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Fright night fanfare

It is a floor-to-ceiling Halloween celebration at this Loomis home
By: Joyia Emard, Home & Garden
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The Soldano family of Loomis loves Halloween. So much so, that every year they spend weeks setting up 35 storage bins of decorations to ready their Tuscan-style home in Clos du Lac for All Hallows Eve. “It’s grown to be tedious when I have to block out the time to decorate. But when I’m doing it, it’s like playing, like experiencing childhood again,” said Cindy Soldano, who has a degree in interior design and is a personal trainer. “It’s a little stressful in the beginning, but once it’s all set up and done, it’s great,” said her husband, Dan, who works in construction and real estate. The Soldanos and their three sons, Cameron, 15, a Del Oro High School sophomore, Austin, 14, a freshman at Del Oro, and Colton, 11, a sixth-grader at Franklin Elementary School, get into the Halloween spirit working together to deck out the house. Even the boys’ bedrooms and the master bath aren’t left out. Every available surface in the home features a different Halloween vignette. Most of the family’s pieces are “whimsical, folk art style,” Cindy Soldano said. Many are handmade paper mache replicas of antique, early 1900s Halloween collectibles. Two of her favorite shopping haunts for Halloween décor are the Christmas Village and As Time Goes By, both in Auburn. She especially likes items created by Bethany Lowe Designs and August Moon, she said. Weeks spent decorating culminate with a party on Halloween. Family, friends and schoolmates of the three Soldano boys gather at their home to celebrate. Guests are amazed at the decorations, which include 10 Halloween trees of varying sizes, one of which is adorned in Christopher Radko Halloween ornaments. A collection of 20 Department 56 Snow Village Halloween houses, along with hundreds of accessory pieces that bedeck a baby grand piano, also draw exclamations from visitors. The Halloween collecting began soon after the Soldanos were married 17 years ago, when Dan’s parents gave them their first Department 56 house. Each year, the boys are given new Radko ornaments and pieces are added to the Halloween village. Cindy said that someday she hopes to pass the pieces on to her boys so they won’t forget the warm holiday memories they helped create. Cindy said that her favorite items are three hand-hooked rugs, which she received from her neighbors Sandy and Paul Willams. Sandy made them herself and every year she spends time helping Cindy decorate. Cindy plans to make one of the rugs into a throw pillow and frame the others. This year, the Soldanos will enjoy their Halloween decorations throughout the fall, as they will be participating in the Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 6 to benefit the Loomis Basin Education Foundation. They’re calling their home “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” “I really delight in sharing this with people, I hope they’ll enjoy it and be inspired,” Cindy said. More information about the home tour is available on the Loomis Basin Education Foundation Web site at www.lbef.net.