Thieves steal Halloween decorations; Kamloops responds with anonymous replacements | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Thieves steal Halloween decorations; Kamloops responds with anonymous replacements

Louise and Ron Edwards have had a festive front yard for Halloween and Christmas for around three decades.
October 29, 2019 - 3:30 PM

A woman who has been decorating her yard for Halloween and Christmas for more than 30 years says she has had to endure near-continuous thefts of her decorations but says getting some anonymous support has helped.

Louise Edwards has spent decades decorating her lawn for her favourite holidays. She says over the years, she and her husband Ron have spent thousands of dollars for new decorations, offset greatly by regular thefts. This year, however, the thefts are especially hard on her.

“This time it got to me more than usual simply because my husband is dying of cancer,” Edwards says. “We had a bout with him kind of going downhill a bit, and I think because of my lowness... it got back to me more, it pissed me off more than normal.”

Edwards says many of her neighbours used to participate in what was once a festive tradition, but as the other neighbours have died or moved away, she is now the only one who puts on such displays.

“It’s pretty much a one-woman show, but the last two years my neighbours across the street have been helping me,” Edwards says.

Edwards glues fake leaves to her decorations in an attempt to identify them if stolen.
Edwards glues fake leaves to her decorations in an attempt to identify them if stolen.

She says some other houses decorate for Christmas, but her house is the only spooky spectacle in her neighbourhood for Halloween. She fills her lawn with inflatable ghosts and ghouls, lights, and other decorations, and switches over to a more angelic scene for the Christmas season. No matter the season, thieves raid her yard.

“I started out with 15 angels at Christmas time and I’m down to seven. Every year they get stolen,” Edwards says.

She says she continues because of the tradition she created. Edwards keeps a guest book at her door and many of the people who sign it note that they have been visiting for 20 or 30 years. Children who used to come to her house now bring their own kids there, and Edwards notes that two children, in particular, are very supportive of her during this time.

“They’ve been coming here since they were babies… they came by with all their friends, (and gave me) big hugs. They were so disappointed that stuff was missing, but they came by to say hello,” Edwards says. “It’s for them because that’s their memories. That’s their neighbourhood, that’s their history.”

Louise Edwards says she has recieved some used donations from anonymous donors, such as this ghost.
Louise Edwards says she has recieved some used donations from anonymous donors, such as this ghost.

After Edwards continued to have items stolen, her neighbours insisted she install a donation box, which was later removed and robbed.

“It’s an elaborate box,” Edwards says. “It’s a $400 little item, cast iron, and they ripped it off the foundation and we found it up the street.”

Edwards now adds fake leaves to her inflatable decorations in an effort to make them more identifiable if stolen. When asked if she worries about the thefts continuing while her decorations are up, she said simply: “I don’t think about it.”

As she continues to put up decorations every year, community members support her with donations of new decorations or money and are often anonymous.

The vampire and the two ghosts are of the brand new inflatable decorations that were left anonymously for the Edwards'.
The vampire and the two ghosts are of the brand new inflatable decorations that were left anonymously for the Edwards'.

“I expect it, in a way. I’m very well known, everybody knows what I do in the community,” Edwards says. “The common comment I’ve heard is, ‘Why do they steal from you? You do so much for the community.'”

Edwards says she spends every day at the food bank and has created a strong rapport with her community, and she thinks those who steal her decorations are unaware of her role.

“I think they think, ‘Oh she’s a rich person, she can afford it. I need whatever, I want whatever'… but the angels, I don’t know.”

Edwards says it’s hard to understand why people would go through the process of stealing her decorations, but she is thankful for the backing of her neighbours.

“It would be at least 15 minutes to get the air down… it wouldn’t be something they could do it five minutes,” Edwards says. “The neighbours have caught people taking lights off my trees... my neighbours, if they catch them, they (confront them) for sure.”

You can check out Edwards Halloween display at Sixth Avenue and Pine Street.

The two witches are some of the decorations stolen from the Edwards' yard. Most of the decorations have fake leaves glued on them to help identify them.
The two witches are some of the decorations stolen from the Edwards' yard. Most of the decorations have fake leaves glued on them to help identify them.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Ron Edwards

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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