Controversy surrounds Halloween decorations in Naperville

A Halloween display that drew 35-thousand visitors last year to a Naperville subdivision may have to be trimmed back this year.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A Halloween display that drew 35-thousand visitors last year to a Naperville subdivision may have to be trimmed back this year.

Nick Thomas’s extravaganza has drawn national attention and turned into an internet sensation with videos on youtube racking up two million views.

But because the display has grown over the years, and draws so many visitors, some neighbors have now raised complaints.

“No one's saying stop, no one saying you got to stop your passion, it's just can you tone it down,” said neighbor Freeman Smith.

Smith and others were concerned about the major traffic that is drawn to the neighborhood during the Halloween season, and the potential dangers to all the trick-or-treaters.

“This is his deal, this is his hobby, he really enjoys it, and so do a lot of the people here,” said neighbor Jim Jandick, whose children have helped put up the display and synchronize the music and light display.

Because of the complaints, the Ashbury Homeowners Association proposed limiting those decorations to just 50-percent of a person's lawn and restricting setup to just 30 days before a holiday, and requiring everything to be taken down within a month after.

The question for many residents was does the association have the right do dictate what someone can do on their own property? Neighbors are torn.

“You know I'm not sure if anyone is right or wrong, I think that the holiday display is delightful, it brings a lot of joy to the children and the adults in the community in the city at large,” said Lorna London, who said she also understands the traffic concerns people have.

"When I moved in, I live right (next door), I had to buy blackening shades so I could sleep at night because there's an orange glow that comes straight into my house constantly. So when I asked him 'hey can you tone it down,' 'no,' he said, 'let’s stop being friends,'" said Freeman Smith

Nick Thomas was working and unavailable to attend the meeting, but told FOX 32 News that significant restrictions could mean an end to his elaborate displays.

“I think that would be a real bummer because it's a big thing to check out in Ashbury. Though every year, every holiday, it's always something that when you drive-by it's magical for real young kids,” said 13-year-old Adam Heppner, who has enjoyed the display for years.

Monday night in a meeting only open to subdivision residents, the homeowners’ board tabled any action, so the extravaganza may live to spook and entertain another year.

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