Ed Harding Brought Haunt To Halloween


Ed Harding poses with some of his “Harding’s House Of Horrors” friends in October 2021.

When I think of the late Ed Harding, who passed away last January, several things come to mind, most notably his outgoing and friendly demeanor, generosity, outstanding photography skills and last but not least, his love of Halloween.

For nearly four decades Ed was our community’s Mr. Halloween -  the guy who put the haunt into the season by turning his garage into “Harding’s House Of Horrors,”  a haunted house that attracted children and adults from across the community who were looking for a good scare. Ed didn’t charge an admission to go through his haunt, but he did accept free-will offerings that were donated to a local cause or organization, usually the Glenwood Booster Club.

During an interview I conducted with Ed about this time last year, he talked about the history of his haunted house and how much it had grown over a nearly 40-year period.

“It started with a talking pumpkin,” he said. “We had a lot of fun with that. The trick-or-treaters were talking to it. So, the next year, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll do a little display instead of just a talking pumpkin.’”

That “ little display” evolved and grew over the years and eventually became an all-out haunted house featuring not only the ghouls, ghosts, goblins and creepy characters you’d expect to encounter at a haunt, but also some high-tech gadgets and creatures Ed created and installed himself. Last year, he added an awesome smoke-blowing dinosaur dragon. Harding’s House of Horror’s was a traditional Halloween stop for many Glenwood children and families through the years.

In addition to staging his haunted house, Ed also established a Halloween photo booth for youngsters who were trick or treating around Glenwood’s Town Square during Square Crow Days. Although there will be no haunted house in Ed’s garage this year, the photo booth tradition will live on at Square Crow Days and the entire event on Saturday, Oct. 22 (9 - 11 a.m.) is being dedicated in his honor. The photo booth will be outside City Hall.

“This year, with the blessing of the family, we would like to dedicate the Square Crow Days in honor of Ed. It seems perfectly fitting,” Square Crow Days organizer Emily Prickett said in a recent post on the Friends of Ed Harding Facebook page.

The promotional flyer for Square Crow Days says, “We are honored to dedicate this year’s Square Crow Days celebration to Mr. Ed Harding. He loved our community, photography and all things spooky. We always looked forward to him capturing the best moments from this event.”

Indeed he did. In fact, Ed captured the best moments from every event he photographed - spooky, athletic or otherwise.

The Opinion-Tribune

116 S Walnut St Glenwood, IA 51534-1665
PO Box 191 Glenwood, IA 51534-0191
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