It started with just a few graves. But once he started, he was hooked.

For the past 13 years, the graveyard has been growing.

Retired Milton resident Billy Collier shares his creation with the public, displaying his haunted graveyard for the community. Collier says he does it mostly for the kids in the community, though adults have had some fun the past few years.

"I just enjoyed Halloween as a kid," Collier said. "You go out and trick or treat. I enjoyed it because you meet the people more and associate with those people."

Collier says it's a little more personal and there's more interaction when it comes to Halloween. A lot of people go all out to decorate their yards for holidays like Christmas, but most people drive by and never exit their vehicles.

"Christmas, they don't come to your door," he said. "That's one reason I've enjoyed it."

He estimates there's been tens of thousands of dollars invested in the yard throughout the years. Every Halloween, Collier purchases more decorations and interactive displays, adding to the magnitude of the haunted yard. There's around 40 motion-activated displays, 20 props and six or seven large, blow-up displays. There's numerous tombstones, lying in solemn wait, for children to scamper around.

It's a family-friendly event, and Collier says they don't terrorize the little ones. Teenagers, on the other hand, are sometimes spooked, Collier said with a little bit of a grin. Hundreds come every year to view the display and walk the haunted graveyard, each year stumbling across something new.

"We don't scare the real small people," Collier said. "Every now and then, we'll scare some of the teenagers. I've had some small kids come through here with more courage than the big kids."

Preparation for the event begins in late Sept., when Collier starts tackling the task of putting together all of the props and testing them inside, before setting them up outside for Halloween.

"I'm retired now," Collier said, with a hint of a smile audible in his voice. "I used to work at Air Products in Pace for 34 years."

He's worn a lot of different costumes over the years, from a pirate to a swamp monster. This year, he's thinking he'll be Darth Vader from Star Wars. His son, Jerry, will be unveiling a 7-feet-tall Bigfoot costume this year.


Want to go?

Billy's Haunted Yard

Where: 6635 Fernwood Drive in Milton

When: Thursday, Oct. 31 around 6 p.m. until...

Cost: Free to the public to enjoy, donations accepted