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Halloween animatronics burn to the ground at St. Pete woman's 'haunted house'

Evelyn Brethauer's 'haunted house'
Posted at 11:21 PM, Oct 24, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A St. Pete woman is hoping someone will come forward with information about who showed up at her house on Friday morning and set fire to three of her Halloween animatronics.

Evelyn Brethauer loves Halloween, and for years, she’s set up a scare-maze for trick-or-treaters. But just after midnight on Friday morning she got a scare of her own, when she says someone burned three of her realistic animatronics to the ground.

“I call this my family,” said Brethauer about her decorations.

Brethauer never went trick-or-treating as a child, so as an adult, she’s making up for it.

“I figure what better way to do trick-or-treating than actually doing the trick on all the people,” said Brethauer.

So she does just that. For the last 20 years she’s set up a spooky maze in her front yard to scare trick-or-treaters who dare to walk through on Halloween night.

Evelyn Brethauer's 'haunted house'

“I have Jason Vorhees here, he’s my best one now, he looks very realistic. This poor young lady here, she lost her legs, so and it was a zombie that ate them,” said Brethauer.

The set up takes nearly a month to put together, and they were almost finished, when just after midnight on Friday, Brethauer says she woke up to banging at her door. That’s when she saw three of her animatronics burned to the ground.

Evelyn Brethauer's 'haunted house'

“When I saw the flames, they were higher than I could believe and I went, ’That’s Michael Myers, oh my god!’ So I went and I ran and I got a bucket full of water, and we poured it on it, but it was too late,” said Brethauer.

She lost nearly $1,500 worth of animatronics. Her Michael Myers, her Headless Horseman, and Pinhead the clown. All that’s left is pieces of burnt plastic.

Evelyn Brethauer's 'haunted house'

“It broke my heart, it really did, because I do this, I work so hard for this with my husband. I can’t believe that somebody would be that cruel and do that,” said Brethauer.

She’s hoping to find the person who did it, but as the news spread around town, a good samaritan showed up with a check worth more than the three decorations cost, in hopes of helping Brethauer replace what she lost.

“It lifted me, because I’m going ‘wow, somebody cares,’” said Brethauer.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Brethauer’s home Friday morning, and they say the case is open and active while they investigate what happened.

But even without those three decorations, Brethauer says the show will still go on.