PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Every October, for the last thirteen years, Bay County resident Joseph Mandeville has gone all out for Halloween.
He started decorating his yard in 2006 with one small faux cemetary, three little graves and pine-straw hill.
“But as each year goes by the Halloween stuff becomes half-price and then 60% off, then 80% off and then that’s when I come in there and swoop it all up, stick it in the shed, put it in storage, wait until next year, bring it all out. While everybody else is buying brand new, I already got my stuff ready to go,” he said.
His small cemetery has now grown into two, with several new additions each and every year.
“It’s like a haunted house, and he’s done a great job,” neighbor Caroline Youngberg said. “Every year he adds a little more to it.”
Another neighbor and friend, Jamaal Smith, also looks forward to Mandeville’s display each year.
“I see my friend like around the holidays, putting up these little creepy-looking things and I’m like, ‘let me go down there and film it.’ And then like, it just draws kids to the area, and I’m a big kid myself,” Smith said. “So I think it’s really cool.”
Not only is it a hobby for Mandeville, but it’s also a way for him to give back to his community.
“Hurricane Michael not only took everybody’s lives, you know, the basically livelihoods: took their homes, had to make them relocate,” he said. “And now it’s like, there’s really nothing for people to want to do anymore. So I do this for the kids.”
The storm put a major damper on his display last year.
“I had a lot of stuff out and then Hurricane Michael comes, and then two hours time I had to remove all of this stuff and frantically get ready for the hurricane,” he said.
He didn’t put his decorations back out after the storm because he says the community was so distraught.
“People were gone. People weren’t, you know, really interested in Halloween after a category five hurricane,” he said. “But this year is different. Now, this year, they talk about building back strong. This is the way you celebrate Halloween after a category five hurricane blew away your last one.”
On Halloween night, Mandeville will be decked out in costume and will be giving out about 100 goodey-bags on first-come, first-serve basis.
So drive out to Peters Drive in Panama City to get your treat, if you dare.