Mueller house haunts trick-or-treaters for 15 years

SUQUAMISH — For 15 years, Del and Kathy Mueller have been scaring the daylights out of local kids with their extravagantly spooky Halloween decorations — and then rewarding them with copious quantities of candy.

Since 1980, Del Mueller has operated the Suquamish-based Del’s Automotive Service, but Mueller is known for a bit more than just his mechanical prowess.

As the theme for John Carpenter’s “Halloween” played through speakers inside and outside of his home on Newton Street in Suquamish, Mueller paced between rooms methodically examining his decorations and the extension cords connecting them all.

Mueller gestured to the multitude of Halloween decorations, explaining each: A series of lights, inside and outside, which flash in sync with audio cues from the sound system; an army of dummies and mannequins, complete with all manner of macabre accouterments, to startle visitors; ghosts and ghouls hanging on his porch; and multiple fog machines, hidden to enshroud his driveway in a thick, ominous haze.

All of these features work together to make the Mueller house a chamber of horror and a favorite among trick-or-treaters in the area.

All of these features would be in vain if it weren’t for the all-important reward for those brave enough to make it to the front door: the candy. Two hundred bags, each neatly wrapped and filled with Halloween favorites like suckers, bubblegum and chocolate, await those who come knocking on the Muellers’ door. Also in the mix sits the holy grail of trick-or-treating fare: the full-size candy bar — several boxes of them in fact — tempting trick-or-treaters to make their way through the fog, strobe lights, monsters and spine-chilling music to claim their sugary prize.

Mueller estimates that he spends about four days preparing for Halloween and between $300 and $400 on the candy alone. All his work has not gone unnoticed either, word has gotten around that the Mueller’s is the place to be on Halloween, last year the family was visited by 195 trick-or-treaters and in years past they have had as many as 300 visit their door.

“It’s fun to do but by the end of the night Tuesday, I’m done, I’m tired,” Mueller said.

It is not some malicious disdain for children that Mueller adorns his home with such ghastly accessories — quite the opposite, actually. Mueller sees Halloween as one of the only nights where kids get to cut loose, become someone else and (of course) gorge on sweets.

“We just decided, that it’s about the only real kids’ night out,” Mueller said, later explaining that he didn’t get much of an opportunity to celebrate Halloween while growing up. Transforming his house into a destination stop for trick-or-treaters, he said, is his way of getting (and giving) back the Halloweens he missed out on as youngster.

Tonight as darkness falls, and costumed kids take to the streets in search of candy, the Mueller residence will beckon to those courageous droves of witches and ghouls who dare to approach during their pursuit of a sugary bounty.

— Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at

Del Mueller stands beside one of the many Halloween props decorating his house in Suquamish.                                Nick Twietmeyer | Kitsap News Group

Del Mueller stands beside one of the many Halloween props decorating his house in Suquamish. Nick Twietmeyer | Kitsap News Group