Inspiring Okeechobee...Family loves Halloween

Posted 10/25/19

OKEECHOBEE — While some people are dreading the thought of having to spend extra money on candy and costumes this month, the Sorensen family has been looking forward to it all year. As a matter of …

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Inspiring Okeechobee...Family loves Halloween

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OKEECHOBEE — While some people are dreading the thought of having to spend extra money on candy and costumes this month, the Sorensen family has been looking forward to it all year. As a matter of fact, they have been getting ready for it for months. Halloween is their favorite holiday. Stephen and Taylor Sorensen have been inviting the community to their home for five years now.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Every year, the Sorensen family goes all out for Halloween. Pictured are Taylor and Stephen with their two children. Leland, 2, is dressed as a dinosaur and Desmond, 10 months, is dressed as Jack Jack from The Incredibles.

Stephen was born and raised in Okeechobee. He said he was one of the last babies actually born in Okeechobee. He is an installer for Custom Sights and Sounds, and Taylor is a stay-at-home mom. They decorate their home and yard every year for Halloween. He said they started small, and have added on each year. They do it because he remembers when he was young, and the streets were so full of happy children. Now there are hardly any kids out there, and not that many houses give out candy. He wanted to be one of those houses making the kids happy. They noticed when they had the few props in the beginning that people liked them, so they started adding more. This year they bought their first animatronic. They have always talked about getting one, but they are so expensive they never did it, but this year, they finally gave in, and bought one. They have to do it a little at a time, because it all comes out of his salary. It’s not like they are getting donations, he said. They want kids to have the best Halloween they can have though. “It’s only once a year.” Last year they did pirate costumes, and the year before they did The Purge. Before they had children, they used to throw parties, and invite people over for pizza, but now they focus more on the kids.

His favorite thing about Halloween is seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. Even their parents get excited, he said. Last year they built a prop for the families to use for photo ops. Two years ago, he built a non-functional guillotine. He got the idea after going to a torture museum in Saint Augustine.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
The Sorensens add to their Halloween collection every year. They don’t worry about the money too much. Stephen thinks of it as Karma. “It makes the kids happy.”

Last year, they had 400-500 kids, he said. They hand out 3,000 pieces of candy, and they always have glow sticks for the kids. He wanted to do this because the first year he noticed the kids didn’t have them, and he remembered having them when he was a kid. They help keep the kids safe from traffic so he wanted to provide as many as possible. “They aren’t that expensive. I can make it work,” he said. They get 200-300 of those every year to hand out. “I want all these kids and parents to have fun. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”

He remembers how happy he was after going out on Halloween, and he wants kids of this generation to experience that same joy. It makes it all worth it, he said. Taylor feels the same way. When they first met, they didn’t realize they were so similar, he said, but he found out she collects some really creepy dolls that even scare him! Every year when Halloween nears, they start throwing ideas around, and she is just as excited as he is about it, he said. He won’t let her put the creepy dolls out though. He said they would scare the kids too much. “They are insanely creepy,” he said.

This year, their 2-year-old son is going to be a dinosaur, the baby is going to be Jack Jack from The Incredibles. Taylor is dressing like a Gothic person and Stephen will be M.C. Hammer. “We are all kids at heart,” he said. The Sorensens live at 1367 Southwest 18th Terrace. “Everyone is invited,” he said. “If we start running out of stuff, I will send someone to go buy more.” He doesn’t worry about the money when it comes to this. He looks at it as good karma. The kids have fun. The parents have fun.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, they are participating in a Trunk or Treat at Custom Sights and Sounds where Stephen works. The address is 1811 U.S. 441 South. They started doing Trunk or Treats two years ago, and last year the parking lot was filled, he said. They posted it and didn’t expect that many people to come, but half the town came, he laughed. We are ready to go with that, so everyone is welcome to come on out.

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