LaRethia Haddon has decorated her house with the same fake corpse for the past 25 years

By Alex Heigl
Updated October 12, 2015 11:05 AM
Credit: Charles V. Tines/Detroit News/AP

LaRethia Haddon’s husband’s birthday falls on Halloween, so she really gets into the spooky spirit. For the past 25 years, she’s been indulging in an annual tradition that’s still riling up residents in her Detroit township.

Haddon puts a large dummy in her yard, face-down, and moves it to a different location every morning. Then, she sits in her living room, drinking coffee and watching passers-by react to the prop.

“The corner is always full of cars,” Haddon told The Detroit News. “People running up trying to do CPR. Once they find out it’s a dummy, it’s so hilarious.”

Less amused: The Detroit Police Department, who dutifully trek out to Haddon’s home whenever someone calls them about the “body” on her front lawn. “We received one call each about the dummy on the sixth, seventh and eighth,” Officer Jennifer Moreno told the News.

“It would be great if they could put something along the lines of it being a display to alert to the citizens in the community so it doesn’t arise unnecessary concern,” Williams continued. “If we get a call, we are still responding. We can’t take the chance.”

It’s the same song, second verse for Haddon, who says she’s used to the situation. “I used to live in Redford Township, and oh God – the police department, fire department, they would come out every day,” Haddon recalled. “Everywhere I’ve ever lived, it’s always been this way. But this year, for some reason, it’s getting a lot of attention.”

The only problem Haddon has faced – other than the unnecessary police visits – is that people have tried to make off with her prop the last two years. “If you don’t bring him in at night, he won’t be there in the morning. I learned my lesson,” she said. “That’s terrible I have to bring him in at night. But on Halloween, he stays out all night.”

Still, she says, it’s worth it: “We’re just really into it. And the kids get a kick out of it in the neighborhood and my grandchildren, also,” she said. “It’s something that we always do.”

“I’m trying to bring laughter to Detroit,” she added. “We really need it.”