She begins putting up her props and decorations on Sept. 1, and leaves them up until Halloween. The huge pirate ship in her mother's yard is probably the most elaborate part of the yard-decorating process since it takes several hours to assemble. Matthews "got smart" after the first year of making the ship, and has since marked each board for easy assembly and tear-down steps.
Matthews' neighbors love her decorations, and she has even gotten some special attention from officials in town for them.
"They love it. Around here, we've got very little kids. The first year, maybe 25 showed up. But now hundreds show up. One year the fire department showed up and asked if they could hand out their candy at my house because no one was coming to the fire house," Matthews said.
Halloween is Mathews' favorite holiday. And although her mother loves Christmas just as much, Matthews won't be volunteering to put the Santa statue on her roof.
"Mom gets into Christmas, but after Halloween I'm basically wore out," said Matthews.
13 Skeletons - Bridgewater, N.J.
The Adams family of Bridgewater, N.J., much like the infamous Addams family in the movies, really gets into Halloween.
Since 2006, Jim Adams has set up an elaborate skeleton display in their front yard. Each year the display gets a new theme, and the number of incorporated skeletons grows with each day leading up to the big night. He never uses more than 13 skeletons because he wants passersby to understand what's going on, even at 50 miles per hour.
"It started out as putting one skeleton on top of another one's shoulder. I'm sitting in my rocking chair looking at it thinking, 'You know, I think it can go higher.' I never intended to move them around, but one of the parents at my daughter's school said the kids think they're moving around. But I was just tweaking it, trying to get them in different spots. So that's how it started," Adams said. "Each year we try to do something different. Come out of a grave, pulling each other out, then another year, out of a chest with smoke coming out of it."
Adams' daughter was suggesting ideas this year and came up with a hay ride theme. The neighbors love it, and some guests to see the skeletons even leave gifts as a token of appreciate for the entertainment.
"So many people drive by and stop to take photos. Last year we got letters in our mailbox. One time I got a beer with a skeleton on it dropped it on my porch, just saying we enjoy driving by. It's mostly commuters that see it and kids on the school bus. We always get someone stopping by just telling us the joy they get out of it," said Adams.
The Adams will continue to spook their yard with skeletons "until it becomes a problem."