Loomis family creates Halloween home

Over-the-top decorations are a big hit
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The Soldano family of Loomis loves Halloween. So much so, that every year they spend weeks setting up 35 storage bins of decorations to ready their Tuscan-style home in Clos du Lac in Loomis for All Hallows Eve. “It’s grown to be tedious when I have to block out the time to decorate. But when I’m doing it, it’s like playing, like experiencing childhood again,” said Cindy Soldano, who has a degree in interior design and is a personal trainer. “It’s a little stressful in the beginning, but once it’s all set up and done, it’s great,” said her husband, Dan, who is involved in construction and real estate. The Soldanos and their three sons, Cameron, 15, a Del Oro High School sophomore, Austin, 14, a freshman at Del Oro, and Colton, 11, a sixth-grader at Franklin Elementary School, all get into the Halloween spirit by working together to deck out the house. Even the boys’ bedrooms and the master bath contain tasteful Halloween décor. The older boys both play football at Del Oro and the younger boy plays for the Del Oro Junior Golden Eagles football. Every available surface in the home features a different Halloween vignette. Most of the family’s pieces are “whimsical, folk art style,” said Cindy Soldano. Many are handmade paper mache replicas of antique, early 1900s Halloween collectibles. Two of her favorite shopping haunts for Halloween décor are the Christmas Village and As Time Goes By, both in Auburn. She especially likes items created by Bethany Lowe Designs and August Moon. Weeks spent decorating culminate with a party on Halloween. Family, friends and schoolmates of the three Soldano boys meet up at their home to celebrate. Guests are amazed at the decorations, which include 10 Halloween trees of varying sizes, one of which is adorned in Christopher Radko Halloween ornaments. A collection of 20 Department 56 Snow Village Halloween houses, along with hundreds of accessory pieces that bedeck a baby grand piano, also draw exclamations from visitors. The family’s favorite pieces in the collection are the Black Cat Diner, Haunted Mansion and La Ghosti theater. Dan said that the teenagers who visit their home are most impressed with the Halloween village collection with all of its lights, sounds and moving parts. He said that one teen even exclaimed, “I’d love to live in there.” The Halloween collecting began soon after the Soldanos were married 17 years ago, when Dan’s parents, Lana and Bob, gave them their first Department 56 house. Over the years, they’ve added to it. Each year, the boys are given new Radko ornaments and pieces to the Halloween village. Cindy said that someday she hopes to pass the pieces on to her boys so they won’t forget the warm holiday memories they helped create. Cindy said that her favorite items are three hand-hooked rugs, which she received from her neighbors Sandy and Paul Willams. Sandy made them herself and every year she spends time helping Cindy decorate. Cindy plans to make one into a throw pillow and frame the others. Cindy said she is no longer adding to her collection of Halloween décor unless she is replacing a piece she already has. “Or unless I find something I can’t live without,” she added. She added that the “best time is just after the decorating is done when we can sit back, have a cup of tea and enjoy the warm light and fall feeling” created by the decorations. This year, the Soldanos will be able to enjoy their Halloween decorations throughout the fall, as they will be participating in the Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 6 to benefit the Loomis Basin Education Foundation. They’re calling their home “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The Soldano home is just one of seven very special abodes that will be featured on the home tour. Another home will feature fall decorations, while the rest will be decked out for the Christmas holidays. “I really delight in sharing this with people, I hope they’ll enjoy it and be inspired,” Cindy said. Tickets and more information about the home tour is available on the Loomis Basin Education Foundation Web site at Tickets go on sale in early November and will be available at the La-Z-y Boy Furniture Galleries in Roseville, Blue Goose Produce in Loomis and the Flower Farm Nursery in Loomis. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of. Editor's note: See more photos at: