GSWNH_SamFlores_102023

Bedlam on 66th Street

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West Lawn ‘graveyard’ casts ghoulish glow

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By Tim Hadac

Not to be outdone by the popular Carnevil on 64th Street, Sammy Flores continues to create “bedlam” on 66th Street.

His annual front-lawn display, the Ghost of Billy Bedlam’s Boneyard, seems to be gaining gawkers each year, despite its being situated on a dead-end street (the 4500 block of West 66th Street).

GSWNH SamFlores 102023

Sammy Flores and the Ghost of Billy Bedlam’s Boneyard, in the 4500 block of West 66th Street. –Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Cosmo Hadac

“I really enjoy doing this for the neighborhood,” Flores said. “It gets bigger each year, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Since Flores moved in seven years ago, he has decorated his front yard in a haunted graveyard style every Halloween.

A bit of a Halloween hobbyist, he has expanded his set-up every year. Currently, the graveyard includes a number of tombstones, an eight-foot spider, and eight-foot Grim Reaper, a 12-foot skeleton, and a 19-foot demon—all supplemented by skeletons coming out of the ground and a fog machine to create a swamp-like, eerie effect.

“And my best friend lives next door to me, so I use his front lawn,” Flores added.

The 35-year-old West Lawn homeowner grew up in Chicago Lawn, near 64th and Spaulding. Flores’ mother, the late Diana, got him hooked on the fun of Halloween decorating. Her birthday was in October, so Flores’ decorating in 2023 is partly a tribute to her.

As a boy, Flores thoroughly enjoyed Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller” but admits he was initially afraid of the epic video that starred Jackson and was narrated by Vincent Price.

But for several years, he dressed as the King of Pop on Halloween, complete with red jacket and red pants.

A few years later, he grew to like the video. “I knew all the dance steps you see in the video,” he recalled. “I was really into it.”

Those who want to see the Ghost of Billy Bedlam’s Boneyard in all its ghoulish glory are advised to pass by nightly, from dusk (around 6:45 p.m.) to midnight. That’s when Flores keeps it lit.

On Halloween itself, Flores plans to be in grave-keeper costume on his front lawn from 5 to 9 p.m., passing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

His friends may join him, as may his wife, Nelly, and their family dog (a black-and-white Pomeranian named Wednesday Addams Flores).

Flores reports his wife is “supportive, though she thinks I’m a bit crazy, that maybe it’s gone a bit too far,” he says with a bit of a laugh.

He added that any neighborhood children in Halloween costumes are welcome to join him on his lawn on the 31st.

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