Local Halloween Display Ramps Up

Posted on October 24, 2014 by  
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Pirate ManorAlthough not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to life behind closed doors in a 4,000-square-foot workshop in Mountain View. They don’t walk, but they can talk, brandish swords and not spill a drop of grog.

The pirates are scheduled to return once again to the beachhead they established on Halloween four years ago – Pirate Manor on Manor Way in Los Altos – occupying the entire front yard of Dane Glasgow and his wife Jill’s Mediterranean-style house.

“But this year we have added animatronics,” Glasgow said.

The “show,” as he refers to it, will feature a dozen articulating creatures in addition to the skeleton crew, which first arrived by dinghy in 2010 and thereafter in a 35-foot schooner. The pirates have made village improvements such as adding a lighthouse, fortified tower and 12-foot-tall skull-shaped rock from which flows a waterfall.

The display is the Glasgows’ Halloween gift to the community – as well as a tribute to Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” If passersby and trick-or-treaters wish, they can leave gifts of food or money for Second Harvest Food Bank.

It has taken a village to build the pirate village. Glasgow and his crew of eBay Inc. co-workers and friends live and breathe Halloween for several months each year.

“We are a band of nerdy professionals who needed a creative outlet,” Glasgow said. “We have expertise in development, operations, carpentry, electronics and robotics – even law enforcement. Our patient and incredibly intelligent wives put up with madness year in, year out.”

A product of the “madness” is an interactive skeleton – the brainchild of Sean Crowe of Palo Alto – that will mimic the actions of a behind-the-scenes actor. It’s part of the challenge posed by Glasgow each year to top the year before.

To glean ideas for this year, Glasgow and his crew took a field trip to Disneyland and went round and round on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride, singing the “yo hos” of Disney’s “A Pirate’s Life for Me” as they went over the waterfall. Two crabs picking away at a pirate did not go unnoticed.

“We’ve added four crabs just to outdo Disney,” said Jon Langshaw of Santa Clara.

Also new this year is a swamp house with a rocking chair on the porch, fireflies above the village and more cannon power to keep away the riffraff (and rattle the neighbors’ windows). The cannons roll out, fire and retract just like the real deal.

On a recent weekend at the workshop, Mike Wilson and Pete Cowan, stalwarts from eBay, worked on cannons and creatures – nearly engulfed by a sea of electronic equipment, cords, computers, props, skeletons and more. Cowan pointed out that the pirates are both right- and left-handed, just one of the minute details that add realism.

Pirate Manor, located on Manor Way between Fremont and Miramonte avenues, is open for viewing 5-11 p.m. Oct. 29-31.  For a peek at the workshop and a preview of the show, visit piratemanor.com.


Halloween Time In Los Altos – Enjoy

Posted on October 28, 2009 by  
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Santa Rita's ScarecrowThroughout the year, many of our elementary schools have a variety of fundraisers. While Los Altos has a wonderful educational environment, in which the students flourish, the local Parent Teacher Associations (PTA’s) help to raise additional money to supplement the existing programs. Some of the most popular fundraisers include walk-a-thons and evening events with silent auctions.

I am always surprised by the creativity, and new ideas, that arise at the individual schools. Clearly, this is beyond our mothers baking cakes for a raffle. Auction items include weekends in Tahoe and Napa Valley, a yoga party for kids, tickets to the most popular concerts, and of course, an assortment of parent parties (e.g. gourmet dinners). In addition to the parent organizers, students also get involved with planning activities designed to welcome the whole community.

This Friday, a local elementary school in north Los Altos, Santa Rita, is hosting the 49th annual Witches Delight. It should be better than ever. The carnival rides are back for the second year and will include the Dizzy Dragons, Frog Hopper, Kite Swings and new Wild Raft ride. Other attractions include games for all ages, cake walk, obstacle course, cookie decorating, costume contest and more. If you stay late, you have the chance to enjoy dinner provided by the amazing “Santa Rita BBQers”.

Window painting in downtown Los AltosAdditionally, if you have the chance, we recommend that you take a stroll throughout the downtown village triangle. You will have the chance to take-in all of the hand painted windows with their various Halloween themes. It’s wonderful. Each year, just a few weeks prior to Halloween, the City of Los Altos sponsors a window painting contest. The contest, also in its 49th year, is open to all 4th – 8th Grade Students in the Los Altos area.

So, come on down, come on over, or come on up … and enjoy another slice of what makes Los Altos such a great place to live and raise a family.