Burlington's prolific holiday decorator gets scare of her own

BURLINGTON, Wash. -- Headstones, coffins, bats, and skulls surround the Grenier's Burlington home. Some of the displays are so frighteningly realistic, they startle Gina Grenier -- and she placed them there!

The family started their ghoulish Halloween tradition about five years ago when they moved from the country to the city. Paul Grenier was excited to finally have trick-or-treaters, but then only eight kids showed up.

So he put up more skeletons and bought bigger candy bars. More kids came but some run the other way screaming at the sight of the Grenier's friends, relatives and co-workers stepping out of coffins with chainsaws.

"We didn't hurt anybody but it would scare the bejeebers out of lots of people," said Gina Grenier.

But then Gina Grenier recently had the scare of her life that had nothing to do with her decorations. She has been haunted by headaches for years but this summer they became debilitating. Doctors discovered a tumor the size of a softball on her brain.

"It's kinda scary thinking that if I hadn't gone in when I did, I probably have passed away," she said.

She had surgery in July but couldn't return to work until last week, and insurance didn't cover all of the medical expenses.

"We're squeaking by," Grenier said. "We've had to cut back on what we do and extra spending and tightening down things and paying certain bills."

The family has a history of helping people in hospitals facing hardships. Every year, their over-the-top Christmas decorations attract so may visitors, the Greniers started accepting donations for Seattle Children's Hospital on their front lawn. Now the community is helping them with food, their pets, and the Girl Scouts are holding a fundraiser.

"Gina and her family are Girl Scouts," said Troop Leader Ann Maroney. "It's our responsibility to be a sister and help them in need."

The mom that enjoys spooking neighbors now feels a little less frightened because her neighbors are coming to her aid.

"It blows my mind that I have made it through," she said.