WESTWOOD, Kan. — One Johnson County family takes dressing up for Halloween so seriously it’s become a bit of a production.
There are some families who obsess over Christmas holiday photos, but for the Campbells, it’s all about Halloween.
“It’s not anything we set out to plan to do,” said Stephanie Campbell, a married mother of three.
As a former thespian, Campbell has always enjoyed playing characters. Her husband Bruce simply goes along with his wife’s costume ideas.
“You can’t pick and choose your battles like that; you’re just going to lose,” he said.
When the couple had their son, Jackson, nine years ago a new family tradition took shape.
“I just decided we would be his cast of characters that went with his costumes, and the next couple years it was always whatever Jackson wanted to be, we were his accessories,” Stephanie said.
Some of the family’s earliest group costumes included characters from the Pixar movie “Up,” as well as Batman superheroes.
The couple welcomed twin daughters into the world five years ago. The two dressed as Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimmer when the family chose a “Ghostbusters” theme.
“Each year we up the ante, and it’s maybe gotten a little out of control,” Stephanie said.
Bruce got to pick the theme in 2017, opting for the R-rated horror flick, “The Shining.”
“I think that went over pretty well,” he said chuckling.
Stephanie thought the costumes that year were too subtle, so she turned to a graphic designer friend, who brought the setting and characters to life in the family photo.
“As soon as I got that picture, it had to be every year moving forward, we can’t go backwards,” she said.
Since then, the Campbell clan has dressed as characters from Mario Cart, the cast of “The Simpsons” and this year, the gang from “Scooby Doo” — mystery van included.
“Every year, it’s always my most liked picture on Facebook, and I get all these DMs like, ‘I’m so excited to see what you’re going to be,’” Stephanie said.
Stephanie knows her children may not play along forever but, for now, it’s about creating memories.
“It’s just really fun for us to be together, have some good old fashion family fun and get away from being behind screens and be kids a little bit,” she said.
Stephanie has a long list of ideas for the family in the coming years including dressing as characters from “Grease,” “Willy Wonka” and “The Little Mermaid.”