What a wicked web they weave. Wicked, as in cool. And icky.
Kevin and Traci Penner are responsible for what may well be the largest spider you’ll see anywhere. It’s suspended in a massive web in front of the house the couple bought in Cloverdale in 1984, at 6223 184th Street.
Kevin, 62, made his creepy crawly masterpiece from scratch.
“It’s all scrap material and salvaged material that I’ve come across, and sort of built onto it year after year.”
The autumn weather appears to be arachnophobic – the wind storms have not been kind.
“I’ve put it up three times this year now,” Kevin says of his macabre Halloween display. “It tears it apart. The web is a backing rod, the foam rod that they put between concrete slabs when they’re building, so it’s not terribly strong. It’s a lot stronger than you’d think, but the wind does take a toll on it.”
People are always dropping by, snapping photos. The giant spider display lights up at night, with fluid traveling up a cable to the big black bug’s mouth-parts, like it’s sucking the juices out of its victim.
By day, Kevin works at a testing lab for building products while wife Traci, 57, runs a geocaching business out of their home. They also run a Scouts group in Cloverdale.
Their Halloween display also features a cemetery, a skeleton lounging in a tree, a big dangly bat, skull heads and more.
“The graveyard is fun,” Traci says.
She bought the bat in Gastown, and recalls getting some quizzical stares from people as she cradled the furry thing in her arms downtown.
“The spider house is what we’re referred to,” Traci says. “And because it’s old and set back, at other times of the year it’s a ‘haunted house.’”
Why do they do it?
“Because he’s crazy,” Traci chuckles.
“It’s fun,” Kevin replies.
Interestingly, Traci admits she’s “terrified” of spiders.
“The big hairy ones that wear the army boots. The roof up inside the porch, there’s a big one that lives there. I’ll leave him there because he’s eating bugs. I respect them, what they do. But he’s only there this time of the year. When it’s colder he’ll move into the house, I’m sure.”
“The basement is giant hairy spiders, so I don’t go in the basement.”
When the eight-legged star of their Halloween display – it’s probably about nine feet long, or more – is not scaring the pants off of passersby, Kevin folds it up and stores it between the washer and dryer in their basement, until the next Halloween.
“He’s stores it beside the washer and the dryer, so I don’t wear my glasses when I go into the basement,” Traci says.
She’s pretty sure there are no other spiders of like size down there.
“If there are, I don’t want to know about them.”
And we had to ask, does their giant display spider have a name?
Kevin and Traci look at one another. Nope.
How about, “Scary Gary?”