A few strands of multicolored bulbs and scattered reindeer just won't cut it in the Daily Herald's annual holiday lights competition.
The best entries go all out, with synchronized music, animatronic figures and laser shows.
Hampshire resident Jeffery Lawnicki won last year's contest. The display included 15 candy canes, four animated reindeer, a Christmas tree and snowman -- all in lights. The bushes and the front trees were dripping in lights as well, and Lawnicki estimated he used 10,000 lights total.
The house of the 2011 winner, Elgin resident Michael Arnold, has been featured in two books.
Bus tours stop by to take photos and meet the designer. And cars line the street every evening between Thanksgiving and early January to see the army of Nutcracker figurines, the handmade ornaments on the tree, and the giant candles that border the lawn.
Neighbors didn't even try to compete with the Kyprianidis family's award-winning display in Elk Grove Village in 2010.
Robin and Binu Joseph, who live next door on Morgan Drive, simply spelled out "Ditto" in lights on her garage door.
"It's sort of a joke," Robin Joseph said in 2010. "They're always giving us a hard time that we don't put up any lights. This year we decided to be lazy and put up the copycat sign."
Streamwood resident Tom Johnson won the contest in 2008. This year he reports his display at 7 Dover Court features a 5-foot-tall Santa, 10 hand-built cases featuring moving figures, illuminated candy canes lining a picket fence, a tunnel of 3,000 lights covering the sidewalk, an elf toy-building area and a penguin playground, among other attractions.
If you think your display is award-worthy, upload a photo at www.dailyherald.com/contests/holidaylights.
Our contest, co-sponsored by Wintrust Community Banks, offers a top prize of a Toro snowblower valued at $830. The winner will be determined by online votes.
Five Editor's Choice winners also will be named, and each will receive a $25 dining certificate.
The deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. Dec. 11, and voting will run Dec. 12-16. We'll announce the winners in the Dec. 20 editions.