Patti Butts’ large, elaborate Halloween display is a treat for the whole neighborhood.
Butts, who put up her decorations on Sept. 1, cherishes the tradition, which she and her late husband, Chuck Sr., built up over many years before he died in April 2016. Now she does it partly to remember the good times they had together.
But early Monday morning, two men played a mean Halloween trick on her, allegedly taking perhaps her favorite part of the display — an inflatable black cat as tall as a house.
“Now our grandchildren are upset because the cat is gone,” she said.
The frightening feline was given to her by her father, who is now in hospice care because of kidney disease and heart failure. That makes the theft even more upsetting, Butts said.
“It makes me want to take everything down and not even hand out candy this year,” she said. “People are begging me not to take my decorations down. They are telling me not to let this guy — or these two guys — ruin my Halloween.”
Butts has it all on video, thanks to her three security cameras: the suspects walking up at 2:38 a.m., pulling the stakes, unplugging the cat, carrying it past the garage and pulling a mannequin head out of the ground on the way to their vehicle.
“They’re carrying it across my driveway,” she said. “You can see the cat looking at the house.”
Butts reported the incident to the Council Bluffs Police Department but mainly just wants the keen kitty returned.
“Bring me back my cat — no questions asked,” she said. “Leave people’s stuff alone. That cat means a lot to me. It means nothing to them.”
Butts is currently staying with her parents but has relatives house-sitting for her.
“My father is very ill, and they just need my help,” she said.
Meanwhile, Butts’ friends are watching Craigslist, local pawn shops and lawns for any sign of the cat, she said.