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Billings man decorates spooky yard to raise awareness for veteran suicide

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Who has the best Halloween decorations on your street?

If you drive along one Billings south side street, chances are you'll find it. 

Each and every year Joe Pearson spends thousands of dollars at his home on the corner of Madison and Monroe to construct a scary graveyard in his front yard. It's complete with zombies, skeletons, monsters and ghouls. But the reason he does it, isn't just for the scare. 

"I grew around here all my life and nobody never did anything," said Pearson. "I've got two schools nearby and they love it."

The motion-sensor zombies and horror movie dolls have quickly become a neighborhood favorite. 

"I've got adults that are afraid to come in," he said.

The tradition began years ago, with just one item - a witch hanging between two trees.

He needed help putting the witch up, so he always got help from his son Adam.

"He was pretty skeptical and just thinking I was being foolish," said Pearson. "And after he got it up there he looked at it and was pretty tickled with it."

Two years ago, Adam, an Army vet who served in Afghanistan, decided to end his life.

"He committed suicide on the 16th of October," Pearson said. "It's devastating to a family to go through that."

Every Halloween since, Pearson's yard of creatures has grown, built into something bigger for Adam, as well as for any veteran considering suicide.

"I care about veterans," said Pearson. "I like to think I'm a patriot."

He wants them to know there is help. 

The Veterans Crisis Line is open 24/7, 365 days a year. Veterans and their families can call 1-800-273-8255.