At 6001 Pershing Ave. in Downers Grove, a home is hidden behind graveyard ghouls and creepy clowns this time of year, inviting residents of all ages for a spooky scare.
Tom Nybo and his wife, Sheri, own the residence and put 40 to 50 hours of time transforming their yard into a spooky Halloween walkthrough. The spooky spirit in the Nybo family didn’t begin with Tom, though, and it appears it won’t end there either, he said.
“My parents started me on haunted houses at a young age, and it’s definitely been a family thing for years,” Tom said. “I just took it to the fullest extent possible.”
As a child, Tom said his mother often made sure he had the coolest costumes, including a Dracula look that featured Vaseline he couldn’t get out of his hair for weeks. Now, much like his parents’ love for Halloween rubbed off on him, he hopes his love for the holiday will be passed down to his sons, Christian, 4, and Jack, 1.
When he and his wife moved to their home in Downers Grove, Tom immediately saw a vision. What began in 2015 has since grown into a display that features a graveyard scene, farm scene, clown tent and cemetery tent.
“I like doing stuff that makes the community happy,” Tom said. “And I like spooky scary – scary for all ages that you can get really creative about through things like lighting.”
Being spooky for all ages is important to Tom, he said, particularly as his 4-year-old son Christian continues to get more involved with the display. Tom said Christian, who already has mastered the word “animatronics,” spends his time watching Spirit Halloween Story walkthrough videos on YouTube and keeping his dad up to date on their display’s newest needs.
Most recently, Tom said, he has added a 10-by-10 carnival tent clown display, a Harvester of Souls and a 12-foot pumpkin inferno that required some extra hands to set up. Christian helps his dad keep the display fresh as the family moves the decorations and lighting regularly to create a new experience each year, Tom said.
“I just love to do it, and I look forward to it, especially now that it’s something I’m doing with my son,” Tom said.
On a busy night, Tom said he and his wife will watch about 20 to 30 families walk through the display. To trigger the animatronics at the perfect moment, they monitor the camera view from their Ring doorbell – something that makes the scares entertaining for Tom and Sheri as well as their guests.
Visitors are invited to stop by to see the light display Sundays through Thursdays from dusk to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from dusk to 10 p.m. Additional animatronics run Friday through Sunday, weather permitting.
“You can’t even see my house behind my decorations,” Tom said, laughing. “I like being the spooky house people have to find … and the neighborhood comments remind me I’m not just some crazy Halloween guy down the street.”