Meet the winners of The State’s Halloween Decoration Contest

All the bones have been counted and the most fiendish Halloween decorator has been chosen by The State’s readers.

The State asked readers this October to submit photos and vote for the spookiest and kookiest decorations in the Midlands. We saw skeletons come to life, witches convening and spiders crawling up houses. Cemeteries were built and ghosts and ghouls haunted the front lawns of many Midlands houses. One home was even transformed into a giant mouth with an ever-watchful eye.

But only one could reign as the most devilish. Here are the decorations that rose above the rest in The State’s 2021 Halloween decoration contest.


The Skeleton Wedding

Laura and Nael Alghothani.png
Photo submitted by Laura and Nael Alghothani of Columbia.

Submitted by: Laura and Nael Alghothani

Location: Columbia

The Algothani’s “Sonny and Scare” Halloween Wedding scene earned first place in The State’s contest this year. The combination of creepiness and romance of these decorations proved fatally attractive for voters. This is the second year in a row that the Alghothani family has been honored as one of the Midlands’ best Halloween decorators by The State. Last year, they made a hospital scene in their yard, otherwise known as the “Hospital on Heyward Street.” With two strong back-to-back years of Halloween decorations, who knows what they’ll have in store next year!


A Smorgasbord of Spooky

Kirk and Mai Hackenberg.png
Submitted by Kirk and Mai Hackenberg of Columbia.

Submitted by: Kirk and Mai Hackenberg

Location: Columbia

The devilish diversity of these Halloween decorations were to die for with voters, from a haunted cemetery to a large, handmade pumpkin cut out. The Hackenbergs say their display attracts visitors throughout the spooky season, who come to take festive photos with their decorations.


An Evil Circus

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Submitted by Chelsey Ruff of Lexington.

Submitted by: Chelsey Ruff

Location: Lexington

Voters stepped right up to cast a ballot for this creepy carnival, complete with skeletal freak show and macabre cotton candy. The giant spiders crawling up the house add an extra spooky touch.


Double Double Toil and Trouble

Heather Fairchild.jpg
Submitted by Heather Fairchild of Columbia.

Submitted by: Heather Fairchild

Location: Columbia

This eye-catching yard display of witches, who are surely casting an evil spell, earned an honorable mention in this year’s contest. The glowing orange lights that cover the lawn give the display the perfect bewitching glow for nearby neighbors and visiting trick-or-treaters to admire.

Slashing up the Suburbs

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Submitted by Shane Hekter of Columbia.

Submitted by: Shane Hekter

Location: Columbia

This classic “Halloween”-inspired scene was also awarded an honorable mention in this year’s contest. From the foreboding window display in the background to Michael Myers greeting guests outside with his iconic mask, this house’s decorations are timeless and work together to give the perfect scare-factor.


The Mouth on Monroe

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Submitted by Rachael Sharp of Columbia. Decorations designed by Adams O’Cain.

Submitted by: Rachael Sharp. Decorations designed by Adams O’Cain

Location: Columbia

This house truly came to life with its decorations this year. Referred to by neighbors as “The Mouth on Monroe,” this stand-out decor earned the Staff’s Pick award at The State. From the house’s gnarly teeth to multi-colored light display, trick-or-treaters must beware of this haunted house.

That concludes this year’s winners of The State’s 2021 Halloween Decoration contest. Thank you to those who took the time to enter and vote in this contest. When it came to creativity, this year’s submissions did not disappoint. Congratulations to this year’s winners and happy Halloween!

This story was originally published October 31, 2021 5:00 AM.

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David Travis Bland won the SC Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. He joined The State in 2018. He writes about crime, law enforcement and the criminal justice system. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2010.
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