Jesse Jones in front of his home in Oakwood. Photo by Brett Villena. 

Why do you go all out for Halloween?

When I was growing up, my dad saw [Halloween] as a waste of money. It wasn’t a religious thing, but we just didn’t really do it. Sometimes you felt kind of left out when other kids were getting dressed up and had cool costumes.

I’ve always been able to create crazy stuff, so I always wanted to do something for Halloween. Now my dad comes and participates and he thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world.

You put up a lot of frightening decorations—is there anything that scares you?

Growing up, I had a really bad fear of witches. [My mom] used to dress up as a witch and scare us and do kind of strange things. She thought it was cool, but as a kid [it scared me]. Until I was in high school, I had to have a light on and I couldn’t see a witch or I would get really upset.

The cool thing about it is I married a witch. One of the [decorations] on my house is [a sign that] says, “The wicked witch does live here.” That’s directed specifically at [my wife, Sue]. She does not like the Halloween production; she says my front yard looks like Walmart threw up. And I tell her, “You can’t get this stuff at Walmart, honey.”

Are there any new decorations you’re excited about this year?

[This year], I’m making a whole pirate skeleton scene on one side of my house. When I finish it, it’s gonna be dedicated to my mom. My mom had severe schizophrenia her entire life and she was obsessed with pirates. She died four months ago, so it’s still close.

What do you like about celebrating each year?

If you come to my house on Halloween, you see every race, every nationality, every religion, everybody’s there. It’s so cool to see that. I think Halloween shows people, Hey, this person is exactly the same as you. The only thing different is their skin color, but when they’re dressed in a costume, you can’t tell.

I’m also the lawyer for the Harnett County NAACP, and I do a lot of civil rights cases. With Trump, it got so bad, I have made political statements [with the decorations]. Now that Trump’s gone, I’m trying to cut back because I want everybody to come to my house, not just the progressive liberals; I want the right-wing conservatives to come also.

What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?

I grew up in a big family, so I love being around children. The same kids from the neighborhood come by every day and help me decorate. Every year, the same children come to visit. 

You know what the best thing is? When you see this family you know struggles in life and they show up in costumes they made with cardboard boxes and reusable products. You see those costumes, the ones that are handmade, and you’re just like, “Man, that’s the prettiest costume I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” 

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