Brian Clay knew if he built it, people would come. And, they have.
The 63-year-old truck driver spent 10 months creating a Halloween decoration display in the carport of his Dade City residence in The Pines community next to John S. Burks Memorial Park.
It is one of the most impressive, and ingenious, Halloween house displays around.
In fact, his display, which cost about $10,000 to build thanks to all the motorized skeletons — and parts — is so impressive, theme park prop departments were looking to acquire Clay’s builds and services.
“I think it’s one of a kind, where fantasy becomes reality,” Clay said. “You have to look at it with the eyes of a 10-year-old kid and with imagination.
“This will probably be my last year (doing it),” he added. “Now, I’m on too many groups and pages for Halloween and decorations and they want to buy my stuff, but I’m not interested.
“I could make a lot of money off it, but it’s just a hobby.”
Clay said the props department at Disney emailed him, but he turned them down, saying, “You start putting your hobbies into work, you lose interest, at least that’s how I feel.”
So, instead, Clay took his skills and spent any free time he had working on the 70 motors that make the skeletons move. He also routed 3 miles of wiring around his carport to complete the display, full with music and sound effects.
Clay began doing these displays about four years ago, starting with a large pirate ship inside Ace Hardware. He moved it to his home hoping to inspire others in his neighborhood to also decorate extensively for Halloween.
So far, he says, only one other home does any sort of decorations.
“I thought this would give the neighbors a kick in the butt (to also decorate), but I guess not since I’m the only one who does it of the 72 homes here,” Clay said. “People do love coming to see it, especially since I had like 700 people and gave out about 90 pounds of candy on Halloween (last year). The cops had to direct traffic on the road.”
Clay got the display up fully running Oct. 13 (also Friday the 13th) and welcomes any to come see it in the evenings.
“It’s best when it’s all lit up,” he said.
Clay’s Halloween display includes several sections of different businesses, all of them run by motorized skeletons. There’s a bank, a dentist, a bar, a casino, a doctor’s office and, of course, a band — The Rolling Bones — playing music.
Additionally, at the front of the display, Clay built a skeleton fire department, with an actual water hose that will be dousing out real fire on another part of the display.
“Whenever I come up with all this, I just figure out a way to make it work and put it together,” Clay said. “That’s what I’ve always been doing.”
To see the display is free of charge — though Clay just asks for one thing.
“Come in with a smile, leave with a smile,” he said. “Just to have people come, for free, to come and have a smile on their face, that’s more than I can ask.
“It’s like the baseball film — ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Clay added. “(There) aren’t many kids in this neighborhood, but they come from all over Dade City and other neighborhoods to come see it, which is great.
“It’s really all for the kids. I don’t want to scare anyone or kids — I just want to make them laugh with this whole thing.”
Brian Clay’s Halloween House
Details: A no-cost Halloween display in Dade City resident Brian Clay’s carport in The Pines community. Clay says he built the skeleton-heavy display for the neighborhood and kids. All are welcome to come take a look.
When: Evenings through Halloween
Where: 36020 Serbia Spruce Drive, Dade City
Info: Visit Clay’s Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/278680211647750.
Published October 18, 2023