The garden of a Dublin home will be a ghoulish graveyard this Halloween with moving zombies, skeletons, witches, ghostly grannies and even a giant smoke-billowing dragon.
But it is all in a good cause as Killiney man Ken Carraher transforms his home into a house of horrors to help raise money for the skin charity Debra Ireland.
Debra supports the 300 people in Ireland with ‘butterfly skin’ disease EB (epidermolysis bullosa).
This rare and incredibly painful genetic condition causes the skin, both inside and out, to blister and wound at the slightest touch.
Starting off 20 years ago with just two mannequins, Ken now has thousands of animated props in his ‘spooktacular’ collection.
And over four nights of the Halloween period, October 28 to 31, some 5,000 people will have a frightful time at his home at Bayview Court, Killiney Hill.
“It’s a little bit scary and a little bit nice, we don’t want to be scaring the life out of little children,” said Ken.
His animated garden of horrors does, however, include a fine selection of mummies, Frankensteins, the odd Dracula, an animated granny rocking a baby skeleton, numerous ound, light and smoke machines and his very own fire breathing dragon.
“Our dragon is around seven-foot long and smoke billows from his nostrils.”
Visitors to Ken’s house of horrors are not charged, but they are encouraged to make a donation and over the past seven years Ken’s crew have raised €36,500 for Debra Ireland.
“Debra really are a fantastic charity which does great work. Not many people know about EB, but when I began to learn more and meet the patients who have this truly awful skin condition, I wanted to do something to help.”
Ken paid tribute to his friends and neighbours in Killiney, many of who help out over the Halloween period.
“We have a whole team who help set up the display, welcome visitors and help with traffic and parking.”
Visitors to his house of horrors all receive sweets and treats on the night, supplied by Ken, his friendly neighbours and confectionary company donations.
Over the years, Ken has spent thousands of Euro on props, lighting and treats for his visitors.
He says his wife Gail is a patient woman who tolerates his hobby, while daughter Aoife has grown up with a collection of ghouls in the garden.
“I really enjoy the fun and excitement around Halloween and the fact that we can help support a great charity like Debra Ireland makes it even better.”
Ken’s Halloween House can be found at 5 Bayview Court, Killiney Hill Road, Killiney. Visitors are welcome from 4-8pm October 28-30 and 4-9pm on Halloween night October 31.