Wyoming People: Desiree Ross Is Worland’s Queen Of Halloween

Desiree Ross, Worland’s Queen of Halloween, lives in the perfect place for a haunted house. Her home was Worland’s very first hospital where 3,000 babies were born.

RJ
Renée Jean

October 21, 20238 min read

A yard full of cemetery stones with funny sayings on them is part of the usual Halloween decor for Desiree Ross, who's proud to be Worland's "Queen of Halloween."
A yard full of cemetery stones with funny sayings on them is part of the usual Halloween decor for Desiree Ross, who's proud to be Worland's "Queen of Halloween." (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

WORLAND — Desiree Ross has long been known as this town’s Queen of Halloween, where she carries on a tradition begun by her mother in her Second Treasures thrift and consignment store. 

Hers is essentially the only business for miles around that carries costumes and Halloween items, and Ross goes all-out for the season hundreds of costumes and over-the-top decoration. 

“I’ve been told many times by many people, ‘You’re the queen of Halloween, aren’t you,” Ross told Cowboy State Daily. “They say that I am because I provide them with all these costumes because there’s nowhere else close. It’s a good two-hour drive to the closest Walmart, and then it’s to Casper for the closest Spirit of Halloween.”

Ross’ mother was a big fan of Halloween, but not for its spookiness.

“She just liked the idea that it was the one day out of the year you can be anybody you want to be,” Ross said. “And she was very creative. She used to make her own costumes, and she did barrel racing and stuff like that.”

She also helped her children become whatever they dreamed of being for Halloween.

For Desiree, that was always pretty easy. 

“I was always a witch,” Desiree said. 

But her brother was a little more challenging.

She explains: “I remember one time my brother he’s like, ‘Mom, I want to be leftovers.’ And she’s like, ‘Leftovers?’ And he’s like ‘Whatever we have, that’s what I want to be. Leftovers.’ So she made him as a pan with leftovers.”

  • Desiree Ross at her home in Worland, which just happens to have been the town's first hospital. Ross is decorating the outside for Halloween this year, but in the future hopes to give haunted house tours during October.
    Desiree Ross at her home in Worland, which just happens to have been the town's first hospital. Ross is decorating the outside for Halloween this year, but in the future hopes to give haunted house tours during October. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)
  • Desiree Ross fills out a sales slip at her thrift store Second Treasures in Worland. Every year for Halloween she fills the store with costumes. Hers is the only Halloween shop for miles around.
    Desiree Ross fills out a sales slip at her thrift store Second Treasures in Worland. Every year for Halloween she fills the store with costumes. Hers is the only Halloween shop for miles around. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Desiree Ross enjoys dressing up as a witch for Halloween. She has accumulated lots of cool props for her costume, such as this crystal ball.
    Desiree Ross enjoys dressing up as a witch for Halloween. She has accumulated lots of cool props for her costume, such as this crystal ball. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Desiree Ross looks into the future.
    Desiree Ross looks into the future. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The Addams Family was the guiding theme behind this window scene at Second Treasures.
    The Addams Family was the guiding theme behind this window scene at Second Treasures. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • This giant inflatable spider is headed for the roof, where it will sit waiting to drop down on visitors.
    This giant inflatable spider is headed for the roof, where it will sit waiting to drop down on visitors. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

How To Be Invisible

Ross decorates her store windows with a different Halloween theme every year. This year, her themes are Wednesday and Pugsley at Camp for the window closest to the door. The other side, she went a bit darker, and made it all about the Addams Family.

“I do the darker, scarier side over there, where it’s further away from the door so I don’t have the kids screaming and crying when they first walk in the door,” Ross said. 

Like her mother, Ross has been known to help her customers come up with strategies for unusual costume ideas, such as the time a customer’s son wanted to become the Invisible Man.

“We got him a man-sized jacket, and then, because it was so much bigger than him, we cut down the sides, so his arms could go through that, and then we cut through the sleeves of the coat, so he could get in halfway,” Ross recalled. “We put cardboard across the top for his shoulders, and then a wire coat hanger.”

The coat hanger was rotated just enough to where it was tucked down into the cardboard so it could hold up the Invisible Man’s hat, creating the illusion of a very tall man, despite the fact everything’s being carried by a much smaller boy.

“For hands, we just put white gloves on him,” Ross said. “And then we put a pair of sunglasses onto the wire as well.”

The boy couldn’t be seen at all, but was able to peep through the top part of the coat, so that he could see where he was going.

The costume was so successful, the boy’s picture ended up in the newspaper, Ross said, and he was so happy about that. It made Ross feel good as well, and she knew her mom would have been proud.

  • Wednesday and Pugsley is the theme of the window nearest the entrance of Desiree Ross' shop, Second Treasures in Worland. She always puts a lighter theme near the door to avoid frightening children who come into the store.
    Wednesday and Pugsley is the theme of the window nearest the entrance of Desiree Ross' shop, Second Treasures in Worland. She always puts a lighter theme near the door to avoid frightening children who come into the store. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Who wouldn't want a piece of free candy from this guy?
    Who wouldn't want a piece of free candy from this guy? (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • More scene-setting decorations at Desiree Ross' shop in Worland.
    More scene-setting decorations at Desiree Ross' shop in Worland. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • A net of lights forms a spiders web at Desiree Ross' home in Worland, which was the town's first hospital.
    A net of lights forms a spiders web at Desiree Ross' home in Worland, which was the town's first hospital. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • A friend gave Desiree Ross the car below this skull, which represents her dream car, and urged her to put it where she can see it every day so that her dream would come true.
    A friend gave Desiree Ross the car below this skull, which represents her dream car, and urged her to put it where she can see it every day so that her dream would come true. (Renee Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

Even Her Home Is Perfect For A Haunted House

Ross, as it happens, lives in the perfect place for a haunted house.  Her home was Worland’s very first hospital.

“We’ve had nearly 3,000 babies born in my house,” Ross said. “In my laundry room. My laundry room used to be the surgical room.”

There’s a bedroom with a door that still says ‘Private” on it, Ross added, and that is where the doctor would check out his patients. 

“That room when you first walk in used to be the waiting room to see the doctor,” Ross said. 

Ross doesn’t know if the home, which she purchased in 2020, is haunted, but she has had a couple of spooky things happen. 

“It’s a very large home for just one person and a couple of dogs, and so I do rent out rooms,” she said. “And I had a renter in the house and we were standing in the hallway, me and her and we were talking about — I can’t remember what we were discussing, but I’ve been doing a lot of home remodeling repairs, and things of that nature. And, all of a sudden, the lights in the hallway just started flickering for no reason.”

Not only that, but the doors started to open and close by themselves.

Another time, as she was walking from the kitchen to the dining room with a veggie tray, she felt somebody walking through the doorway at the same time as she did, even though no one else was around.

“I saw a flash of light and I stopped and I was like well, what was that,” she said. “And I tried to see if I can catch that glimpse of the light again. But that’s the most I’ve ever dealt with.”

  • Desiree Roos, right, lives for Halloween, as does her friends Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley, who does the group's makeup for the season.
    Desiree Roos, right, lives for Halloween, as does her friends Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley, who does the group's makeup for the season. (Courtesy David Huber Photography)
  • Desiree Ross, center, with Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley.
    Desiree Ross, center, with Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley. (Courtesy David Huber Photography)
  • For Desiree Ross, Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley of Worland, there's no better time of year than Halloween.
    For Desiree Ross, Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley of Worland, there's no better time of year than Halloween. (Courtesy David Huber Photography)
  • Desiree Ross, Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley conjure up some spirits in their spooky graveyard.
    Desiree Ross, Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley conjure up some spirits in their spooky graveyard. (Courtesy David Huber Photography)
  • Worlands queen of Halloween, Desiree Ross with friends Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley.
    Worlands queen of Halloween, Desiree Ross with friends Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley. (Courtesy David Huber Photography)
  • Desiree Ross, Worland's queen of Halloween, with fellow spooky fanatics Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley.
    Desiree Ross, Worland's queen of Halloween, with fellow spooky fanatics Melissa Goode and Sheena Tilley. (Courtesy David Huber Photography)

A Haunted Home Is A Happy Home

Of course Ross’ penchant for decorating things for Halloween has carried over to her home, haunted or not. 

She’s got an electronic gadget that throws images of flying ghosts up on her roof at night, and she’s put out a big inflatable spider as well. Her plan is for it to reside on top of her roof, as if it’s about to drop down on anyone stepping onto her porch.

There are tombstones in the front yard of her home as well, with funny slogans on them. “See! I told you I was sick!” One of them says. “I’ll be back,” another one says.

Ross told Cowboy State Daily she eventually wants to turn her home into a haunted house for Halloween tours every year.

She even entered a contest to become the Face of Horror for Halloween, which would have come with some prize money to help her with her idea. She didn’t win the contest, which raised money and awareness for pediatric cancer, but she’s not going to let that stop her.

“It’s been on my mind since I purchased the home,” Ross said. “I do want to turn it into a haunted house for one month out of the year, and I really like the Victorian era. That’s the style and the look that I love.”

Ross has filled up the cabinets at her home with curiosities ranging from Tiffany lamps and memorabilia from her family’s history, as well as items she’s found that just had a neat Victorian look.

“I have a lot of lace linens and things like that,” she said. “And then I have that love of witches, too, so I have my crystal balls and all of that stuff like mixed in.”

Her love of witches led her to do a photo shoot this year with two of her friends, where they dressed up like witches. She plans to put the photographs on display once they’re ready.

Ross provided the props for the spooky photos, during which she and her friends had a cackling good time, heckling each other, and just going all out with their witchy personas.

“I think I’m just like my mom,” Ross said. “I just like (Halloween) because it’s the one day you can be anything you want to be. You want to be a dragon, you can be a dragon. Be anything you want to be. You don’t have to be an everyday person. And you can let whatever characteristics of yourself come out, whatever you are doing.”

Renée Jean can be reached at Renee@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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RJ

Renée Jean

Business and Tourism Reporter