Spooky houses bring chill to downtown Steamboat for Halloween

The Picking House on Crawford Avenue is one of a couple seriously spooky homes on the street in downtown Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Drive down Crawford Avenue and you just might get carried away by the spirit of the season, which has found a home in downtown just in time for Halloween celebration.

I feel like, we have been doing this for as long as I’ve lived here,” said Lynn Picking “But it gets kind of bigger every year.”

The Halloween spirit is easy to see at Lynn and Andy Picking’s home located at 1070 Crawford Ave. Lynn said she and the family have always made the most out of the October holiday by making creative family costumes when the children were younger, and more recently turning that attention to decorating the house, which they are currently renovating.

Those passing the home will find skeletons clamoring onto the roof as if they are trying to get into the home, and another 12-foot tall skeleton ready to welcome trick-or-treaters if they are brave enough to venture up the walk way.

She wasn’t sure how long it took to get everything in place, but said the whole family pitched in including her 17-year-old daughter Sophie, 15-year-old twins Izzy and Drew and 10-year-old son, Charlie. She credited her older son and husband for placing several of the skeletons on the roof — including one that was 12 feet high. She said the search for those skeletons began in August, and her family helped with the purchase in Denver where her dad had to figure out how to fit the figures in his compact car. She isn’t sure what next year will bring, but the bar has been set.

“I’ve already been thinking about next year,” Lynn said earlier this week. “I guess I’m going to have to up the game.”

That might be because a few houses away Chresta and Paul Brinkman’s yard at the corner of Yahmonite Street and Crawford Avenue is filled with ghosts dancing around a tree, a freighting witch that seems to hover above the ground and a walkway lined with jack-o-lanterns and a skeleton arm holding a lantern. There is also an inflatable cat, Jack Skellington, and a pair of cute ghosts with fun hats and big smiles.

The Brinkmans home in downtown Steamboat Springs features witches holding hands around a cauldron, ghosts dancing around a tree, skeletons popping out of the ground and a black inflatable cat and Jack Skellington among other decorations.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

“I have always loved all holidays,” Chresta said. “We have amassed quite a collection of things indoors — I have Halloween villages and all kinds of lights and different things like that — but I really enjoy the overall aesthetic of having stuff outside because I just think it’s fun and festive and I hope that it brings joy to people when they see it.”

Chresta said decorating is definitely a family effort, and that the Brinkman brood comes together at Halloween, but also Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and the Fourth of July to make sure their home reflects the season.

A few years ago, during the pandemic, Chresta came up with the idea of posting photos on an Instagram page where she posted photos of both the inside and outside of her home. A recent post refers to that house down the street (the Pickings) doing some pretty fantastic things.

Both the Pickings and the Brinkmans are hoping that the Halloween energy created by both houses is appreciated by the community and will make the Halloween season a little more fun for those that stop to take a look. The houses will be front-and-center during the “All street trick-or-treat” the Sunday before Halloween, which includes Uncochief Circle, upper and lower Yahmonite Street, Pahwintah Street, The Boulevard, Merritt Street and Crawford Avevue. The event is a chance for children to go door-to-door in search of treats.

For Picking, decorating the house is just a part of the fun, but hopes to continue the tradition.

“I guess I want to be creative, right?,” Picking said. “I love doing cakes and Halloween costumes, and that’s how it developed. “

Smiling ghosts and skeletons greet visitors to Chresta and Paul Brinkmans home on Crawford Avenue on Friday Oct. 28, 2022 in downtown Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
A skeleton dog reaches for a bone in the front yard of the Picking home on Crawford Avenue in downtown Steamboat Springs Friday, Oct. 28, 2022.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

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