Livermore, CA - Each Halloween, for the past 25-years, the homes on Winding Stream Drive in Livermore reflect the theme of the holiday.
"There’s a lot of kids on the street, and they look forward to it. So it’s just a good time. And, we all spend a lot of time preparing. And it’s fun to see it all come to life," said neighbor Lacey Stapenhorst.
The catalyst for this neighborly cathartic endeavor is retired mechanical engineer John Staton.
"I think what it is, is it’s an excuse to just do whatever I want," said Staton.
His obsession with creating Halloween masterpieces includes pirate ships, haunted houses, and X-Wing fighters. This year, the jewel of the 23 house block, is the Barbie House.
"I was gonna do ‘Wednesday,’ from that series ‘Wednesday Addams.’ I love that series," said Staton.
Turns out, his wife and daughters love Barbie more.
So he began the month-long weekend work to construct the two-story pink place in front of his own place on Winding Stream Drive.
"This is probably one of the best constructions. I’m really happy with it. It’s stable enough that I can walk around on the second floor," said Staton.
Other neighbors went with other themes. There’s the "Cat House," the "Spider House," the "House of Pumpkins," and the "Butcher House" also called "Winding Scream."
"I’ve heard of this street in Livermore, and I had to see it for myself," said Pacifica resident JoAnn Miller, who Tuesday, made the 80-mile trek east to Livermore. "And it’s just so fabulous to come to this street and see what everybody has created."
Experts said the shift from Halloween being a time to honor the dead, to a time of giving candy and maybe a little scare, and then people coming together to build something unique, is part of the glue that bonds communities.
"It lets us as a community really celebrate our neighborhood make connections with our neighbors," said Dr. Mike Stanton, a clinical psychologist at Cal State Univ. East Bay, in Hayward. "It lets us laugh together. It lets us really let our guard down in a really fun way."
So, in Livermore, the spooky, scary street is also the kool community street, where life imitates art, imitates life..
"Each year we add to it. So we only have a few pieces. Eventually we’ll have even more," said Stapenhorst.
The Barbie House will be up until Thursday.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the South Bay bureau. Follow him on X, @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv