghost hunting techniques and equipment by Afterlife Paranormal Research Society. Each tour lasts up to two hours, reservations are required, and a $15 donation per person is requested (as always, no one is refused entry if they can’t afford a donation). On Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 to 5:30pm, Mr. Tatner will personally host an open house to anyone who wants to see the first-floor decorated rooms. No candy will be given out during the open house times, and there is no suggested donation (although anyone wishing to throw a dollar or two into the donation/mail box will be greatly appreciated).

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Lebold Mansion photo: Lisa from Rivendell Bookstore in Abilene sets up the spooky dining room.