A FAMILY from Wallingford will have hi-tech tricks and sweet treats in store for visitors dropping in to celebrate Halloween.

For the past 16 years butcher Carl Wood and his wife Linda have been creating a Haunted Yard to celebrate spooky goings on.

As well as 16 huge hand-carved pumpkins and numerous smoke machines other attractions include a variety of scary animatronics - three witches, one skeleton, two Grim Reapers, one corn stalker, a cauldron-headed creep and a pumpkin-headed scarecrow.

Mr and Mrs Wood’s daughter Rachel, 25, recently moved out of the family home in Brookmead Drive but is returning for the big show on Halloween.

She said: “This has got bigger and bigger over the years and dad must have spent thousands on it - the animatronics come from America and cost about £500 each.

“This was a big part of my childhood and I am now living at a new house in Wallingford with my fiancé Guy Thomas but I wouldn’t miss this.

“Hundreds of people come along and stay late into the evening - we give away at least 500 sweets to all the children.

“Dad is a big kid at heart and people in the town look forward to it - that’s why he keeps doing it.”

Miss Wood, a maintenance manager for a housing association, said her best friend Alexis Nascimento, originally from New Jersey, particularly enjoyed the night.

She added: “Alexis has been helping us out with the displays - Halloween is huge in America.”

The housing association manager said some children got a little ‘spooked’ by the animatronics because they appeared to be so realistic.

She added: “The animatronics do move and talk and three are 7ft tall so it’s not surprising if some of the little ones get a bit overwhelmed.

“My favourite is the newest one - it’s a Grim Reaper with moving wings - it’s not something you see every night in Wallingford.

“We reassure the children that everything is okay and then they are fine.”

For the past two years the Halloween show has helped to raise funds for charity Bloodwise after Miss Wood’s friend Ben Denton was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2015. He is now in remission.

Miss Wood added: “Ben is a close family friend and we wanted to do something to help - previously we have raised about £200 each year.

“But this year the charity is bringing along banners and collection boxes so we could raise even more.”

Bloodwise, formerly Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, is an established UK cancer charity that has been fighting blood cancers since 1960 and funds research into different types of blood cancer.

See page 16 for pumpkin pictures.