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News Maryland Baltimore County Arbutus Lansdowne

Lansdowne couple finds love in Haunted Hallows

Keri Pratt and Tyler Burke may be tying the knot Saturday. But their wedding will be anything but traditional.

With Dracula as the best man, a mobster as the maid of honor and a witch as the flower girl, the couple will wed in the spot where they first met: the Haunted Hallows at Southwest Area Park.

"The wedding is completely costumed and Halloween themed," Pratt, 22, said. "The bridal party is in costume; the guests are in costumes."

The couple met in October 2009 while building sets for the annual Fright Walk in Baltimore Highlands. Halloween has been an important part of their relationship ever since.

"His mom has been doing this program for 22 years," Pratt said of Burke's mother, Stacy. "I grew up surrounded with Halloween as well. My parents sat me down at the age of 5, and I watched the whole entire series of 'Nightmare on Elm Street.'

"I've always been into the horror movies and Halloween," she said, "so it was great meeting somebody who shared in the same interests as I did.

"We have other things in common besides Halloween, but that's a really big part of what brought us together and [got us to] start talking."

Though the wedding will be a theatrical display, the proposal leading up to it was not.

"It wasn't anything elaborate," Burke, 23, said. "I just kept pushing it off and pushing it off."

He finally asked the question in May 2012.

"We were sitting in bed one night and just talking," Pratt said. "He got down on one knee and said, 'I want to do this. This is where we live. This is where I want to spend our life together.'

"We didn't tell anybody we got engaged until maybe a month after," she said.

Burke said it was only natural for them to have a Halloween themed wedding.

"We started hanging out down there while we were setting up and one thing led to another," he said of their initial meeting. "Oct. 23 [2009] is when we decided to give it a shot, and here we are four years later.

"A friend of my mother's got ordained just for our wedding," he said. "He's actually coming down from Pennsylvania to do it."

The minister, Fred Terling, will be dressed in a full zombie costume, according to Stacy Burke.

She said she has been working at the Haunted Hallows for 23 years — since six months after Tyler was born — and is thrilled that her middle son and future daughter-in-law decided to get married there.

"I'm ecstatic that it's going to be exactly what it is," she said. "This is what we do.

"These kids that are down in the Hallows call me mom," said the mother of three. "We're just a giant family, and everyone is into this [wedding] right now."

"I think it's going to be something they're going to always remember," she said. "And it doesn't have to be traditional as long as you're with the people you love."

This will be the first wedding at the Hallows, she said.

"I think every single one of the kids that has worked there has teased me about it," she said of hosting a wedding there. "But no one has actually done it.

"I have a feeling I'm going to be bombarded after this one," Stacy Burke said. "Everyone is really getting into it."

After the ceremony, the couple and their guests will remain in costume for the final evening of the Hallows weekend event, which begins Thursday, Oct. 17, and ends Saturday, Oct. 19.

Burke and Pratt are even delaying their honeymoon until after the Hallows are over.

"Because we're so active in the Haunted Hallows, we wanted to make sure we were still around to take everything down," Pratt said.

They will leave Oct. 22 for Williamsburg, Va., where they will take numerous historic ghost tours, Pratt said.

She said they are thrilled to be able to celebrate their wedding at a place and time that mean so much to them.

"It's where we met, it's what we do best," the bride-to-be said. "It's something we both love and all of our friends are going to be down there anyway."

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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