Family turn home into Halloween haunted house to raise funds for sick children

A family have turned their home into a haunted house for Halloween to bring a smile to children’s faces during Wales’s firebreak lockdown and raise money for charity.

Danny and Carmela Hargreaves, both 41, and children Harry, 14, and Rosie, 10, spent the weekend installing more than 100 decorations outside their property in Llandaff, Cardiff.

Giant tarantulas and spider webs cling onto the walls and hedges, skeletons burst out of coffins, while severed hands fill a bucket by the door.

Outside the house there are gravestones, dragons, ghosts and carved pumpkins, as well as skulls with glowing red eyes.

There are more than 100 decorations (Ben Birchall/PA)
There are more than 100 decorations (Ben Birchall/PA)

The family is asking people to follow the rules of the firebreak lockdown currently in force across Wales, and only come to visit while out for exercise.

Their spooky display is in aid of the charity Dreams & Wishes, which supports seriously ill children across the UK.

“We don’t want people travelling to us, it is only for people on their daily exercise,” Mrs Hargreaves said.

“We are next to a park so people are walking past all the time. The idea is that you walk past, it will put a smile on your face and you help the charity.

“We have dragons, cobwebs, skeletons, ghosts and giant jumping spiders.

“It took Danny and the kids and me all day Saturday in the rain and then a bit of Sunday. We keep adding to it.

“People have been coming along with their kids and it’s amazing to see their reaction to it. We have already hit our fundraising target – it’s had such an impact in just three days.

“We would love for people to donate or even do their own version in their own community, village or town.

“We are encouraging people not to trick or treat this year due to coronavirus but this is something they can do instead.”

Rosie Hargreaves with some of the decorations (Ben Birchall/PA)
Rosie Hargreaves with some of the decorations (Ben Birchall/PA)

The family have been decorating their home for the past five or six years but debated whether to continue the tradition this year due to the pandemic.

They asked friends on social media and 98% of people responded that they should, Mrs Hargreaves said.

The couple run special effects company Real SFX, which has worked on shows including Doctor Who and Peaky Blinders.

“Danny now wants to do it for Christmas,” Mrs Hargreaves said.

“As long as we follow the government guidelines and go with whatever is possible, we will always try to put a smile on people’s faces.”

There's effort and there's effort! 🎃👻🪦💀

— Ben Birchall (@BenBirchallUK) October 28, 2020

Some of the funds raised by the Halloween house will go towards buying Christmas presents for seriously ill children in hospital.

Dreams & Wishes is run entirely by volunteers, so all of the money donated will support children and their families.

Wendy Hobbs, business ambassador for the charity, said: “We haven’t had donations from a house of horrors before.

“It is a really lovely thing for the family to do. They have spent so much time decorating it and it looks incredible.

“We are so grateful to them for their support.”

To donate to the charity, visit