West Richland woman brings out her coven collection for Halloween

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldOctober 28, 2012 

A coven of witches lives on Daisy Street in West Richland. But they only come out into the light this time of year. The rest of the year they lie, silent as the grave, in orange storage tubs in Mary Jane Knight's garage.

They're all a part of her collection of Halloween figurines, decorations and signs.

"I can't help it. I'm just a kid at heart and can't resist decorating for Halloween and Christmas," said Knight, smiling fondly at the dozens of witches, bats and other scary embellishments decorating her home.

Knight began collecting witches in 1989.

"This was my first one," she said picking up a foot-tall witch made of stiff paper. "I just loved her face and had to have her."

Since then she's bought dozens more, adding about two per year to her collection.

"I find them everywhere, some in surprising places like Big Lots and Costco. And at every time of year," she said.

Last year, checking out the after-holiday sales at one of the craft stores, Knight spotted a black artificial tree.

"It's perfect for all my Halloween ornaments," she said, pointing out the ceramic and glass witches and ghouls hanging from its branches.

"I fretted what to put on the top -- another witch just didn't seem right. Then I found him," she said, giving the nearly lifesize black raven a fond pat.

Whenever possible, Knight likes to buy from Northwest artists. But some of the figurines were made by well-known companies such as Hallmark, Annalee and Jacqueline Kent. Her most expensive, standing about 18 inches tall, is a Jacqueline Kent.

"It cost me $140 but others were as little as $5 and $7. It's not the price. They have to speak to me," Knight said.

Even Department 56, best known for its Christmas villages, has a Halloween Village series.

"I think I have every one," she said.

Knight has a story for each figurine and doll in her collection. A few she's even named.

A witch named Cackles sits close by the TV, giving anyone who sits nearby the evil eye.

"There's a little bit of naughtiness in that one," she said.

Not all of her witches are human. Knight has a cat witch and a rat witch too.

All the dolls and figurines in Knight's collection are witchy, but they're not all ugly, scary things. Some of them are quite jolly.

Knight's Halloween decorations don't stop with figurines. Her buffet sports midnight black candles, the sofa and living room lamp are draped in black cobwebby fabric, and the dining room chandelier is looped with black sparkly garlands and beads.

She's even replaced the sheer drape over the sliding glass door with a black curtain woven with a witch and graveyard scene. Even her artwork has a Halloween theme.

Be sure to duck if you're heading toward the bathroom, bats line the hallway and more witches and bats are inside. It's easy to find the room, Knight's hung a sign -- Bat Room, Approach with Caution -- pointing the way.

And if she invites you to stay overnight, you might want to decline. The skeletal guest in the guest room seems to have come for an extended visit. Even his teddy bear has passed on to the great den in the sky.

Knight's not sure how many witches and other Halloween collectibles she's gathered during the years.

"I seldom do everything the same so I bring different things out each year," she said.

Knight's coven is enjoying their outing but it will be short lived. At the first of November, Halloween goes back into the grave, er, garage and her Santa collection comes out from the North Pole.

"I love the holidays and love decorating. I admit it, I'm a nut," she joked.

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