by Sharon Fell
Unsuspecting drivers along Whitewood Road, just off state Route 21 in Brecksville, are in for a fright when they get to the home located at 8336 Whitewood Rd. The scary evidence of a funeral at a spooky graveyard and a gathering of terrifying clowns awaits passersby.
However, all is not lost, as this gruesome display is all for a good cause.
David and Kim Woodburn, the masterminds behind this Halloween diorama they have been producing for several years, work hard each fall to make the display as scary and macabre as possible. They go out of their way to add new animatronics and elements to their front yard every year.
Last year, they decided to put all their hard work to work for their favorite “pet” charity, the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter.
Both Woodburns are dog lovers and have two rescue dogs. Kim, who has been a volunteer at the animal shelter since 2016, also loves Halloween and started decorating her yard several years ago. When she married Dave, he quickly got in on the action.
In 2022, the couple figured it would be a good idea to combine their two loves and raised $2,400 for the shelter. This year the Woodburns are hoping their display will raise more than $3,000 in donations from neighbors, the community and other passers-by who take time to visit their front yard throughout the month of October.
Kim and Dave say it takes about two solid weeks to install and set up the display. This is in addition to the work they do over the summer coming up with new ideas and building out different elements. They start the installation around Labor Day.
The Woodburns want visitors to know that theirs is a family-friendly display that is more spooky than horror and gore. They do recommend those who have small children first visit during the day when the lights and animations are not running. They also suggest people drive by slowly as this is not a display you can get out and walk around, it is strictly drive-by only.
Community gets involved
The good news for visitors is that the Woodburns don’t have the only Halloween display on their street. After seeing the couple’s decorations, neighbors across the street, Dan and Kris Green, at 8335 Whitewood, have also started to decorate their yard as well. The two couples donate every dollar they receive to the animal shelter.
Even the youngsters in the neighborhood are starting to get in on the fun, Dave said, noting that he and Kim recently let a 7-year-old boy from the neighborhood help set up the display.
“He was so excited that he now has a small display of his own at home,” he said.
When the Woodburns needed a sign for the yard explaining about the donations, a friend pointed them to Aaron’s T’s and Signs on Turney Road in Garfield Heights. The owner, instead of taking payment, graciously donated the beautiful multi-color sign and even got it ready for them in just a few hours.
Those who drive past the display are encouraged to donate to the cause via to the red donation box set up in the Woodburns’ front lawn. All monies collected “will pawsitively be put to good use,” the couple says.
The display will be illuminated every night through Oct. 31. After the lights go out that night, guests have to wait until next year to catch a peek of the scary display.
Those who are looking to adopt a pet, or who are interested in donating time, money or needed pet supplies directly, can visit the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, located at 9500 Sweet Valley Dr. in Valley View, Ohio. The shelter also can be reached at 216-525-7877. ∞
The Woodburn family, on Whitewood Road, combines their love of Halloween and dogs to raise funds every year for the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter. Photo submitted.
The Woodburns begin setting up all their Halloween decorations and spooky creatures in their front yard starting in September. The display will be up through October 31.
On our cover (photo): Brecksville residents Dave and Kim Woodburn go all out for Halloween – not just because it’s their favorite holiday, but because of their love for dogs. Their massive, front-yard display, at 8336 Whitewood Rd., features a variety of spooky decorations, including a number of clowns. The family collects donations every year for the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter through Oct. 31. Photo submitted.