As It Happens

This man decorated his lawn for Halloween with 'the scariest thing' he could imagine

James Worsham doesn't usually decorate his front yard for Halloween, but this year he decided to display something truly horrific.

The horror of seeing '2020' in big, bold numbers is something anyone can relate to, says artist

James Worsham, owner of Handy Dandy Productions in Nashville, Tenn., poses next to his 2020 Halloween lawn decorations. (Submitted by James Worsham)

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James Worsham doesn't usually decorate his front yard for Halloween, but this year he decided to display something truly horrific.

The Nashville, Tenn., artist did not put up any ghosts or cobwebs or a 12-foot skeleton — just the big, bold white numbers "2020," along with a sign that reads, "It was the scariest thing I could think of."

"Because literally it was the scariest thing I could think of," Worsham told As It Happens host Carol Off. "There's a pumpkin or two out there, but I figured the letters were enough."

It appears to be resonating, he said, with folks stopping in front of his home to snap pictures and have a laugh.

"I guess it kind of struck a nerve with America and the world, because people seem to be loving it so far."

It started with a tornado

While few could find anything good to say about this past year, it started to take a turn for Worsham in March when a tornado destroyed his work studio. 

"I came home to basically the place that I worked, that I made all of my artwork, and that was really my sanctuary and my solace, [and it] was just, you know, pretty much a grotto. It was now full of water. My whole new body of work that I'd spent at least a thousand hours of work on, now it was just trash," he said. 

"So that pretty much kicked off a wonderful year."

Worsham is an artist who creates installations for restaurants and hotels. He says business has not been great during the pandemic. (Submitted by James Worsham)

His business was closed for four months as he worked through insurance bureaucracy and scouted a new location to get back to designing art installations for restaurants and hotels. 

"And then as soon as I moved into a new location and I was so excited to get back into it, of course, the pandemic killed all of my projects," he said.

"So all of my work dried up. Insurance kind of pulled a fast one on me. We had some, you know, awful family health scares. And it was just pretty much one of the worst years I can remember."

Despite everything, Worsham still considers himself an optimist. He says his family is doing OK, nobody has contracted COVID-19, and at least one of his projects has been rescheduled for next year. 

"Hey, it could've been worse, though. I tell myself that every day ... that no matter what, I'm still breathing," he said. "I can still make a bad dad joke or two. And there's always tomorrow."

Those cheesy jokes, he says, are therapeutic. Especially his Halloween decorations. 

"I would definitely say that seeing people smile and seeing people laugh and the response, it definitely motivates me and gives me a lot of encouragement, so I'm grateful for it," he said. 

"It's just what we're all going through. You know, we're just trying to make the best of a bad year."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Katie Geleff. 

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