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It’s the little scares that count

Canyon Country garage display brings big wows with small-scale haunts

Posted: October 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Bob Baida displays his glowing Lemax Halloween miniature villages and figurines in the garage of his home in Canyon Country. Photo by Dan Watson.

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

It’s a bustle of activity inside the garage as the figurines seem to come to life.

They light up and begin to move, their individual sounds and music cues lost in the din.

Over here is a collection of dancing pumpkins; over there a large rotating wheel decorated with skulls.

The floor below the shelves that hold them is littered with brightly glowing flecks of orange and green florescent paint, the walls covered with hand-painted images of planets and stars.

And in the middle of it all is Canyon Country resident Bob Baida, who since 2002 has been out to prove that sometimes the biggest Halloween fun can come in the smallest packages.

Display

For most of the last 12 years, Baida has assembled and displayed his unique assortment of approximately 400 Halloween-themed miniature figurines at his house on Everglades Court in Canyon Country in an annual event he calls the “Collection of Miniature Haunts.”

Doing so entails weeks of work, carefully unpacking the hundreds of delicate Lemax Halloween miniatures, many of which move and make noise. Then Baida has to plug them all in and adds his own hand-painted backgrounds.
So why does he keep putting in the effort year after year?

“Why not?” he responded with a laugh during an interview Saturday in his home.

Baida, who was born on Halloween, has put up the display every year except for two since 2002. This year he is bringing it back after a year-long hiatus.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I get a lot of enjoyment when strangers come by at Halloween with their kids, look at the display and they thank me and they’re appreciative.”

He also said he enjoys fielding questions about what he does with the intricate figurines when they are not on display.

“The biggest question people ask me is, ‘Where do you put all this stuff?’” he said. “And I say, ‘It’s magic.’”
One of the biggest pluses of the display, he said, is that it’s the kind of Halloween activity you can enjoy without getting too terribly scared.

“Nothing jumps out at you, nothing is trying to scare you,” he said.

Work
Baida said he started putting together the display at the beginning of this month, and even a few days before Halloween he’s not entirely finished.

Along with the miniatures, Baida’s decorations include a makeshift graveyard with dozens of headstones, a handmade jail cell and a collection of much larger animatronics that come to life to cackle and speak at passersby as they make their way to the front door of the house.

“Putting this thing together, it’s not a couple hours here, a couple hours there,” he said. “It’s full time.”

But the work is well worth it, Baida said, as it allows him to give back to his community.

The display is free for anyone to view, but in return Baida asks those that are able to donate a canned food item that he will take to the SCV Food Pantry.

“That just makes you feel so good, giving back to the community,” he said.

Though he shoulders the lion’s share of the work in putting together the display, Baida also credits his wife, Lynn, to whom he has been married for almost 50 years, for helping unpack and repack the figurines to set up.

“She’s a big help,” Baida said. “Plus she puts up with me.”

MORE INFO:
The “Collection of Miniature Haunts” is located at 14210 Everglades Court in Canyon Country and is open Halloween night from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The display is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the SCV Food Pantry.

Lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
On Twitter
@LukeMMoney

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