It wouldn’t be Halloween without the Wengels

The elaborate decorations this couple spend months erecting in their yard each year have become such a Fredonia tradition that if they’re not up by the beginning of October, people start asking questions
Ozaukee Press staff

For the last seven years in Fredonia, one constant has been the elaborate Halloween displays in front of Craig and Kara Wengel’s house on Fredonia Avenue.

This year, passersby are treated to a skeleton carnival, complete with merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, a strong man skeleton,  a ticket booth with a skeleton selling tickets and a skeleton manning a real working popcorn maker and handing out bags of popcorn with “spiders in it,” Craig said.

It’s something the Wengels have done every Halloween season, beginning 10 years ago when they lived in Saukville and decided to treat their neighbors to a little weird whimsy.

“We had monsters all over the place that first time. I just thought it would make people happy and smile,” he said. “It’s become a passion.”

They start building the displays, which fill their front yard, in June or July and put them up the last week of September or the first week of October, he said.

“It’s a long process. But we enjoy doing it,” said Craig, 56.

It’s a family affair too, as their grandson Seely, 9, and granddaughter Remy, 6, help each year.

Fredonians can set their calendar by the Wengels’ efforts.

“If we don’t put it out the first week of October, we have a lot of people asking,” he said.

When Craig turned 50 six years ago at about the same time, Kara, 58, threw a big birthday party for him, which pushed back the day they could erect the display.

Village residents noticed.

“Everybody was asking her what was going on,” Craig said. “We got it up a week later than usual.”

People in town take walks to view the displays up close, and it’s traditional for school bus drivers to stop and let the kids enjoy the sight.

Craig said they usually get two years out of a display, with some modifications the second year.

For example, this year’s carnival, which was Kara’s brainchild, will return next year but with a rotating merry-go-round, he said.

Their most popular display was a giant pirate ship a few years ago. Craig said he plans on bringing it back in 2024, but bigger and better.

“Everybody loved the pirate ship. They’re always asking when I’m going to do the pirate ship again.

When trick or treat rolls around from 4 to 7 pm. Saturday, Oct. 29, the Wengels and their carnival will be there waiting with more surprises.

Craig wouldn’t say anymore.

“My wife is building something and I’ll dress up and hand out candy in my yard,” he said.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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