Christmas or Halloween, the Cronenberg home on Cypress Wood Lane is a popular “drive-by,” known for its imaginative and brightly lit holiday displays. But if you’re out and about the next few weeks, don’t just cruise past; stop your car, roll down your window, and listen to the music as the lights dance in rhythm to the holiday music.
It takes Kelly Cronenberg the better part of a week to decorate his home and yard. In late November he starts pulling the decorations from a storage area above his garage.
First the garland is draped from the fence which divides the Cronenberg home from the Garnet Mesa Estates park to the north. Bright red bows are spaced evenly along the greenery.
Next comes Kelly’s favorite — the village. Colorful metallic elves add a splash of color during the daytime. With just a little imagination, you can picture the elves stringing lights on the trees in the forest.
This year, Kelly is beginning a conversion to LED lights. He started with a string of blue lights outlining the two-story house; over the weekend he attached strands of icicle lights to the roofline. Kelly’s wife Monica searched the Internet for LED icicle lights which would “morph” from white to blue.
By converting to LED lights, the Cronenbergs hope to slash their electric bill by half, while spending less time replacing the old incandescent bulbs. “I hope to get 10 years or more out of these LED lights,” Kelly said.
After 10 years of decorating their home on Cypress Wood Lane, the Cronenbergs believe their display is complete. Purchases from here on out will be to replace old or broken components.
“I think there’s not really much else we could do,” Kelly said. “We add here and there, but the theme stays the same. I don’t think I need to buy any more, unless something just totally jumps out.”
Inside, the Cronenbergs are content with a Christmas tree in the corner of the living room and a string of lights draped from the banister. It’s through their outdoor display that they create a magical Christmas scene for everyone to enjoy.
As an employee of the City of Delta, and before that the City of Montrose, Kelly spends his work hours decorating for the holidays. That doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm for lighting up his own home; he tries to squeeze in an hour after work every night, while also finding time to design and build his church’s Parade of Lights entry.
As Kelly’s collection of lights, garland, trees and imaginative displays grows, he lays more boards across the trusses to expand the storage area above his garage. He’s got to have room for his Halloween displays, as well.
Always a popular neighborhood for Halloween trick-or-treaters, Garnet Mesa Estates is a “must-see” for young and old who want to see what the Cronenbergs come up with each year.
“We started out basic, with black plastic enclosing the porch,” Kelly said. When he was in middle school, Gavin Cronenberg would hide behind the wall of plastic, operating a remote control rat that startled people walking up to the front door. Soon cobwebs appeared in the corners of the porch, spiders dangled overhead, and a witch hovered over her cauldron. The Cronenbergs were delighted to find a sound-activated dancing broom to add an element of surprise to the witch’s corner. In response to any noise, it would start moving to eerie music.
“Christmas is great, but at Halloween you get to interact with the kids. You’re passing out candy, you’re seeing the kids’ faces,” Kelly said. “Some kids don’t even put out their trick-or-treat bags. They want to look at what’s going on. The moms have to prompt them, ‘Say trick or treat.’ ”
“It’s nice to see the people up close and hear their comments.”
The Cronenberg kids, Madelynne, Garreth and Gavin, and their friends get into the spirit, activating the remote control elements of the Halloween display.
“This year we added a lot,” Kelly said. Leafing through Halloween magazines, he and Monica picked up ideas for 3-D trees, a picket fence and an interactive casket, all of which Kelly built. He laid out a pathway which led the trick-or-treaters through a graveyard and up to the front porch, which was totally enclosed in black plastic. The haunted house atmosphere was frightening for some kids, until they gathered courage to poke their heads inside. Then they were captivated by the flashing lights and moving displays.
“Our Halloween display is still growing,” Kelly said. Seasonal stores and magazines are full of great ideas which the Cronenbergs are excited to see materialize in their front yard. It won’t be long before the Cronenberg kids are asked by their classmates, “What’s your house going to look like this year?”