Saturday, August 27, 2011

Boney Island Returns!

 This is Rick:

This is Rick's Emmy award:

Rick got the Emmy for being a producer on The Simpsons:

But for 10 years, at Halloween, Rick was also the creator of Boney Island, an amusement park filled with over 100(!) plastic skeletons doing silly things in his front yard, like batting at bats in a batting cage:

Or getting their caricatures drawn by another skeleton (of course, every skull looks exactly like the next one):

Or getting duped into being shot out of a cannon, and being called The Once-Human Cannonball:

Or even playing Whack-a-Mole, only here there were witches and vampires popping up, so it was called Whack-a-Ghoul:

Did I mention that is is all animated and each scene had it's own amusing soundtrack to support it? You may have seen some of this on HGTV's "Extreme Halloween" special a few years ago. Or maybe you've seen it on HGTV's "What's Up With That Haunted House?" The 7-piece skeleton band is pretty memorable:

And the hot-air balloon that traversed across the roof:
 There was even a Ferris Wheel, and a spinning ride, appropriately called Whirl and Hurl, that had skeletons riding in cauldrons around a witch. And in the background, a tree house, two stories tall:
The two-story tall treehouse is there year-round.

There was so much more, too. You didn't just view this amusement park from the sidewalk, either. You would wander among the attractions and and hear all of the amusing soundtracks. Some of it was interactive: you could play Simon Says with a talking skeleton, get your fortune told by another skeleton, and jump into a large, spinning, spider web that was projected on the ground.  The yard would fill up with hundreds of people to the point where it would appear that there was an actual carnival taking place. One year, over the 2 weeks prior to Halloween, over 13,000 people came to see Boney Island. It was good, clean, old-fashioned, family-friendly Halloween FUN.

Did you notice I was using the past-tense?
 That's because after 10 years, Boney Island was shut down in 2007 to satisfy some neighbors across the street. Everything in Boney Island was auctioned on eBay. Boney Island vanished.

But now, four years later, those neighbors have moved. Rick had an idea for a new Boney Island, one that would use magic as the theme. And so now with less than 2 months to plan and execute, Rick is working hard to bring Boney Island back, starting from scratch. If all goes well, there will be 3 flying carpets circling up on the roof, one of which will be a toilet bowl rug- because everything is done with humor worthy of The Simpsons. There will be magician skeletons sawing other skeletons in half, and a magician skeleton pulling something out of a hat- perhaps a rabbit skeleton? There will be a skeleton casting amazing hand-shadows on the wall, and there will be tall jets of glowing green water bursting from cauldrons. But first, the cauldrons have to be procured, and the right size has not been located yet.

Rick is a member of our haunt club. After making arrangements, I paid a visit to Rick's house to donate some skeletons, and I saw the FCG rigs used to animate the scenes were laid out to be spray-painted: 

Rick graciously gave me a tour of his beautiful home, where shadows cause a heart to form on the bathroom wall:

And I loved the recently renovated yard, with 3 water features including the pool with water falling all along the edge of the retaining wall:

and this diamond-patterned trellis of star jasmine:

But my favorite room was the game room, with seemingly every toy and game from my childhood displayed on custom shelving:

I asked if he had one of my favorite toys, the Mattel Thingmaker Fright Factory, which had little metal molds of skeletons in which you poured liquid Goop. After heating and setting, you had your own rubbery skeleton. I used to hang mine from straws and make them dance, marionette-style. 
He did indeed have a bunch of Thingmakers, including the Fright Factory:

Rick's game room is no museum- the toys and games get get use. I was so happy when Rick gave me a skeleton they had made with the Fright Factory a while ago, I hadn't seen one in eons!

By the way, Rick recently chased and tackled a car thief! He also told of one the home's original occupants stopping by. The man said the house used to be the only one on the block, but there was no block of tract homes then- it was surrounded by orange groves. The man, who had no knowledge of Boney Island, knocked Rick's socks off when out of no where he told how they use to love to decorate the house extensively for Halloween! It seems the house was destined to always be a Halloween house.
These days, just standing and talking with Rick's family and a neighbor on the front lawn causes more than one car to stop and the occupants to lean out and ask "Is Boney Island coming back?"
This year, happily, the answer is Yes, Boney Island is returning! 

To see what the fuss is about, watch a video:


  1. No way!!!! I saw Boney Island on Extreme Halloween several years ago and went gaga over it! It was the most fun, whimsical, creative and unique haunt I'd seen. Thrilled to pieces he's bringing it back to life. If only I lived in Cali lol!

    Thanks for the post- this really made my day. :)

  2. Boney Island triumphs in the end! Hooray!

  3. YAY! This is in my neighborhood and am thrilled to see this back!

  4. AWESOME! thank you for the inspiration! Doing a carnival theme for our Halloween Haunt this year.


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