Halloween decorations creep up on Porterville homes

Residents of the city of Porterville begin decorating their homes for the city’s third annual Halloween Home Decorating Contest where homes can win prizes for their decorating skills

PORTERVILLE – The city of Porterville invites the community to transform their homes into spooky neighborhood sights for a Halloween contest.

The city’s parks and leisure services department is hosting their annual Halloween Home Decorating Contest for the third year in a row. The contest started in 2020 as a way to provide residents with a community activity during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Now that the shutdown is over, community interest still holds strong. Residents have started decorating their homes for this year’s contest, hoping to win a money prize in either a Judge’s Choice or a People’s Choice category. 

“It really brings people together,” Amy Graybehl, Porterville leisure services specialist, said. “We’ve gotten to see people along the trail of homes, we see them out, enjoying it with their families, and people talking about it online as they vote and it’s just really exciting to connect with community members in that way.”

Contest participants will be judged for two separate categories, the Judges Choice and People’s Choice awards. The Judges Choice will be awarded to first, second and third place winners and judging will take place between Oct. 26 to 28. Although the judges are currently undecided, Graybehl said they usually consist of community members like city council members, commissioners from the city’s arts commission and parks and leisure alike.

The second category is the People’s Choice award which will be granted by the most votes from the public through photo submissions in an online poll. According to the city’s website, this portion of the contest is optional.

Homes will be judged on visual impact, creativity and innovation, use of space, incorporation of a theme and cohesiveness. The deadline to enter the contest is Oct. 24 and there is no cost to register. According to the city’s website, contest winners will be announced on Oct. 31 on the city’s website and social media pages.

First place winners in both categories will receive gift cards in the amount of $100, with the second place winner receiving a $75 gift card and third place winner receiving a $50 gift card. The same participant is eligible to win in both People’s Choice category and the Judges Choice category, but that has not happened in prior years, according to Graybehl. 

Those interested in trying their hand at decorating can visit the city of Porterville website at www.ci.porterville.ca.us to sign up for the contest. A complete map and the photo submissions will also be available on the city of Porterville website so residents can take a look at the “spooktacular” homes in the surrounding community. Graybehl said last year’s competition yielded over 5000 views on the provided map of participating homes on the city’s website, which has yet to be posted this year.

The contest first came to be during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, according to Graybehl. She said the city wanted to provide seasonal activities for the community to enjoy while maintaining a safe distance to stay in accordance with pandemic regulations. The first year sparked some public interest with 18 total participants, which grew to 20 by the second year. Graybehl said the city anticipates the same amount of participants for this year’s contest but always hopes to see a bigger turnout.

Graybehl also said since the first Halloween Home Decorating Contest was so popular, the parks and leisure department also added a contest for the Christmas season. She said the city will continue to host both contests as long as there is community interest.

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