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Swampscott is all dressed up for Halloween

One of the 2016 Halloween Display winners at 76 Kensington Lane. (Courtesy Photo)

SWAMPSCOTT — For The Love of Swampscott, a local nonprofit, is challenging residents to frighten and dazzle the town with their best Halloween displays outside their homes or businesses this month.

Registration for the third annual Halloween Display Contest is open until dusk on Oct. 27, and residents will drive around and judge the houses from Oct. 28 to 31. Entrants can register or learn more at www.fortheloveofswampscott.org.

“We will release all of the participants on a map the Friday before Halloween and give the residents the long weekend to drive around with their families and take a look at all the sights and frights and (then) go back to our website to choose their favorites,” said Joanna O’Neil, president of For the Love of Swampscott (FLOS). “I think a lot of people enjoy decorating their homes so this is a wonderful way to get more people to view it.”

O’Neil said the displays don’t have to be scary. Some people have opted to do fun, Harvest-themed decorations.

The contest is free to enter and the only rule is that owners are responsible for the design, installation and removal of all decorations. All displays must be decorated by dusk on the day of the registration deadline. The three winners chosen by residents will receive Swampscott-related prizes.

O’Neil said the contest is popular with more than 40 houses entering in each of the first two years. She said FLOS only expected about a dozen participants the first year. She said the group is hoping to get more businesses involved in the contest.

She said the contest started because the group had seen similar challenges in other towns, but the town would vote on the displays. FLOS members thought it would be cool to switch it up and that it would be a community builder to have the residents vote on their favorites, rather than the organization hosting the contest.

Plus, the contest provides a little healthy competition.

“There are a lot of creative residents in this town, which makes it fun for us and makes it fun for everybody,” O’Neil said.

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