Panama City resident creates Halloween house display after months of planning, crafting

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — With Halloween around the corner, one Panama City resident has gone all out once again; his annual Halloween display is set up and ready to go after a year of planning and work.

Joseph Mandeville said his display attracts many families every year, some even coming from as far as Dothan and Mobile, Alabama, to see it. 

“A lot of my neighbors, you’ll notice they didn’t do much decorating because they say I do enough for everybody,” he said with a laugh.

“I can honestly say I’ve never seen one like this,” said one of his neighbors on Peters Drive, Jeffrey Wheeler. “Every year it’s bigger and better.”

Mandeville said he’s been working on this year’s display for months; hand-crafting a small, life-size cemetery in his front yard out of styrofoam and other supplies. That’s just one part, however, of a yard covered in tombstones, zombies, ghouls and more. 

“Joe’s really outdone himself this year,” Wheeler said.

“It’s hard to find someone who’s more committed to Halloween than this dude,” said Wheeler’s son, Dakota. “Every year he adds something different.”

Mandeville’s love for Halloween started when he was a kid, since he loved to create his own zombie costumes. 

“It was the only day of the year that I could be creative,” he said, adding that his costumes became so elaborate that he has won several costume costumes.

As an adult, that creativity grew into an idea when he bought his first home.

“I was like, I’m going to make my own little graveyard,” he said. “I just kept adding to it more and more.”

Now, his “little” graveyard that started with six tombstones has grown into a yard with dozens of them, many hand-painted by Mandeville to look as realistic as possible. 

“The kids love it, the adults love it,” Wheeler said. “You should see the amount of cars that come by.”

Mandeville said this year, he hopes it gives both kids and adults a fun night after two very tough years since Hurricane Michael.

“Everybody really likes it and that makes me more happy to have everybody, including the law enforcement, to say ‘hey, good job, we really like this,’” he said. “It’s a community thing, it’s really about the community.”

He and neighbors will be handing out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at 3934 Peters Drive in Panama City. Mandeville said it’s a family-friendly experience for everyone, with plenty of photo opportunities available. 

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