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Local couple builds pirate ship for Halloween

October 23, 2010

The Halloween spirit of Jeff and Mary Grimes is so big their garage can barely contain it.

For the past month the Marshalltown couple has been building a pirate ship in their garage in preparation to host local Trick-or-Treaters, which will happen from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

The ship started with two refrigerator boxes and as time went on got more detailed and now include smoking cannons and pirate flags as sails.

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The couple said the ship idea came about after they decided they wanted to do a project to get them in the Halloween spirit.

"I used to dread going to the door to give out candy," Jeff Grimes said. "This is a little more exciting."

He dressed up as a grim reaper last year and scared young children more than planned, so they wanted a more kid-friendly decoration to welcome visitors this year that would create more smiles and less tears.

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Marshalltown couple Mary and Jeff Grimes stand in front of the pirate ship they built in their garage. The couple lives at 312 E. Ferner St. and will have the ship ready for Halloween Trick-or-Treaters the night of Oct. 31.

Aside from the 15-foot cardboard ship, the garage features a lighted treasure chest with candy that resembles gold nuggets and a treasure map posted on the wall. Visitors can also expect the host couple to get into the swash buckling mood and dress as pirates themselves.

"It's just another way to enjoy Halloween," Mary Grimes said.

She is a native of Venezuela and took a liking the past few years to celebrating Halloween and the tradition of dressing up in America.

"I see Halloween as being very happy here," she said.

The couple said they are ready to welcome visitors the night of Oct. 31 at their house at 312 E. Ferner Street, which is a block south of Anson Elementary School.

"I think the kids will like it," Jeff Grimes said. "It's kind of unique. I'm happy with it."

He did say the ship is just to view and not sturdy enough for children to play on.

"I wouldn't advise playing on it," he said with a laugh. "It would probably collapse."


Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or



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