Malibu's Halloween Meister Outdoes Himself Year after Year
• Local Children Are Invited to Trick-or-Treat in a Wonderland of Gory Special Effects
Longtime Malibu resident Dick Van Dyke may be a beloved entertainer of international renown whose diverse talents cross generational and cultural lines, but at heart he is the prototypical Halloween treat-or-treater reveling in the adrenal rush that comes from the mock fear generated by make-believe horror.
Van Dyke has decided that, even in a world where it is more difficult for children to partake of activities such as trick-or-treating because of fear for their safety, there should be ways that youngsters can enjoy the fun of Halloween. And he does it in away that means he gets to have a lot of fun at the same time.
Every Oct. 31, the Serra Retreat area resident's property is transformed into a Halloween fantasy, a magical world of the macabre.
Walking down the driveway is like wandering onto the set of a horror movie, replete with blood, body parts, ghouls, bats and anything and everything one might associate with All Hallow's Even.
Van Dyke has had his advanced case of Halloweenitis for close to 50 years. He started his decorating mania when his own children were youngsters. They and others regularly will pitch in to help with his extravaganzas.
It involves many hands to get everything that has been kept in storage or newly acquired in place with a short period of lead time.
If one wants to see Van Dyke in a state of total animation, ask him 000about the children's reactions and the props, and the result is an exuberance unmatched on the pages of a movie script.
Equally unmatched on some horror movie sets are the accumulations of special effects that are guaranteed to make the visit to his Halloween happening an annual event.
From the moment one reaches the gate at 23215 Mariposa de Oro, they should begin to look everywhere. Every nook and cranny holds a hidden surprise—from a startle to a smile.
There is a graveyard that rivals anything one could conjure up in a nightmare, and the asylum door leading to the giant candy barrel is frighteningly inviting. The duality of fear and humor is evident in the way the props have been arranged.
Animatronic humans and animals provide the instantaneous fright that is quickly transformed into laughter.
Van Dyke adds to his extensive collection every year. The element of surprise adds to the event, so all we will say is one of this year's additions is over a story tall and quite spooky.
Although one is aware that this is all make-believe, there may be a reminder lodged in human DNA of the need by predecessors to battle fearsome creatures of all species for survival.
Today's digital savvy youth also may be interested in the technology behind the special effects,some of which aptly mimics human movement while stimulating the sub-conscious.
Even when the Halloween extravaganza is viewed in entirety, it's obvious that the most special of the special effects is Dick Van Dyke himself.
His enthusiasm for the event and for children in general is infectious.
The effusive blood and gore are a reflection of genuine affection, and the delight derived from knowing that giving someone a good scare is old-fashioned fun.