Paul Izzett loves to thrill and scare kids with his Halloween decorations, but he generates some scares even before Oct. 31.

Each year when the 49-year-old information technology project manager sets up his 20 or so clown inflatables, he places them inside his Mechanicsville home for a few days before moving them outside.

“It’s kind of weird, but for the first week or two of October if you wake up and get a drink of water or something like that, you’ll be startled a bit because you’re going to run into these clowns standing up and staring at you,” Izzett said, referring to his three children, ages 11, 15 and 17.

Izzett said he inherited his love of decorating from his parents as well as the thrill of trick-or-treating at neighbors’ decked-out homes.

Izzett said he came up with the horror clown theme a few years ago and his focal point is a giant walk-through clown head at his front door.

“I always remember that every funhouse you walked into had this giant head,” he said. “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could do something like that?’”

His 11-year-old son will dress as a clown and blend in with the others for jump-scares. And, he pairs his yard of inflatables with smoke machines, jumping spiders, strobe lights and a pair of 2,000-watt speakers; one plays a thunderstorm complete with flashing lights, while the other blares Halloween-themed tunes. However, Izzett will only set up the speakers a few days before Halloween because he thinks his “neighbors might run me out of town.”

He said trick-or-treaters must head down a steep hill to get to his home — which is located at 39736 Grand Haven Drive in a neighborhood off of Morganza Turner Road — so he makes the trip worthwhile by handing out full-size candy bars on Halloween.

“I love doing it and I love the reaction that the kids get out of it,” he said.

But Izzett said his Halloween decorations — which he said cost about $8,000 — pale in comparison to his Christmas set-up, which “gets pretty crazy.”

And when it comes to what kids want in their plastic bags, pillow cases and plastic pumpkins, www.candystore.com said the top three treats for the Old Line State are Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey Miniatures.

There was a change for most preferred treats in the country, as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups overtook Skittles for the top spot while M&M’s placed third.

When it comes time to sort their nightly haul, ghosts, goblins and others are quick to push away candy corn, circus peanuts, peanut butter kisses, Smarties and Necco wafers, all of which are in the Top 5.

When it comes to Halloween movie villains, the clear-cut runaway favorite scariest, according to www.attsavings.com, is Michael Myers, the mask-wearing, knife-toting, always-coming-back-from-the-dead villain from the “Halloween” franchise. Jason Voorhees of “Friday The 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street’s” Freddy Krueger placed second and third.

On the small screen, Marylanders’ favorite Halloween television shows are “The Simpsons” Treehouse of Terror episodes.

So put on that makeup, grab a cape or a broomstick and transform into someone scary, funny or even offbeat because there’s plenty of sweets — and scares — just waiting to be had.

Local Halloween events

Friday, Oct. 22

Cornstalkers Trail of Terror tells the story of the Graves haunting with Graves Farmhouse, Hillbilly Homestead, The Asylum and the all-new Barnyard at 11765 St. Linus Drive in Waldorf. Open for 30 minute blocks from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, through Sunday, Oct. 24; Friday, Oct. 29, through Sunday, Oct. 31; and 7:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6. Tickets start at $20. Go to www.ebehaunts.com.

A Halloween Drive-Thru will be held 6 to 9 p.m. at Hallowing Point Park, 4755 Hallowing Point Road in Prince Frederick. Receive small pumpkins, decorating kits, candies and other goodies.

North Beach will hold a scarecrow judging contest through Saturday, Oct. 30. Scarecrows will be placed around town through Nov. 8 and the public is encouraged to vote for their favorites in three categories. Ballots are available at the North Beach town hall, post office or email votes to info@northbeachmd.org. Winners will be announced at the annual Boo Bash on Oct. 30.

Saturday, Oct. 23

Leonardtown will host its annual Trick or Treat on the Square 3 to 5 p.m. Pet costume contest and more. Call 301-475-9791 or email brandy.blackstone@leonardtownmd.gov.

Chesapeake Beach will hold a Halloween Movie Night for residents 6:30 p.m. at the Kellams Field Complex, 3825 Gordon Stinnett Ave. in Chesapeake Beach.

Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center in Solomons will host its 22nd Annual Halloween in the Garden 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Trick-or-treating, activities, bubble magic, DJ dance party, food vendors, face painting, sand art and photo ops. Masks required for ages 3 and older. Admission is $5 and advance timed-entry tickets are required. Call 410-326-4640 or go to www.annmariegarden.org.

Thursday, Oct. 28

St. Inies Coffee will host Spooky Eve 6 to 9 p.m. at 46915 S. Shangri-La Drive in Lexington Park. Costume contest, poetry, spooky stories, and performances by King of Canines Dog Army, paranormal poetess Naomi and Witch-King of Southern Maryland Erick. Call 240-844-1199.

Friday, Oct. 29

AMR Elite Realtors will host a Halloween Harvest Festival 5 to 7 p.m. at 3825 Leonardtown Road in Waldorf. Pony rides, moonbounce, vendors, ice cream truck and costume contests. Bring nonperishable food for the AMR Thanksgiving food drive. Registration required. Go to www.eventbrite.com/e/amr-elite-realtors-harvest-festival-tickets-185313185727?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.

Running Hare Vineyard will host a Halloween party beginning 8 p.m. at 150 Adelina Road in Prince Frederick. Cold Gin, a KISS tribute band, will perform. No cover. Go to https://touch.facebook.com/events/547581533192562?m_entstream_source=timeline.

North Beach Fire Department will hold a trunk or treat 6 to 9 p.m. at 8536 Bayside Road in North Beach. Contests, prizes, games. Call Lauren at 410-257-6564 or go to www.northbeachfire.com.

Southern Trail Distillery will host a Witches Night Out 6 to 9 p.m. at 27227 Morganza Turner Road in Mechanicsville. Costume contest, vendors, music, food and cocktails. Admission is $5. Go to https://southerntraildistillery.com/

Saturday, Oct. 30

St. Mary’s Square will hold its Second Annual Halloween in the Square 1 to 4 p.m. at 21600 Great Mills Road in Lexington Park. Candy, contact-free Halloween trail, free haircuts and performances by Foundation 4 Heroes and firetrucks. Email bj.hall@rbal1.org.

301 Derby Dames roller derby team will hold a trunk or treat 6 to 9 p.m. at the Charles County Fairgrounds, 8440 Fairgrounds Road in La Plata. Go to www.charlescountyfair.com/event/trunk-or-treat-sponsored-by-the-301-derby-dames/.

Patuxent Naval Air Museum will hold a flight trunk or treat 2 to 5 p.m. at 22156 Three Notch Road in Lexington Park. Vehicles will be allowed on the flight line at 1 p.m. Go to www.paxmuseum.com.

La Plata will host a Trick or Treat Trail noon to 3 p.m. at 305 Queen Anne St. in La Plata. Visit participating businesses to receive a treat. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Email Colleen Wilson at cwilson@townoflaplata.org or go to https://townoflaplata.org.

Sunday, Oct. 31

Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department will hold a trunk or treat 6 p.m. at 4030 Old Town Road in Huntingtown. Call 410-535-3331.

The Town of North Beach will hold its annual Hound of the Town 1 to 3 p.m. Costume parade and costume contest for dogs. Categories include Best Costume, Funniest Costume, Best Overall Hound of the Town, Best Dog/Owner Combo and Scariest. Registration is $10, and proceeds benefit the Calvert Animal Welfare League. Call 410-535-9300 or go to www.northbeachmd.org/hound-town.

The Town of North Beach will hold its 12th Annual Boo Bash at 4 p.m. There will be a children’s costume contest (registration starts at 3:15 p.m.), a parade and trick-or-treating. Go to www.northbeachmd.org/special-events/pages/boo-bash.

Ridge Volunteer Fire Department is one of three stops in Ridge for Trunk or Treat on Sunday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. For more, visit www.facebook.com/RidgeVFD/.

Emmanuel Church will hold a trunk or treat during its fall festival 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, at 3800 Old Town Road in Huntingtown. Games and craft stations. Call 410-257-9188.

Twitter: @MichaelSoMdNews

Twitter: @MichaelSoMdNews