MILTON, Ga. — It’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky, it’s Milton’s “Haunted House on the Hill” and it has become a must-see attraction each October. But it is no company or amusement park behind this haunted house, just a dedicated family who love the Halloween holiday and sharing its ghoulish spirit.
Each October, Scottie and Shane Oliver’s home — at 820 Dockbridge Way in the Oxford Lakes subdivision — becomes a haven for the haunted with extensive decorations that include animatronics, a large graveyard and a bevy of other ways to chill and thrill those who dare walk up or drive by.
The “Haunted House on the Hill” has gained a passionate following that now spans nearly three decades, starting first in the Oliver’s home in Alpharetta and now in Milton.
“We have watched children who would not come up our driveway when they were kids now bringing their children to our house,” Scottie Oliver said.
Scottie’s love for Halloween began when she was a kid. She said her family always went out all for holidays, and she took a particular liking to Halloween, furthered by an annual haunted house put on by the Jaycees in her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama.
When Scottie settled in Alpharetta about 28 years ago, she began the tradition of putting on the elaborate “haunted house,” and it has grown steadily since its move to Oxford Lakes in Milton.
Setting up the horde of decorations, which fill three dormers in the Oliver’s home when stored away, is no easy task. And only Scottie and Shane are involved in the process.
“We are both so perfectionist that we even argue about what should remain and what shouldn’t,” Scottie laughed.
The décor includes everything from a full graveyard, an animatronic Michael Meyers that has been part of the display for 28 years, trees and ghouls that come to life and Pennywise, the clown from “It,” in the sewer drain in front of the home with Georgia close by.
Most of the animatronics are bought, Scottie said, but there are plenty of unique items as well.
Two 30-year-old tombstones in the graveyard came through Scottie’s sister and were made by professional artists for the Alabama Shakespeare Theater. A crank ghost that flies around one of the windows of the home was built from scratch by Shane, who constructed a frame and pully apparatus to bring it to life.
Recently, Scottie came across a half mannequin in a charitable store and put her creativity to work, building a mourning widow covered in a black cloak who sits on a bench in the graveyard.
They all add to the expansive and intricate display.
“Some people have told us they come out five or six times in a season, and each time they say they saw something they did not notice the last time,” Scottie said. “And we take pride in it being extremely well done.”
The effort is all well worth it, not just for her love of Halloween, but the happiness it brings to others, Scottie said.
“In this neighborhood…there is a boy who came by every day, just waiting for the sun to go down,” Scottie said. “I just know he’ll never forget it as long as he lives. We love doing it.”
And the following for the haunted house has spread. Scottie said one family comes down from Tennessee each year to experience it.
“That’s what really makes our hearts swell and makes the effort worth it when people let us know how much they enjoy it,” she said. “We want people to enjoy it and experience it and come back every year.”
Those visiting the Haunted House on the Hill can either drive by or walk up, but the Oliver family asks that visitors stay off the yard and respect the neighboring homes. Scottie said the display will be active each night through October unless it is raining.