Building a village is something I enjoy doing each year. For me, the most creative part of the process is grouping the houses and accessories together to form a realistic landscape. This involves searching for lichen in autumn colors, swampy green and Spanish moss, rocks, tile and more.

If you would like to gain some tips and share your knowledge, then Building New Worlds is a great social networking site devoted to all aspects of villaging, including different brands such as Lemax.

I have met many people here who I have learned techniques from. I am always curious to see how other people interpret the village scenes. Jeanny, a village enthusiast from the Netherlands who particpates on the site. She describes her process below.

halloween village

A burnt orange sunset sets the scene for this macabre village


“I started the background as a painting for my daughter. I looked at it and thought … this will be a great background for a Halloween display. So I painted very quickly the sides. I used acrylic paint, which is easy to use and dries very quickly. I cut the foam in pieces so the fit into the shape of the background. I made everything black, even the plants.

I only have four houses for Halloween. In Holland, we do not celebrate it, so looking at the American, I had a little idea how to do it. The road is made of little stones, which is what I bought at the garden center. Also, the plants and trees.  The tree on the right I made myself. The houses are all from Department 56 and the coach as well. The moss is all the came color as the heather in the background. We can buy moss in every color we want, but it is not real moss. The black dog is from a dollhouse shop.”

Here are a few pictures from the 2010 Department 56 Snow Village Halloween display. It has grown so large that the village seems real now, so I thought a little narrative would add to the characters. Please feel free to share your village pictures and tips in the comment area below.

Lights from the village emit a warm and inviting glow. I visit this village once a year, around Halloween. This is what I see: One orange light flickers against the walls of an eerie lighthouse that is haunted by a glow-in-the-dark ghost. Six skeletons guard the entrance to a cave and buried treasure. Captain Black Bart’s Ghost is surely not afraid, since he drowned with his crew long ago. The skeletons sway in the wind and some stand at attention. I guess these are some of the ship’s crew. 

The ship has a name on it, Spooky Schooner. I thought it resembled the Mary Celeste, a haunted ship. Maniacal laughter and a foghorn blast from the ship. I’m getting out of here!

Skeleton Crew

Skeletons guard the cave's entrance

A monstrous orange sea creature is on view at Monsters of the Deep Museum. Rotten fishy smells waft over from the poor caretaker’s bucket. I wonder if he is delivering food to the nautical nightmares housed in the museum? Even more curiosities are on display at Grimsly’s House of Oddities. A strange family greets visitors. A grim woman holds a bat umbrella to shade her from the sun while two-headed twins and a creepy boy with a pet dragon scowl at passersby.

Monster Museum

Two strange museums lure visitors


Miners are busy at work as a wayward Frankenstein and his bride zoom by on a motorcycle. The couple took a break from entertaining guests at Castle Blackstone on top of the hill and decided to take a scenic drive alongside a road lined with pine trees.

Another skeletal cyclist is out for the day on a blacktop road that leads out of town. But I think it is a dead end …

motorcycle skeleton

This skeleton is bone to be wild

coal miners

Coal miners toil along the track

Ned and Ted take a break from work at the tool factory to enjoy some drinks from the Witch’s Brew Pub in downtown Halloween City. 

brew pub

The boys take a break from work at Witch's Brew Pub

Screaming voices carry outside the theater. I wonder what bloodcurdling movie is showing? Even the pumpkins are scary outside of LaGhosti Theater. This one has sharp pointy teeth and shares a bench with a black cat. 

pumpkin bench

This pumpkin and cat share a bench outside the theater

It seems like everyone is out on the town tonight. The Candy Cauldron is doing the most business, naturally. Gummy worms rise from the cauldron, sending a sweet and fruity fragrance out on the night air. Lollipops dot the yard and a chocolate spider dangles from under the roof, sending out warm waves of milk chocolate scent. Licorice, hard-shell candy and taffy entice from the windows and entrance. Ghosts in cauldrons serve as streetlights. Is that a huge walking, talking candy corn ahead? No, it’s just a neighborhood kid dressed in a candy costume. How appropriate!

candy cauldron

Children flock to the Candy Cauldron

Madame Zelda is busy working on a new display for her wax museum. You never know what to expect next. The Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein, Dracula, a mummy and a man trying to break out of the window light up the storefront. 

Zelda's Wax Museum

Zelda works on another display

A carnival set up on the east side of town keeps revelers bathed in a sea of purple and orange light. I waited in line quite a while for a ride on the Ghostly Carousel, but it looks like it is occupied. What’s that? A witch with steel-gray hair laughed as she rounded the corner, and a skeleton is right behind her. Oh well, maybe some of the humans will be able to enjoy a ride once these ghouls have had their fun.

Ghostly Carousel ride

Monsters have a ball at the carnival

I feel a little lost here. Wait. There’s a sign up ahead . A skeleton figure holds an umbrella with wires poking out. He looks chilled to the bone. The raven on the sign posts shakes the rain off his purple-black feathers. Let’s see. The landmark spots are Grimsly Estate, Haunted Rails and Creepy Creek. 

Wow, what a huge mansion on the hill. Witches, ghosts and creatures of the night appear to be dancing in a circle of revolving yellow light that is coming from the mansion window. It looks harmless enough with trick-or-treaters holding out their bags to the homeowners. They are wearing Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein costumes. At least I hope they are costumes. 

haunted mansion
Another mansion doesn’t look so friendly. The name says Grimsly Manor, and it’s no wonder. A creepy couple waits with treats, but I don’t think anyone is going to want these. A rat is on the slouching older woman’s tray. 

I certainly don’t see any trick-or-treaters here, but it looks like a vampire strolling on the grounds may join them. An eerie melody plays around the grounds and crypt area. 


Grimsly Manor

Somber hosts await at Grimsly Manor

A corpse couple plays this tune on a coffin-shaped piano.

Corpse Bride piano duet
A man named Gravely the butler holds out a wormy bowl of candy at his estate. I can’t believe anyone would want this who is human, unless they want to cleanse their palate of the sweet and gooey treats back in town. 

gravely estate
Trick-or-treaters crawl the neighborhood lawns like beetles wriggling around a freshly dug grave. 

Little Space Explorers

Little space explorers walk past a manicured lawn

trick or treaters

A group of trick-or-treaters amble down a cracked sidewalk

ghoul school

These little tykes take lessons at Ghoul School

Hauntsburg House

The un-welcome mat is surely just for Halloween

Lights begin to fade as this more upscale part of town turns into weedy, dusty paths that lead to what some say is a toxic waste area. Dead Creek runs alongside Dead Creek Mill and the swamp. Jazz plays from three zombies set up outside the Voodoo Lounge. 

A waiter with one glowing eye and a sinister smile ambles outside to the trio for break in between songs. The constant mist emanating from Foggy Point clouds my vision. 

voodoo lounge

The Zombies play outside of Voodoo Lounge

Foggy point

A skeleton fishes from Foggy Point

hocus pocus witch

Swampy hocus pocus witch stirs her brew

Creepy Creek

An old hermit strolls along Creepy Creek Bridge

I finally found the Creepy Creek Bridge and crossed it to find the friendly orange and green farmland. Orange because so many fields and leaves have yielded their orange leaves and golden corn, green fields and scarecrows. Screech Owl Farm was selling their harvest of gourds and pumpkins, and a farm down the lane lets you pick your own pumpkins.

screech owl farm

Pumpkins are for sale at Screech Owl Farm

pumpkin patch

Pick your own pumpkin

feeding the chickens

Eunice feeds her chickens at Screech Owl Farm

Well, it’s time to leave the Halloween Village and get back to the real world. I will take the next train out of Rickey Railroad Station. This train has a glowing pumpkin leading the way with black smoke coming out of the lid. I hope you join me next year for new adventures!

Rickety Railroad Station

Passengers wait to board Rickety Railroad train