Amber Sprinkle says that when her family does something it likes to go all out. That at least partly explains why her childhood home on North High Street in Hillsboro is the brightest in town whenever Halloween and Christmas roll around.
“Everyone seems to love it and all the family gets involved, too,” said Sprinkle, a 2000 Hillsboro High School graduate. “I think we’re all very similar in that aspect of our personalities. We usually go over the top, or we don’t do it.”
Sprinkle’s childhood home is located at 434 N. High St. where her mother and stepfather, Kim and James McKown, still live. Sprinkle no longer lives there, but she’s the one who does the vast majority of the decorating. She also decorates, although not as lavishly, for the Fourth of July.
“My mom and dad (Steve Brethauer), when we were little they would decorate for the holidays. As we got older me and my brother (the late David Brethauer) took it over, but I was the ringleader. A lot of the reason we do it is the enjoyment the community gets out of it. That’s the main motivation. Everyone seems to enjoy it. A lot of kids say things to us at trick-or-treat and a lot of people comment to my stepdad about it because he’s a dentist and the one that interacts with the public the most.”
It was when she was in her late teens or early 20s, Sprinkle said, that she started decorating the outside of her childhood home. She said that she and those who help her keep the layout pretty much the same, but add a little more each year.
“I usually wait until after Christmas and then hit the clearance sales,” she said. “The day after Christmas I am everywhere getting lights and stuff, and mom does, too, whenever she can find something.”
Decorating for Halloween is the most time consuming, Sprinkle said. She starts getting things together, and her husband, Travis, starts making props in mid September. She said that once everything is ready it takes about a week, working most hours of the day, to set everything up. She said her mom helps out about three hours a day during that week.
“I had someone tell me it’s too much,” Sprinkle said. “I told them they need to get out and walk through it because you’ll catch all kinds of little scenes you can’t see unless you’re up close.”
She said the public is welcome to walk through the front yard and take a closer look.
“I hope they do because I like them to see everything,” she said.
The Christmas decorations take about three days to put up. She said that’s usually done the first three days in December. This year she had help from her aunt, Marcy Laffen, and in past years she had help from Chrissi Murphy.
The Halloween decorations usually come down the first Monday after Halloween, weather permitting, and the Christmas decorations come down after New Year’s, although that varies. They came down a little earlier last year when there was a 60-degree day in late December.
Sprinkle said she gets her love of decorating from her mother. She said she plans to keep decorating and adding to the display year after year.
“I love decorating anything, whether it’s for parties, the holidays or landscaping. Anything that has a design to it, that’s what I love to do,” said Sprinkle, adding, “We may add to it, modify it here and there, change it up in some ways. But as long as we can do it, we will.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.