Vinnie Seplesky and Julie O’Connor take Halloween seriously.
For more than a decade, they have decorated the front of their Gulfport home at 2020 Gray St. S. with skeletons and zombies and other scary creations that populate their “cemetery.”
“I’m not a macabre kind of guy,” says Seplesky. “I don’t watch horror movies. I haven’t seen ‘Halloween,’ but every year I look forward to the display and have to improve on it.”
Seplesky and O’Connor are sticklers for authenticity, visiting local cemeteries to collect moss for their trees. Seplesky bought some of the smaller gravestones online, but made the larger ones himself. He says he learned from YouTube videos, then prints the fonts to transfer to the Styrofoam tombstones. The effect is surprisingly realistic.
The couple has won awards from the city for their Halloween decorations a few times, but they haven’t entered the contest in recent years.
This year’s Halloween is different, and Seplesky needed an outlet for his creativity. A bass player for over 30 years, Seplesky plays with three or four local bands, including T.C Carr & the Bolts of Blue, which is his main band. Due to COVID-19, the gigs have dried up.
“They’ve opted out of working until this is over,” he says. “Like many other people, I haven’t worked since COVID. I’ve been doing some recording sessions. It’s a little hard to stay motivated. I miss live music, asking another bass player what strings they’re using during a break.”
Halloween this year is different in other ways for Seplesky and O’Connor. They are used to hosting a large gathering for friends, with music, food and drinks and giving candy to trick or treaters who stop by for a scare. All that has been put on hold.
“We encourage people to drive by and look, but we’re not giving out candy this year,” says Seplesky.
Vinnie and Julie say they will still find a way to celebrate and provide a ghoulish scare for those who walk or drive by their home.
“We usually have a lot of people, music going,” says O’Connor. “This year, we’re having groups of six to eight invited friends make appointments to stop by. We’re serious about Halloween.”