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July 24, 2014

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An uninvited witch tries to make her way into the party via the fireplace.

Originally published: 2013-10-31 12:21:35
Last modified: 2013-10-31 12:21:35

Pohles throw elaborate party for Halloween

Most people would choose Christmas or their birthday when asked what their favorite holiday of the year is.

Linda Pohle is not most people.

Linda and her husband Bob are Halloween enthusiasts, and every other year the Blowing Rock couple host one of the most elaborate private Halloween parties in the nation.

“This is the highlight of my year, or every other year,” said Linda Pohle. “I just live for this party.”

In preparation for the biennial shindig, the Pohles begin to decorate their house well before the end of October.

“The Pohles only have this party every other year because it is so elaborate,” said Mark Crowell, the lead decorator for the Pohles for more than a decade. “Linda buys a lot of new decorations when they go on sale after the Halloween season is over. Each year is different, with a different theme.”

According to Crowell, he has been working on this year’s decorations since mid-September. The party has a skeleton birthday theme, with plenty of bony guests both outside and inside the Pohle’s house.

“They used to have a haunted trail in addition to the decorations on the inside and outside of the house,” said Crowell. “But we could never get the weather to cooperate for people to walk the trail.”

The Pohle’s unique party is an invitation only affair, with the lucky guests receiving their invitations through the mail. This year the invitations were printed on a scroll of paper that was sealed with red wax and mailed in a black tube.

Leading up the house, guests will encounter skeletons of all sizes, including some “Children of the Corn” skeletons ready to attack with gardening implements.

Once guests enter the haunted house on the hill, they will be treated to scary light shows, macabre displays and plenty of eerie music and sound effects.

The Pohles’ party also features a photo room where guests can have the snapshot taken with several of the terrifying tomb’s scariest characters.

“The theme this year is Mr. Skeleton’s Birthday Party,” said Crowell. “As you can see, some of the uninvited guests have tried to make their way into the house. There’s a witch who is flying through the fireplace from the chimney and others who are peeking in from outside.”

Even the food at the Pohles’ party has an unmistakable Halloween theme. Catered by the Best Cellar, the dinner course features barbecued short ribs with the bones sticking through a simmering bloodlike sauce, mashed and roasted acorn squash with blackened skin.

Recycled brains

In the mad scientist’s laboratory in the Pohle’s house, guests will encounter a number of gruesome experiments underway. Many of them utilize sculptures of the human brain.

“We were able to get a number of recycled brains from an art exhibit at the Turchin Center in Boone,” said Crowell.

That exhibit, by Polish artist Jedrzej Stepak, was titled “Poland III: Spaces of the Brain,” and was a site-specific installation piece at ASU’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts from July 2013 through June 2013.

The installation was part of “a series of five shows presenting a multi-layered viewpoint of the different aspects of contemporary Polish art.”

“One of the fun parts of visiting the mad scientist lab is that everybody has to have a shot from one of the magic potions in the test tubes,” said Linda Pohle.

To commemorate the party, Pohle hires a professional photographer to document the gathering and then creates a book about the affair, which she sends to all of her guests.

“This party is the light of my life,” said Pohle, “even if it is a little dark.”

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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