Haunted Farm helps Harvest

Johns’ 20th Halloween of family fun assists well-known ET foodbank

  • Leilani Johns, the couple’s daughter, stands in front of one of many Halloween and “Stranger Things”-themed displays in her family’s yard, where the Johns have hosted Haunted Farms for the last two decades. The event is open to the public, and Leilani also is collecting donations for Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. - Photos submitted

  • The Fort West yard of Bill and Margaret Johns offers spooky Halloween décor for the community through Saturday, Nov. 7. - Photos submitted

Fall is a very special time for Bill and Margaret Johns and their daughter, Leilani, all of whom love the season and the activities it brings — especially in the weeks leading up to Halloween. However, it is their Haunted Farm™ attraction that brings it all together for them, their friends and much of the community. This year is the 20th anniversary display of Haunted Farm, located at the dead end cove of Sundown Road in Farragut’s Fort West subdivision.

Open to the public for viewing, the yard surrounding their home offers a spooky collection of life-sized figures, creatures and displays. In recent years, an enormous “haunted couch” was made for people wanting to capture a great Halloween picture in addition to several “Stranger Things” show-themed displays including a Scoops-Ahoy ice cream booth.

Leilani and Bill work together on the decorations and get help every year with arranging the displays, thanks to help from the Farragut High School football team, it’s varsity head coach, Eddie Courtney, and his staff.

The event takes on a very altruistic aspect, too, being in conjunction with Leilani’s upcoming birthday, she is once again — as she has since 2013 — holding a food drive. Specifically “requesting canned/dry foods in lieu of birthday gifts,” designating Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee as beneficiary, she said. Leilani will continue collecting food for a few weeks just prior to Thanksgiving.

The Johns first started their Haunted Farm six weeks following the 9-11 attacks, hoping to offer an opportunity to “get out and be normal.” This year, Bill Johns anticipates a similar interest.

“Due to COVID-19, Halloween being on a Saturday this year and the presidential election being held the following week, [I] predict this Halloween will be similar to 2001 in people yearning to have a few hours of much needed fun,” he said.

For a few years, Haunted Farm was one of the most visited Halloween/tourist attractions in West Knox County with thousands attending through parties and stopping by often during the years of 2004 through 2008. In 2008, Bill and Margaret welcomed Leilani, who missed actually being born on Halloween by just a few hours. As a result, Haunted Farm took on a completely new meaning for the family.

It is also interesting to note that both Bill and Leilani have even been recognized for their Halloween creations at past Tennessee Valley Fairs through being awarded numerous ribbons.

“Pretty much anyone can come by to visit Haunted Farm to check out the displays,” Bill said. The last day to visit Haunted Farm will be Saturday, Nov. 7. Many visitors come during daylight for pictures for their social media and for family fun, but also return in the evening to see it fully illuminated, where it takes on a completely different feel, he added.

Anyone interested in visiting Haunted Farm or to find out more about Leilani’s annual food drive, may contact Bill Johns, “The Hawaiian Shirt Guy,” at hauntedfarm@sundowncountry.com.