Halloween Outdoor Decoration Contest Winners Announced

Halloween House Winner (Ross A. Benson)

The choices for best haunts were more fun than scary but they had a lot of creativity, which was just what the Burbank Civic Pride Committee hoped to find.

Judging for the group’s first Halloween Outdoor Decoration Contest took place Thursday night. Winners of the three categories were Residential, Robert Taylor; Youth, Faith and George Wyatt and Commercial, Samuel’s Florist.

“The residential winner did a great job with special effects, lighting, a lot of moving parts and great atmosphere,” said Robert Vincent, chairman of the Civic Pride Committee.

Halloween House Winner  (Ross A. Benson)
Halloween House Winner
(Ross A. Benson)


Robert Taylor, 54, has been decorating his home at 1838 N. Lima St., since the family moved in 17 years ago. Some years he’s gone all out while others not so much.


Like three years ago. After he fell off the roof doing a repair job, his wife nixed him getting back up there. So that year his decorations were scaled back to one.


“It was funny, that year I ended up doing a Halloween prop where it was a skeleton hung upside-down on a ladder and it was dressed like me,” Taylor said. “We put a beard on it and a tool belt.”


Last year, he came pretty close to the number of decorations he has this Halloween.


First of all, it’s all PG rated. There is no blood or gore, because a lot of young children come by from the child care center across the street and the church next door. The Taylor Terror Estates, as he calls it, is more like a haunted mansion.


“We want kids to come up. If they are afraid, I go as far as to take the heads off and show them they are dolls,” he said.


In one corner of the Enchanted Graveyard are three pumpkins who sing and tell jokes. A grave digger welcomes people and dances and sings. A skeleton butler greets people at the front door. And for those who get too close, whoosh — they get a shot of air blown into their face.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)
(Photo by Ross A. Benson)


A grim reaper in the center of the yard automatically opens up his coat jacket and he shows you the souls he’s kept. The angel of death stands on the roof and his wings move up and down warning you not to come closer. Three dormer windows each have something spooky going on. Ghosts fly around in the first window, a chandelier flickers in the second and the third has a headless bride crying for her husband.


Most of the creepy characters throughout the front yard were originally CVS drug store props and he has collected them and used his magic to repurpose them and keep the animatronics working.


“They were never designed to last more than a year or two and I’m going on 15 years,” he said.


He was repairing the jaw piece on a character’s mouth. When the manufacturer told him they didn’t have new parts for it, he had to have a 3D printing business make a duplicate part.


Other things he has built from scratch, like the fence around the graveyard and the crank ghost in the crypt who rises up from a coffin.


His brother, Richard Taylor, 53, does a lot of the scene setting.


“He’s every bit of this as much as I am,” he said.


The inside of the house was equally eerie as the outside. Robert Taylor had hung two photographs — a woman and a man taken during the early 1900s — whose faces change to skulls as one walks from one side of the room to the other. On another wall, a ghoul trapped inside a mirror looks out and begs for someone to “get me out of here!”


When he stopped going trick-or-treating, about age 10, he started decorating the house for Halloween, he said.


Even Taylor dresses up for Halloween. His alter ego is Professor Fuzzywick and he’ll be reshaping his beard and wearing Victorian clothing.


The animation will continue this weekend through Sunday. Donations are accepted for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to researching and treating Type 1 diabetes.


The house winning the youth category, 841 N. Frederic St., featured several blow-up characters including a dragon with eyes that light up red, a huge black cat sitting on the grass and two giant eyeballs hanging from a tree.


“The lighting was great and it was creepy in a good way,” Vincent said.


Commerical Winner Samuel's Florist (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)
Commerical Winner Samuel’s Florist (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Donna Smith, owner of Samuel’s Florist, 921 W. Olive Ave., the Commercial winner, and her staff repurposed things around the shop to decorate the two front display windows. One window had a dining room table decorated with a lace tablecloth and a wedding cake with rats tasting the icing. A mannequin in a white lace gown is facing the wall so all one can see is the veil and the back of the wedding dress.


“We wanted to utilize some of the stuff we already had and I didn’t want to do typical Halloween things,” she said. “I had the dress form so I immediately thought of the character.”


The window is a scene from a story and Smith is having a contest in which the winner will receive a free arrangement if they guess what story the window is depicting.


“They did a beautiful job,” Vincent said. “They had kind of a spooky tea party that looked like something out of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.”


Special recognition went to the Haunted House created by Preston and Diane Meyer at 907 N. California St.