Interview: Dave Gugel, Halloween decorator extraordinaire!

I don’t normally do interviews of our Halloween Contest entries, but when I saw this entry, I just had to find out more! Talk about inspiration! Dave Gugel, of Davenport FL, has one of the most impressive Halloween decorated houses I’ve seen in a long time. Just check out the BEFORE/AFTER pic below. His website has pictures of the finished product for the past several years, and pictures of the construction process and the behind the scenes of how he puts it together. So I interviewed Dave to find out a little more about his house and his passion for Halloween Decor. Also, watch this space, because Dave is going to try to do a How To for Dabbled readers on one of his projects!

1. This is an incredible halloween display for a personal residence! How long have you been doing this every year? I’ve been decorating my house for about 7 years. It started with just the front yard the first 2 years, and then I moved into the living room. The inside was just setup for a personal Halloween party but so many trick-or-treaters asked if there was a haunted house inside that I thought it would be fun to allow the kids to tour the house. That was 3 years ago and I haven’t stopped yet. I had so many parents thank me for creating memories for their kids that I couldn’t let them down. Last year was the first year I added a Scare Zone for the older kids and the parents. They should be allowed to have some fun as well.

2. It looks huge– I see you have multiple areas both inside and out… Does it keep getting bigger?
It has grown over the years, but I think I have reached the size limit, I’ve ran out of yard and house. The entire front yard and facade of the house changes from a Florida home to an old abandoned Victorian-style house. The inside of the home gets a face lift as well. The living room becomes old and weathered, the breakfast nook has a creepy meal all prepared for the tasting, the kitchen becomes a witchs’ layer, and the dining room is set as a wake for a loved ones passing. This year’s addition to the side and back of the house has became the Scare Zone for the adults and older kids, complete with a corn field, butcher shop and many other frightening sites. So like I said I have reached my size limit, but my future goal is to reuse or enhance the decor I currently have. I want to always keep the kids surprised.

3. What’s your favorite part? (include pic links on flickr if you have them) My favorite part is what ever is in front of me at the time. When I start to think that something is my favorite, I enter a new area and get excited all over. I have so many very different and distinctive props that I could never say one thing is better than another. Take a look at photos of my props on Flickr!

4. Do you have a professional background in building sets, or are you just creative and handy? Do you build it all yourself, or do you have friends/family helping out? I am mostly creative and handy. All the props you see I build myself, and only take on a little help from my family when the props are to big or heavy to put up by myself.

5. Settle a bet I have with my husband, what are the faux facades (like the tower) made out of? All the facades on the house are made of 2X4’s and plywood. I want to make sure that my props withstand the Florida weather conditions since they’re up & outside for the entire month of October.

6. So anyone can come by and check this out halloween night? The house is open to trick-or-treaters of all ages from 6 to 9 pm.

Anything else you want to say? I want to thank all the Halloween home haunters on-line. They provide many resources, tutorials and inspiration that help create my home haunt.

Thanks so much, Dave, for sharing your brilliant achievement in the field of Halloween Decorating! I wish I was in Florida so I could road trip over to see it all in person!

And readers, if you’re in Florida anywhere close to Davenport, you should definitely check it out!

More of a Dabbled Halloween
All of the Dabbled Interview Series