BILLINGS — Monday marks the most important day of the year on Clark Avenue in Billings. Homeowners know costs will likely go up in October, with each house likely to pay $300-400 in candy alone as thousands of trick-or-treaters descend on the popular five-block route between Division Street and Fifth Street West.
What many don't know is that many of the giant displays are there for less than 24 hours.
"We usually put it up on Halloween day and take it down on Halloween night," said Sheri Sala, who lives on the 300 block of Clark.
2022 is Sala’s 11th year on the street, with a new theme every October.
"I’ve wanted to live on this street forever because I love Halloween," she said with a smile.
That’s a key because all of the monstrous magic isn’t cheap.
"We invest thousands, a lot of us, over the years," she said.
"Handing out candy is a full-time job," echoed Josh Stanek.
This is Stanek’s third Clark-O-Ween - and yes, he knew what he was getting into.
"Everybody warned me," he laughed. "Halloween’s my favorite holiday so I didn’t have a problem with it at all."
A Halloween-themed music playlist helped get him through afternoon setup Monday.
"We're not the best house on the block," he said, "but every year we add a little more."
Many Clark Avenue regulars would vote Jarod Tocco's family's house on the corner of Clark and 3rd Street West a Best On the Block winner.
"Over the years, it’s been quite a sum," Tocco said.
He doesn’t know exactly how much his family has spent on the famous corner house over the last 30 years. But the veterans know how much candy to buy.
"The last big one we had was 3,500 pieces of candy," Tocco said.
They're expecting a similar number this year, now two years removed from COVID-19 shutdown. Tocco and crew even know not to rake beforehand - leaves are key for covering up cords. It’s details like that most of the 10,000 trick-or-treaters won’t notice, but that make Clark Avenue homeowners a special group.
"This is why I moved here," Sala said. "This street is just so magic. I love it."