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They're simply FRIGHTFUL

But it's all in fun for east Medford's Thoms family, some of the friendliest vampires you could meet on Halloween night

The Thoms family of vampires will be outside their east Medford mausoleum with plenty of candy to lure in kids for a bloodsucking bite Thursday, the scariest night of the year.

About 700 costumed candy-consumers last Halloween tiptoed around the lightning bolts, past the 6&

189; -foot lighted Dracula and through the graveyard to reach the Thoms family crypt. All escaped without two holes in their neck but with lots of good treats and a little friendly fright.

Some people say we're sick and twisted, says Brandon Thoms, the family's 15-year-old vampire. But, really, it's just that we like to hang out in vampire costumes and scare people. And the people love it.

People love it so much that the Thomses' home at 2542 Roberts Road earned top Halloween attraction among readers, who are never too shy about sharing directions to scary decorations.

All across the Rogue Valley, residents spice up the traditional trick-or-treat night by spiffing up their homes with pumpkins, the occasional hanging ghost, spider webs or this year's hot prop ' the inflatable Frankenstein.

But a handful of spook-o-philes take the scare shtick a bit further with pop-up zombies, fog machines, computerized goblins and other devilish decor to make their front yards look like something out of House Boo-tiful.

Each has its own flair, yet there is one thing they all share.

We just love Halloween, says Tal Thoms, a 47-year-old pest-control man and family patriarch who enjoys the creepy-crawlies as much as son Brandon. I like science-fiction, macabre things and we are all a little melodramatic. So it's a good fit for us.

And a good fright for visitors who stop by each night now through Thursday for an interactive freak-out.

Visitors first see the old granite fence (actually painted Styrofoam and PVC pipe) with headstones marking buried residents like Fester N. Rott, Yul B. Next and Anna Rexick. A red-eyed zombie pops out of another headstone while lightning and thunder crackle overhead.

Don't focus too much attention on the ghost flying in the garage, because one of the Thoms may dart out of the dark with a boo just for you.

Scaring people's the best, Brandon Thoms says.

It also comes with a frightful cost of time and money.

Some of the items are bought during November clearance sales. Most are designed and built at home.

We try to be unique, Brandon Thoms says. We build things you can't buy at Wal-Mart.

The event reaches its crescendo on Halloween, when the Thomses host a party while also freaking out the trick-or-treaters. The trick is, as an entry fee, the party-goers bring the treats given out at the door.

I'm not going to shell out money for candy for 700 trick-or-treaters, Tal Thoms says.

But, alas, not all are respectful of quality displays of the dead.

Vandals stole so much of the Thomses' vampire stuff four years ago that Brandon and his father now spend 15 minutes each night taking the whole shebang down before going to bed tired but thrilled after their night of fright.

This is more than an obsession-slash-hobby, Tal Thoms says. It's therapy.

The Thoms family has turned its Roberts Road home into a Halloween attraction sporting mechanical ghouls and family members dressed as vampires. Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli - Mail Tribune Roy Musitelli