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Halloween 2012 at Dick Van Dyke’s House: Monster Alley!

For the last five years, we’ve had the honor of being on the team of volunteers who help Dick Van Dyke bedeck his house in Halloween horror at the end of October. For the full scoop on how we got started and why Halloween is Van Dyke’s favorite holiday, see this post. And to see our handiwork from last year, click here. And to see bonus photos of neighbor James Cameron’s Halloween haunted house, read through to the end of this post!

This year the planning got started early, and the event was spread out over multiple days: a dress rehearsal on Sunday night and the full show on Wednesday. Every year he worries no one will show up, so this year Van Dyke also appeared on a couple news stations to promote the party and made up flyers.

When we got there Saturday, many of the main pieces had been hauled out of storage, borrowed from prop houses and swapped with family (it seems like whatever was the newest, scariest effect the previous year usually gets swiped by one of Van Dyke’s relatives for their own Halloween display!).

We got to use the neighbors’ side yard again this year—it makes the perfect graveyard!

Poor Michael Myers’ hairpiece needs some work. I guess 35 years of murdering teenagers takes its toll…

Now there’s something most people wouldn’t expect to find in Dick Van Dyke’s driveway!

This year’s biggest new effect was this ginormous monster guy who pointed and welcomed people in a scary voice. You can learn all about how he was built and see interviews with Dick Van Dyke and his right-hand man, Alex, on this episode of the Travel Channel’s Making Monsters.

Alex and Dick aren’t sure what they’ve gotten themselves into…


Patrick has an entirely different reaction!

This guy pops out at you, swings a cleaver and makes horrible noises. He was the big new thing last year, and I guess he’s too gruesome for even Van Dyke’s relatives to want to swipe!

This lenticular portrait usually hangs in a place of honor.

Rocky Van Dyke helped out by jumping in the pool a lot and sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.

The side yard is our favorite place to work because it gets more of the classic Halloween treatment and less of the guts and gore. It’s also fun to come up with a different tableau in each of the “windows” created by the trees.

Well, a *little* less of the guts and gore…

Trust me, this guy’s gonna be WAY scary with the right lighting!

The graveyard has been a fabulous addition to the scene. The hillside is the new home of Van Dyke’s beloved “skeletons dancing to ‘Thriller'” projection added a few years ago.

There are actually two of these guys, but at a mere 7 or so feet tall, they’re dwarfed by the new giant.

Halloween Night

On  Wednesday night, the gates of the community where Van Dyke lives were opened to all who dared venture to Monster Alley. Here’s how it turned out!

This video doesn’t really show you the giant effect, but you can hear it (augmented by the fellow who hid in the giant’s robes and popped out at just the right moment)!


You can see video of this lunging hell hound effect in last year’s post.

This re-dressed St. Nick figure always cracks me up. I guess all you have to do is scramble a few letters to turn “Santa” into “Satan”!

This burn victim is brand-new, but you’d never know it…

Four new figures were added Monday, including this writhing zombie.

Look who didn’t heed the Zombie Xing sign!

There was some kind of failed exorcism going on on the front porch. Van Dyke’s Linda Blair Exorcist head pops up in a different place each year, and this one was perfect!

This figure had a nickname among the decorating team, but it’s not printable on a family website…

Bonus Round: James Cameron’s Haunted House!

Word was spreading through the crowd that Dick Van Dyke’s neighbor, James Cameron, had his own Halloween happening this year. Cameron stops by to see Van Dyke’s display each year, and one year he surprised all of us decoraters at dinner to tell us what a great job we’d done! Word on the street was that last year he had a little display of his own going, but it couldn’t hold a flickering battery-operated candle to Van Dyke’s. So this year Cameron pulled out all the stops. Let’s take a look!

OK, you can’t really tell, but the Count Dracula standing between the lady in white and the guy in red is Academy Award-winning director James Cameron! He was doing the Count’s accent and everything!

The haunted house didn’t look too grisly from the outside, and Count Cameron assured me it wouldn’t be too scary, but this is from the guy who directed Aliens

OK, creepy rocking granny-zombie in front of the TV…

From that room to the next there were people sticking their arms through the walls to grab you. Then this room…

This room had a strobe effect going, and a grisly corpse that scared the pants off me by dropping from the ceiling.

I dunno what was going on in here, but there was a scary live person who sidled up to you.

By the time we got to the clown-butcher room I was moving too fast to take pictures. Bursting out of the haunted house, I was never more glad to see a fake mausoleum in all my life!

In all, it was a spectacular way to spend Halloween. And I can’t wait to see how Cameron and Van Dyke try to top each other next year!

{ 31 comments… add one }

  • Claire (Chilly) November 1, 2012, 1:47 PM

    Great work! Soon the whole street will be doing it.

    • Carrie November 1, 2012, 2:48 PM

      I hope so! It’s either that, or they’ll be too intimidated to try… 😀

  • John Bengtson November 1, 2012, 7:58 PM

    Hi Carrie – yet another vicarious adventure for me to enjoy. It must have been so much fun. Thanks for posting – John

    • Carrie November 1, 2012, 10:43 PM

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Valerie November 2, 2012, 5:17 AM

    What a great experience that must have been! You just keep uping your celebrity status :} You know how famous you are on the disboards Carrie… now you assist the likes of Dick Van Dyke and James Cameron! Great job Carrie and Patrick!

    • Carrie November 2, 2012, 9:03 AM

      LOL! Well I’m not going to let it go to my head until those guys actually remember my name…

  • Carla November 4, 2012, 6:21 AM

    A-freakin-mazing! You guys must look forward to that all year. I can’t believe he worries that no one will show up–I bet people are driving in from all over to see this every year!

    • Carrie November 4, 2012, 8:32 AM

      There were more people this year than last, but still not nearly as many as I expected. Maybe the display is just TOO scary! 😉

  • Rob November 4, 2012, 12:52 PM

    Thanks for the article Carrie! It’s fun to see and hear about something that most of us will never get the chance to experience. It’s so cool that you get to do this every year, and even cooler that you share it with us! Thank you!

    • Carrie November 4, 2012, 12:55 PM

      Hey, if you’re near Malibu next Halloween and wanna lend a hand, let me know. We’re always looking for more help!

      • Rob November 4, 2012, 3:02 PM

        It would be a two day drive from Texas but I’m seriously considering it! Thanks for the offer!

    • Steven Lichtenberger September 13, 2013, 1:11 PM

      Carrie, I would love to volunteer some time to help with the displays or whatever you need. Just let me know asap and I will plan to help.


      • Carrie September 13, 2013, 1:58 PM

        Hi Steven! Thanks for the offer! It seems like we never find out til the last minute, but we’ll keep you in mind.

  • Jake November 5, 2012, 10:03 AM

    YESSS!!! So psyched to see the latest Halloween Edition. Dick Van Dyke, James Cameron, Katie Perry, Bart Simpson … the cavalcade of stars just never ends. I say just bite the bullet and go ahead and start a fan group travel party for Halloween season every year, like the All Ears gals. Hit the parks, the studio tour, the theatres, Patrick’s workshop, and the finale would be the decorating/trick or treating. The $ 10,000 price tag will probably keep the numbers manageable. P.S. enjoyed hearing the non-wedding podcast a while back (wedway?) Not sure what I expected your voice to sound like, but it was amazingly broadcast ready. Very NPRish., in a good way. And funny that you seemed to be more knowledgeable than the hosts… Next up for Carrie: Monthly guest video spot on Yahoo news or CNN.com as the resident Disney travel advisor, wedding planner guru and superfan? I bet you could make that happen. Just wear the hat be funny and you’re in. Maybe I’m easily amused, but I still click back to the candle light Epcot event with the bored teen replacement “celebrity” when I need a chuckle. Still don’t know who she is (was?) Cheers.

    • Carrie November 5, 2012, 10:32 AM

      Wow! Glad you’re loving all the content—old and new! I like that group tour idea! I’ve actually been thinking Patrick and I should do some sort of “Walt’s Los Angeles” tour like we give our pals when they come to visit, but you’ve really plussed that idea!

      • Jake November 6, 2012, 7:11 AM

        Unfortunately you would likely have the same problem Walt had– getting folks from the East out to sunny California, as it seems Dis people are mostly in the East and mid-West, by my carefully devised unscientific and unreliable statistical measurements. Hard to do for a long weekend. At least for us mere mortals. You and P don’t seem to be phased by cross continent commuting. And of course Cars Land could be a huge draw ( as if the rest of it weren’t enough). Get a partner who owns a travel agency, run some numbers and if it makes sense do it! And of course shoot the whole thing documentary style and sell it to the Travel channel. Lurkyloo’s Pretty Darn Scary Halloween Party. Pitch it to DVanD- I bet he would love to see his creation memorialized on film and shown to a national audience. (Dick Van Dyke’s Pretty Darn Scary Halloween Party- with your host Lurkyloo) Tell him Jake sent you.

        • Carrie November 6, 2012, 8:46 AM

          LOL! I think you have a second calling as a promoter!

  • David Van Deusen November 6, 2012, 2:14 PM

    Hi Carrie:

    Arlene Van Dyke has referred me to you. Would you please shoot me an email?


    • Carrie November 6, 2012, 5:07 PM

      Sure thing!

  • Hope November 6, 2012, 5:49 PM

    Very cool! It all looks so impressive. If you ever go for a non-scary-Halloween-theme, call me!

    • Carrie November 6, 2012, 9:02 PM

      LOL! I gotta admit, there are some ghouls in his collection I just can’t look at…

  • Terri Fluker Gilman November 8, 2012, 1:26 AM

    Excellent again! Must share!!! By the way, folks were still showing up at 9:30!!! I think he had maybe 3 times as many folks this year than previous years. Was just a shame he was hardly out front this year to see the result of his ad! Thanks again for all of y’alls wonderful help! It keeps getting better every year!

    • Carrie November 8, 2012, 8:57 AM

      It’s so cute how he went on the news and made flyers and everything to get people to come over, and then he wouldn’t go out front because there were “too many cameras” — LOL!

  • Caron Golden January 24, 2013, 7:12 AM

    Hi Carrie:
    I remember the Van Dyke Halloweens from my childhood in Encino many decades ago. I had no idea it was an enduring passion of his. I have a couple of questions for you but don’t see a contact me button. Could I ask you to get in touch with me?

    • Carrie January 24, 2013, 9:52 AM

      That is so cool! I’d love to hear more about your memories of his Halloween celebrations. I’ve sent you an email…

  • Andra August 27, 2013, 3:21 AM

    Hi Carrie,
    I really enjoy reading you blogs and seeing your pictures 🙂
    I have 2 requests:
    1. My son and I stayed and helped clean up last Halloween and we would love to help set up and/or clean up this year if you can use the help 🙂
    2. I met the sweetest lady last year and spent a good part of the evening visiting with her but didn’t get her contact info. If you know Penny, could you please give her my email address? I would love to meet her for lunch if she has time when she is in town.

    Thank you and thanks for sharing your stories and pictures 🙂

    • Carrie August 27, 2013, 9:08 AM

      Hi Andra! Thanks for the kind words! I have your email address, so I’ll let you know if they need help this year, and I’ll see if our pal knows who Penny is so I can pass it along to her too. 🙂

  • Scott Shier February 19, 2015, 12:22 AM


    I work with the West Coast Haunters Convention in Portland, Oregon. We have been trying to find a way to get Mr. Van Dyke to be a guest at our show as we know how much of a Halloween enthusiast he is. I just came across your blog, so I did not know about his ‘crew’. We would love it if you came up to our show in May. I don’t know if you are familiar with the Davis Graveyard (www.davisgraveyard.com) but they do amazing classes on how to make tombstones that would really make your graveyard pop.

    Please contact me and be sure to look at our website for more information on our show. We are a 501(c)3 charity event so I hope that we can find a way to work with you and Mr. Van Dyke. Personally, I’d love to get my hands on that Predator body.


    • Carrie February 20, 2015, 3:23 PM

      Hi Scott! Thanks for the invite! I’m not sure how much traveling Dick Van Dyke does these days, but I’ll see if I can pass your info on!

      • Scott Shier February 21, 2015, 7:25 AM

        Thank you so much! It would mean the world to Ed if we can make this happen.

  • Bob Wallington October 21, 2015, 5:33 PM

    After reading through the comments above I feel my request is way out in left field! I heard an interview Dick made with a CBC announcer (not sure when, it was aired here today 10/21/15) Since I am even older than Dick at 90+ I would love to hear from him if he can find time. My Late wife and I used to follow his shows and enjoyed them all! Great to hear of all his activities, only wish I could emulate them! Thanks, Bob W.

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