The Weekly Vista
Replica edition News Community Obituaries Recreation Opinion Religion Special Sections Photos Contact Us Email Updates
ADVERTISEMENT

Skeleton House heads up fundraisers for St. Jude's, NWA Bully Haven Rescue

House is one of several stops on Trail Of Fears October 27, 2021 at 10:40 a.m.
Sally Carroll/Special to The Weekly Vista Teah Bidwell and John Bowman are raising money for Skeletons for St. Jude's and NWA Bully Haven Rescue. Their house, located at 20 Sandridge Drive, is host to a big haunt and one of several stops of the Bella Vista-based Trail of Fears.

Raiden Bowman recognizes that most people want to be a little scared.

He serves as a live actor in his parents' elaborately decorated spooky yard, an idea which has grown into a truly ghoulish event in Bella Vista.

Bowman enjoys this time of year, volunteering to come alive out of a shadow.

"I've made several people hit the ground," he said. "I don't even touch them. They just see me and drop."

The elaborate front and side yard – in addition to a "cemetery" on the other side of the garage – prompts car after car to drive by this time of year. Owner John Bowman and his wife, Teah Bidwell, are in their fourth year of operating the Skeleton House at 20 Sandridge Drive.

Complete with larger-than-life tarantulas, ghouls, tons of skeletons and more, the couple uses the atmosphere to create a launchpad for nonprofits.

This year, the couple is raising money for NWA Bully Haven Rescue and Skeletons for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

The extreme yard on Sandridge Drive takes a while to organize and decorate. The couple stays within the Bella Vista Village Property Owners Association guidelines on setup, usage and teardown. All total, the massive display is up for about two months. They'll leave this year's display set up until about Nov. 2, he said.

Why go to such elaborate measures?

"We've had four engagements here. We've had a drone take a video. Several kids ask their parents to drive by daily to see what we're building," he said, laughing.

The couple previously started a Trail of Fears when they lived in Centerton. After moving to Bella Vista four years ago, they decided to start the Skeleton House and Trail of Fears here.

Helping others enjoy the season – and raise money for good causes – drives the couple to work hard.

Last year's effort focused on a coat drive.

"We give 100 percent of what people donate," Bowman said. "Anything to help anybody above and beyond."

Though a couple of the neighbors aren't super happy about the constant traffic, Bowman said the couple means well. They simply get creative with Halloween decorations.

Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie supports the effort and Bowman works with the Bella Vista Police Department to assist with traffic, if needed, he said.

Typically, Bowman keeps an eagle eye out every night, watching as people park and then walk through the yard to fully enjoy the experience.

QR codes on signs encourage people to donate. It's a lot of work, but something the couple believes benefits fellow Bella Vista neighbors.

"People seem to love it," he said.

The Skeleton House is one stop on the Bella Vista-based Trail of Fears, which is a compilation of homes that feature Halloween lights and decorations for people to enjoy at no cost. All of the homes are located in Bella Vista, with one located in Bentonville and two located in Pea Ridge.

The Trail of Fears includes:

13 Selland Drive

81 Lancaster Drive

36 Basildon Drive

31 Wentworth Drive

61 Branchwood Drive

1 Scots Circle

1 Kensington Circle

3 Faye Lane

41 Munster Drive

12 Tavistock Drive

2 Basildon Circle

5 Chapel Lane

22 Ravenglass Lane

20 Chapel Lane

27 Chapel Lane

3 Reeves Lane

46 Merritt Drive

1965 Collins Drive, Pea Ridge

726 Harper Dr, Pea Ridge

7 Iris Way, Bentonville

Sally Carroll/Special to The Weekly Vista
John Bowman and his son, Raiden Bowman, right, take a short break Friday morning from working on their Halloween haunt. John Bowman and his wife, Teah Bidwell, decorate for Halloween and raise money for nonprofits when people drop by to see their skeletons.
Sally Carroll/Special to The Weekly Vista John Bowman and his son, Raiden Bowman, right, take a short break Friday morning from working on their Halloween haunt. John Bowman and his wife, Teah Bidwell, decorate for Halloween and raise money for nonprofits when people drop by to see their skeletons.
Sally Carroll/Special to The Weekly Vista
Some of the Halloween decorations at 20 Sandridge Drive are larger than life. People flock to the home at night to take in the scenery and traipse through the yard and "cemetery" close by.
Sally Carroll/Special to The Weekly Vista Some of the Halloween decorations at 20 Sandridge Drive are larger than life. People flock to the home at night to take in the scenery and traipse through the yard and "cemetery" close by.
Sally Carroll/Special to The Weekly Vista
The Skeleton House at 20 Sandridge Drive is filled to the brim with all kinds of Halloween decor, lights and more. John Bowman and Teah Bidwell decorate each year to celebrate the season and to raise money for nonprofits.
Sally Carroll/Special to The Weekly Vista The Skeleton House at 20 Sandridge Drive is filled to the brim with all kinds of Halloween decor, lights and more. John Bowman and Teah Bidwell decorate each year to celebrate the season and to raise money for nonprofits.

Print Headline: Skeleton House heads up fundraisers for St. Jude's, NWA Bully Haven Rescue

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT

Recommended for you

ADVERTISEMENT