A&J’s Halloween House returns with a letter-perfect display
The folks who live along South Clement Avenue a few blocks south of Kinnickinnic know it’s coming. It’s happened so often that Halloween-heads around Milwaukee make it a must-visit. Somehow, that doesn’t diminish the impact of seeing what Andy Reid and Jamie Beauchamp-Reid come up with every year.
Those spirited residents of 2943 S. Clement Ave. have once again brought to life the thrilling spectacle known as A&J’s Halloween House. This year, their creativity took a wicked turn with the introduction of an interactive creation: the “Wheel of MisFortune,” a macabre game that delivers a spine-chilling spin on the long-running television show.
In a departure from the conventional charm of Vanna White, the bewitching Elvira takes her place as the co-host of this sinister setup. The week that we were there, Andy introduced us to the contestants, “iconic Halloween movie icons: Dracula, Wolfman, Mummy and Frankenstein” The touch of classic horror set the stage for a week of suspense that kept onlookers guessing — and will continue to do so in the weeks ahead.
The way Andy and Jamie set up the display this year, mysterious letters materialize on the board as the days pass, revealing little pieces of a puzzle that puts the neighborhood on the edge of their seats. By Friday, the answer is plain for everyone to see, pulling in young and old alike to buzz with excitement over the ever-changing scenery.
At the heart of the spectacle stands a fully motorized Wheel of MisFortune, its numbers bearing a striking resemblance to infamous locations like The Munsters’ 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Instead of mundane outcomes like bankruptcy, this wheel offers fates far more sinister. You could land on the dreaded "Death," or end up slightly luckier by winning a nightmare vacation at The Shining’s Overlook Hotel or a spine-chilling getaway to Psycho’s Bates Motel.
With all the competitions on our screens these days, the consequence of merely losing a game is far from thrilling. Losing your life? Truly chilling.
Of course, there’s one audience member outside of the living onlookers. Amidst the display sits a skeleton in an armchair, savoring a feast straight out of Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s cookbook: liver with fava beans (and a nice Chianti, of course). As he dines, he indulges in the more conventional nostalgia of Wheel of Fortune Halloween reruns from the 1980s.
With each spin of the wheel and every revealed letter, A&J’s Halloween House becomes a thrilling experience that captures the essence of Halloween's spooky delights. What makes this spine-tingling display even more extraordinary, however, is its purpose.
One-hundred percent of the donations raised from this bewitching spectacle go directly to Pathfinders, an empowerment and support organization for homeless and abused youth. A collection box conveniently sits on site, inviting visitors to contribute to this noble cause. For those preferring online transactions, a digital portal awaits, ensuring the spirit of giving continues to thrive alongside the Halloween chills.