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Saugus man looks to classics to inspire Halloween display

Posted: October 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Rob Tezai puts final touches on a talking pumpkin-head man that sits on a swing in his front yard on Rodeffer Place near Copper Hill in Saugus, as he prepares his Halloween display.

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Editor’s note: This is part one of The Signal’s five-part look at some of the spookiest, scariest, most creative or most elaborate Halloween displays that can be found in the Santa Clarita Valley. The series will run once a day and end on Halloween.

The caustic screech of a cat pierces the night, followed by the tell-tale sound of rumbling thunder.

A monetary flash of lightning illuminates the area, revealing a harrowing sight.

A large assortment of Jack-o’-lanterns lay littered about, their pattern interrupted by tombstones jutting jaggedly up from the ground.

The scene is interrupted by the noxious cackling of The Jackster, a pumpkin-headed figure hanging from a nearby tree.

Nearby, a green-silhouetted ghost bobs up and down before lunging forward and promptly vanishing.

Halloween time is here again, and after months of work, so is Rob Tezai’s annual Halloween display at his home on Rodeffer Place in Saugus.



This year’s display, titled “Ravencroft: The House on Rodeffer Hill,” is the ninth display Tezai has constructed since moving to Rodeffer Place in 2003.

But the roots of Tezai’s affinity for Halloween go much further back — to a Halloween night some 40 years ago when he was trick-or-treating with some friends in Maryland.

“A guy jumped out of a bush dressed up as a werewolf by his house and just scared the daylight out of us,” Tezai recalled fondly during an interview. “And it just stayed with me; I thought that was so cool.”

From then on, he was going to make it part of his life’s mission to give the same kind of scares he received at that moment.

“I always swore that once I had a house of my own we would start doing Halloween up as scary as possible,” he said.

The displays at Rodeffer Place were originally housed in the living room, but when his wife became pregnant with their son, that had to change.

So the display made its way outside, where Tezai constructed a an extension that attaches to the front of the house.

Every Halloween he tries to do something a little different, something a little more elaborate.

“We kind of try to go for the ‘wow’ factor, so every year we try and add a little bit more,” Tezai said.

But no matter the scope of display, neighbors don’t seem to mind. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“Quite frankly, we blame them because they encourage me,” he said. “And they always want to know what we’re doing differently this year.”


This year

Tezai said his display this year is more old-school spooks than modern horror, drawing heavy inspiration from his love for classic Universal Monster flicks.

He also tried to inject a sampling of his Maryland roots into the display, mostly by invoking Edgar Allan Poe, one of the state’s most famous residents.

It was Poe’s seminal work “The Raven” that helped inspire the name for the display, as well as some of its decorations, which include the skull of a raven.

Paraphrasing Poe’s work, Tezai also pledged that the display is “never gore,” focusing more on spooks than splatters.


The work

Tezai said putting up the display every year is, in some ways, a full-time job in itself.

He started planning and creating the layout for the display in April.

“It’s like a painting,” he explained. “As you go on, you just start to add more and more detail.”

The devoted family man also spends a great deal of time with his wife and son, and at his job doing post-production work.

“There are some late nights and there are some times when you work overnight,” he said.
Despite months of effort already, work on the display will likely continue up until the proverbial 11th hour, Tezai said.

“We’ll go right up until about 5 o’clock on Oct. 31,” he said. “Then I have to get my costume on and go trick or treating, then come back.

“Then the real fun begins,” he added with a smile.


If you go

Ravencroft: The House on Rodeffer Hill can be viewed at 22020 Rodeffer Place in Saugus from today to Thursday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is no charge to view the display.
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