Hank Hockey is proud to say that he has been a big zombie fan for years, long before zombies became popular. The Maple Park resident's zombie-themed display at his home, "The House at 316," has become an annual tradition at 316 W. DeKalb Drive.
Halloween is a big deal at Hockey's place, and he'll spend the day chasing around the kids in the neighborhood and celebrating the holiday. His home features a yard filled with zombie figures and gravestones, and his windows are boarded up. There even is a "zombie crossing" sign across the street.
A giant spider sits on the house. A zombie girl rides a bike. There are depictions of body parts all around. Hockey has put together that scene at his home for all eight years he has lived in Maple Park, and he has been doing it for 20 years total, including his previous homes in Davis Junction and Algonquin.
"I've just always been a fan of being frightened and scared myself," said Hockey, 40. "I just always really liked going to haunted houses and decided to start building some things."
Though the scene is elaborate and takes weeks to assemble, Hockey said it's not particularly expensive. He said he has made about 90 percent of the props himself, using everyday items.
"It's just more time and creativity," Hockey said.
There's a lot of it, but the rule is that all of the display must fit in his garage. Hockey gets some help from his wife, Jennifer, and his daughters, Emma and Madeline. He gives particular credit to his wife, who he says "is a good sport with it." He said she puts up with it but always looks forward to the day it comes down.
That, however, must wait until the big days is over. Hockey said he heard from the neighborhood kids throughout the year. He enjoys giving his neighbors something to talk about. And it's always been about zombies, long before it was cool.
The display has its own Facebook page. For more, visit www.facebook.com/thehouseat316.