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Published: Thursday, 10/21/2004

Perrysburg: Dollhouse inhabitants a little spooky

Don Coffey built a dollhouse that has a distinct Halloween theme, with creepy creatures. Don Coffey built a dollhouse that has a distinct Halloween theme, with creepy creatures.

The terrors are tiny but the smiles are big in the children's section of Way Public Library in Perrysburg this month, as visitors delight in the spooky miniature world of Don Coffey's haunted dollhouse.

Mr. Coffey, who has lived in Perrysburg for about 30 years with his wife, Lois, creates dollhouses as a hobby. He loaned the Halloween-themed house to the library this month.

"The longer you look at it, the more you see. It has lots of detail," said Peggy Pile, youth services coordinator at the library. "The kids just love it, and the adults like it equally well if not more."

The dollhouse is full of creepy creatures, from the fuzzy monster in an upstairs bedroom to the vampire reclining in the living room. Most of the action is in the kitchen, where two skeletons-one wearing a green visor-are playing cards while a small black cat watches from atop a grandfather clock and a mummy looms in the corner.

Mr. Coffey went all-out to make the scene look realistic, even painting tiny dots on the skeletons' playing cards.

"He's a man of patience," said Mrs. Coffey, a retired pre-school teacher. "I'm his support system and color coordinator."

In the past two decades, Mr. Coffey has made about a dozen dollhouses. Mr. Coffey, who retired from his job as an industrial engineer about 10 years ago, builds the basic house from a standard kit and then customizes it with shingles, landscaping, and furnishings.

He said he spent about six months creating the Halloween house, which won a prize a few years ago at the annual Toledo Area Miniatures Enthusiasts exhibit.

"He adds an extra special touch to his dollhouses," said Becky Scroggins, owner of Greenhouse Miniatures in Sylvania. "The Halloween house blew me away because there's so much humorous stuff."

Many of the scenes in the dollhouse would more likely cause giggles than goose bumps, such as the skeleton crouching in an outhouse and the sleeping goblin clutching a Teddy bear for comfort.

"Lois and I had a lot of fun picking up the odds and ends for the house," Mr. Coffey said. "It gives us something to look for when we're out shopping."

The couple is working on another dollhouse with a Christmas theme that they want to display at the first annual Northwest Ohio Miniature Fair on Nov. 20 and 21 in the Clarion Hotel-Westgate, 3536 Secor Rd.

"We need to get busy," Mrs. Coffey said.

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