All Hail the Queen of Halloween
by Joseph Schany
Janine Lange of Emmetsburg loves Halloween, and her love of the holiday extends beyond just simple excitement for the costumes and pageantry of Oct. 31. For Lange, Halloween is a full-scale event.
“I start decorating in August,” said Lange, who shares a home at 1504 Harrison St. in Emmetsburg with husband, Eric. “At this point, I’ve lost count of all the decorations I’ve put up. The lights alone take me hours to turn on and off.”
Lange, a full-time CNA at Parc Hall in Emmetsburg, has enjoyed the holiday since her childhood on a farm in Wisconsin.
“We would get to drive to neighboring farms in those plastic masks we couldn’t breathe in and get homemade goodies from our neighbors,” said Lange. “It was a magical time.”
What began as a joyful occasion grew into something much larger after receiving a unique gift from a patient’s granddaughter 20 years ago.
“I was working at Lakeside at the time and someone brought their grandma a homemade ghost decoration,” recalled Lange. “I asked her if she could make me one, too. The ball just started rolling from there.”
Lange adds more to her collection of assorted decorations every year. While some items have been purchased, others come from friends, family, and residents of the care facilities in which Lange has been employed.
“Over the years I’ve gathered some very special things,” said Lange.
Each Halloween, Lange dons her costume inspired by her favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. Known simply as the “Wicked Witch of the Flats” by friends and neighbors, Lange offers trick-or-treaters and their families a tour of her shrine to all things Halloween.
“It just tickles me to pieces when kids and adults, the ‘grown-up kids,’ get excited about something,” said Lange. “I love to see them all having fun!”
And what does Lange do when Oct. 31 is over?
“After Halloween, when all the pressure is off and the wind starts blowing, I just sit back with all my Halloween lights and enjoy!”