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Sam Widdall describes the massive anniversary affectation he has put up at his Highland home for added than three decades as a “labor of love.”

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So back the holiday-spirited homeowner abstruse he would be commuting amid Highland and Houston as he able for a abiding move to Texas with his wife, Lorraine, he knew this year he would be clumsy to put up the affectation that has fatigued bags of bodies bottomward 41st Street over the years.

Instead of aloof abrogation the home and O’Day Drive undecorated – and his admirers in the aphotic about what why the affectation wasn’t there – Widdall erected a assurance thanking bodies for their abutment and allegorical them of the final scaled bottomward display.

“I put the assurance up, and a brace little copse about it with flood lights on it,” Widdall said.

He additionally installed a dozen laser lights as a quick way to brighten and adorn his home after accepting to adhere strands of lights and arrect the abounding silhouettes, displays and the Nativity arena that are usually allotment of the fun.

A fan of anniversary lights and decorating, Widdall and his ancestors addled the lights on in Highland Nov. 24 and headed to Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to attending at the lighting accomplishment there. Back they alternate a few hours later, his 12 laser ablaze units had been stolen.

“I don’t accept the action abaft that,” Widdall said. He was affronted and abashed by the theft, which he appear to police.

Commander John Banasiak, with the Highland Badge Department, accepted badge took a address from Widdall.

“People are rotten,” Banasiak said. “It aloof charcoal your spirit.”

It is not the aboriginal time that anniversary decorations accept been stolen. Banasiak said that while the administration does not assort what items are baseborn in thefts for its anniversary advertisement purposes, he said there are incidents like this anniversary season.

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“Off the top of my head, every year we accept a bisected a dozen to a dozen thefts or atrocity to decorations,” Banasiak said.

He declared 41st Street as a awful trafficked accessory east-west avenue in boondocks and was afraid the annexation took abode during what would be a active time of day for traffic.

Anyone with advice can alarm the administration at 219-838-3134.

Banasiak said Widdall’s home is one that Highland families accept been activity to for generations.

“It’s aloof a longtime Highland tradition,” Banasiak said.

Joe Puchek / Post-Tribune

Lorraine Widdall at her home at 41st Street and O’Day Drive in Highland.

Lorraine Widdall at her home at 41st Street and O’Day Drive in Highland. (Joe Puchek / Post-Tribune)

Sam and Lorraine Widdall started decorating in 1986 back they aboriginal purchased the home. Lorraine tackles the central and the alfresco is his domain. Anniversary year Sam Widdall added to the display. His ancestors lived abutting aperture in the bifold and additionally became allotment of the effort. At aboriginal they stored the decorations in their basements, again in a committed afford and assuredly in an accession to the garage.

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“It was amazing. Bodies started honking and stopping,” Widdall said.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, agitator attacks, Widdall said, he and his backward father-in-law Jim Courtright capital to advice change the mood.

“It seemed like it wasn’t the same. The Christmas spirit was not there. It was a altered affectionate of year,” he said. The duo purchased Santa apparel and took turns continuing alfresco from 5 to 7 p.m. to beachcomber at passersby and handed out bonbon canes to the accouchement who showed up.

Decorating and arena Santa for all those years has larboard Widdall with a lot of memories. He recalled actuality Santa for a 9-year-old boy apprehension a alarmist transplant. The boy’s parents fabricated arrange in beforehand for Widdall to accord the boy and some of his accompany presents.

“It was absolutely affection touching. He jumped in my arms,” he said.

Widdall chokes up back he talks about the boy’s excitement, and the blessed catastrophe he abstruse of later. The youngster accustomed a liver, he said.

Another woman stops by every year with her developed babe who has Bottomward syndrome.

“Every year she comes up and says, ‘Hey, my Santa.’ She gives me a Snickers bar every year,” Widdall said. He says Santa consistently tells her to booty as abounding bonbon canes as she wants.

“There are a lot of belief like that,” Widdall said.

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Widdall said this year’s annexation was not the first. The affectation has been vandalized in the past. Bodies accept befuddled eggs at the silhouettes. One year addition threw a beer canteen at his father-in-law while he was dressed as Santa and agape him down, he said.

Crown Point Badge Chief Pete Acreage said anniversary adornment sometimes can be an accessible target.

The burghal hosts an anniversary anniversary ablaze bout and abounding homes forth the planned route, forth with those featured in the tour, accept busy decorations.

“In accomplished years we’ve about consistently had some blazon of annexation or appear abuse to Christmas lights or displays,” Acreage said. The baseborn items are usually those backyard displays that are baby and accessible to bound backpack away. So far no laser displays accept been baseborn of which he is aware, but with the acceptance of the units growing that could change, he said.

Police accommodate added patrols in neighborhoods during the anniversary season. Beyond attention anniversary adornment they are attractive for apprehensive cartage that may be targeting homes with bales on the advanced steps.

“Up to this point, we’ve had alone a minimum bulk of accessory calls,” Acreage said.

For Widdall, ambidextrous with the annexation is aloof allotment of the deal. He refuses to let the annexation bedew his anniversary spirit and won’t anticipate approaching decorating. Widdall said if he were blockage in Highland he would still decorate. Abutting year he affairs to adorn in his new home in Texas, he said.

“It’s exciting. We are architecture our dream abode on some acreage we bought. I will abide to decorate, but now I will be in a gated community,” Widdall said.

He is a little aghast his affectation won’t be accessible to the accepted accessible but has ample out a way to get added bodies to see his adulation for anniversary lights. His babe will be affective to Texas as able-bodied and he will be decorating her house, forth with the abode of a niece and nephew already there.

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Carrie Napoleon is a freelance anchorman for the Post-Tribune.

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