A mother of five has transformed her family into the real-life Addams Family, transforming her Surrey home into a house of horrors for four months each year. Sarah Adams, her true name, lets out her “inner kid” and decorates her house for Halloween with scary dolls, cobwebs, and pumpkins from July until October.
During the family’s favorite season, eerie movies play nonstop on their TV, which is surrounded by more than £4,000 in decorations. Sarah, her plasterer spouse Sam Cullip, 37, and her five children who have her Adams surname – Alfie, 17, Jamie, 14, Kobie, 10, Bonnie, seven, and Archie, five – like dressing up as the Addams Family and appear uncannily identical to the macabre TV family.
Even after Halloween, the decorations are removed to make room for a terrifying Christmas, complete with Chucky, the serial killer doll from the Child’s Play slasher film franchise, who wears a festive hat and holds a candy cane. Sarah, 36, said why she didn’t enjoy Halloween when she was younger: “In the 1990s, Halloween was never really celebrated at home or in general. So when I had children, it was my inner kid expressing itself.
“I have a solid justification with the kids that I’m doing it for them, but in a strange way, I’m also doing it for myself.
“With all of the decorations, I’m making my inner child very happy. I also consider myself as a cool mother – perhaps even a strange mother – who has her Christmas tree up and decorated for Halloween.”
Sarah’s fascination with Halloween and all things horror began when she saw Chucky on television for the first time at the age of five, but as she grew older, she felt she was missing out on the fun.
“I wish I could tell my adolescent or child self that everything would be alright and that you deserve to have holidays like Halloween at some point,” she said.
She began collecting horror-themed decorations for her hallway and picking out trick-or-treating clothes with her elder sons in 2011, when she was 27 and they were six and three.
Sarah’s Halloweens have grown so popular that her 12,000 social media followers often ask her in June if she has her frightening decorations up yet. They actually begin “pushing their way out” of cabinets and under her ottoman bed in early July.
Meanwhile, her nine creepy dolls are permanently and prominently placed on a shelf above the stairs, with Chucky being her favorite.
Sarah stated: “He was the first decoration I purchased in 2008, and I began collecting Halloween and scary items in 2011.
“I clearly enjoy horror, so when I spotted the Chucky doll in a Modelzone shop in Crawley, I couldn’t believe it.
“These things are common in America, but not here, so I had to get him. He was £50. Tiffany, Chucky’s bride, was released a few years later, and I needed to purchase her as well. This obsession grew from there.”
The frightening doll held sentimental meaning for the mother because it was the first horror film she had ever seen.
Last Halloween, the entire family dressed up as the Addams Family, and Sarah said: “It was our first family costume. Normally, we all dress up in costumes that we choose ourselves, and it was amazing.”
Sarah, on the other hand, would like to make some changes the next time.
“I told everyone that we needed to retake the Addams Family photo since I couldn’t find a hand to save my life.
“I want Thing, as the hand is known, to perch on one of our shoulders. It irritates me because I couldn’t find one, and it appears unfinished, so we plan to retake the photo outside with gravestones, fog, and pumpkins next year.”
The Addams and Adams families share more than just surnames; Sarah believes her demeanor is akin to Morticia Addams’, her daughter Bonnie is similar to Wednesday Addams, and her partner Sam is comparable to Gomez Addams.
She stated: “As a person, I’m extremely black and white. I don’t display as many emotions as Morticia, but at home, I adore my children above all else – they are my entire existence.
“Sam is more romantic than I am; he is similar to Mr Addams in that regard. And my daughter Bonnie is 100% Wednesday because of the way she looks.”
In the days leading up to Halloween, the Adams family plays their favorite Halloween movies, including A Nightmare Before Christmas, Chucky, Annabelle, and, of course, The Addams Family.
On Halloween morning, they will make Halloween-themed cookies, play Cluedo, pick and carve pumpkins, and fill stockings with horror-themed figures, candy, and chocolate.
Sarah stated: “When the second Hocus Pocus film was released, I arranged a party for my kids, complete with homemade cookies and other items purchased from small companies, such as their own Hocus Pocus themed cups.
“I also brought biscuits in the shape of movie tickets for them to munch. They all enjoyed it, including my 17-year-old son, Alfie.”
Sarah isn’t the only one in the Adams family who enjoys horror films.
While Alfie recently received a glow-in-the-dark Purge mark, Bonnie enjoys brushing Tiffany’s hair, and Archie even brought Chucky to bed as a cuddling toy.
She stated: “My children are unconcerned by the decorations. The Chucky doll, as well as the Scream Mask, remain on top of the steps all year.
“When we watch scary movies, I always remind them it’s not real and that none of the props will come to life, which I think helps.
“But I think they’re just brave when it comes to stuff like this, and they’re not the type of kids that wake up crying from nightmares.”
Her efforts to make her home more eerie do not stop there. Her next endeavor will be to transform her stairs into an all-year horror show.
“My partner is creating me coffin-shaped shelves – I will have horror staircases, but this is still just in my brain,” she explained.
Sam, her ten-year partner, has known Sarah for nearly 15 years and shares her love of horror and Halloween.
She stated: “He came home the other day after driving around for hours looking locate a Nightmare Before Christmas Sally for me.
“He said he had to go to work while driving around getting this surprise for me.”
Sarah now has hundreds of pieces in her eerie collection, which she believes is worth over £4,000, with the majority of them arriving from America via friends or purchased in the UK at TK Maxx, Asda, or Sainsbury’s.
She stated: “Rae Dunn decorations are my favorite since they have wonderful lettering on them. I probably have £1,000 worth of them.”
And if her three-bedroom house runs out of space, she admits she’d rather relocate than get rid of any of her creepy décor.
“I really adore decorating and making things look nice. I became addicted to it, and no one can ever convince me otherwise.”