Mary and Carl Harbin turn their front yard into a UFO crash and alien sighting for this year’s Halloween theme
By Rebecca Bennett
You may not have heard about the UFO crash and alien sighting in Greenwood that was first spotted the last week of September. No, it’s not a government cover up, it’s a Halloween display. About a block east of Broadway and Meridian Streets in Greenwood, at 51 W. Broadway, is a unique Halloween display. Mary Harbin, a former art teacher, handmade the UFO, aliens and numerous pumpkin minions all of which are in her front yard.
She and her husband Carl, work on the display months in advance of Halloween.
Harbin says it took her a couple days to make each alien and about a week to make the UFO. She also handmade the minions, grew the gourds and other natural items found in the display in her yard. The UFO and aliens are made of cardboard and fiberglass resin.
“I put that resin on thick and painted over the resin,” she said. “It’s been out for two weeks and it’s rained for 7 days. And it has sunk a bit, but the more it sinks, the more it looks crashed. So, I’m okay with it.”
They don’t think they’ll keep or reuse the space ship, but they may reuse the aliens.
She said the pumpkin minions she made last year, but the UFO and the aliens, which were made of scrap material, she made this year.
She said she started creating the UFO and aliens in July, but she never puts the decorations up before the last week of September but she doesn’t turn anything on until closer to Halloween.
“I had one alien and ditched it. I spent six weeks on it and it just wasn’t where I wanted it to be,” she said. “So I put that alien in the compost in the back.”
But, she says after she stopped working on the first alien, she started on the next one and then completed the two aliens that are currently on display, in about a week.
Harbin and her husband plan to dress up continuing the alien theme, as Men In Black, complete with memory erasers.
“I’ve always carved pumpkins too,” she said. But the jack-o-lanterns don’t get placed outside until about a week before Halloween.
Harbin is so dedicated to the decorations that one year she had bypass surgery in October and put up the decorations a little early, just to make sure it would be ready for Halloween.
The Harbins have also passed their love for the holiday down to her children and grandchildren.
“My daughter she’s Halloween crazy like me,” she said. “She took it to New York. She’s one of the directors of the Bronx Zoo, which is the fourth largest zoo in the United States and she’s the events coordinator, so she has just finished doing the Halloween. They have boo at the zoo there.”
Her love of the season has passed to most of her family, but not everyone.
“Not my son so much, but I have two grand-divas and they are crazy for Halloween too. They’re only 3 and 6, so I’ve totally warped them,” Harbins says with a laugh.
Harbin doesn’t just have decorations in the front yard though, she’s got decorations in the backyard, in her side yard and also in her house.
She’s got several Frankenstein’s that can be seen around her house.
“He’s my favorite,” she says, while wearing a Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein cardigan.
While she says they don’t pass out anything special to trick-or-treaters, they do have some children who come back year after year to see the displays and their elaborate costumes.
The Harbin’s have dressed up elaborate costumes over the years, including costumes as Popeye and Olive Oil, Gomez and Morticia from the Addams Family, Jack and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas. Carl says they even won an award one year for their costumes.
She says in New York they have a Halloween parade, where people dress up and parade down the streets of New York, which is something she’d love to do some day.
When asked if she’s got ideas for next year, she says they decide by January what they’re going to do for next Halloween, so they have enough time to plan and gather what they may need for the next display.
“I’ve always thought I wanted to put a dragon up on the roof and have it blowing smoke out,” she said.
But but she’s hasn’t settled on what they’ll do next year yet.