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Some special Halloween haunts are in store when trick or treaters knock on the door at 120 George St. in St. Catharines.
At the Holmes household, there is more than treats in store. For the third-straight year Geoff Holmes will be bringing back his skeletal swingers — animatronic skeletons that tell stories, and sing. From Saturday through Monday nights, local residents will be able to take a trip back in time to the ‘20s and meet Tommy Gunn, Boney Bennett and No Lips Hannigan during Ghosts and Gangsters of Old Chicago.
“It’s an actual show with a 1920s and ‘30s feel,” said Holmes. “I bought a ‘29 (classic car) I’m going to restore, and I thought how can I tie it into the show.”
The result was Tommy Gunn and his fellow cast of characters, in the show which features music, special effects and some video. The entire show is controlled by laptop, and the characters are brought to life through electronics, including radio-control servos and pneumatics.
Holmes, who has been working on the massive display for about six months, has put together similar presentations the past two years. In 2009 he had a pirate-themed display with a singing skeleton head and clams, and last year he brought his lawn to life with a piano and saxophone players. This year he styled it more into a show, and took it to his garage, which is off Stuart Street. The show is narrated, and set to music.
Holmes admits it’s been a lot of work, with many hours spent not only on the display itself, but researching and trouble shooting via online forums, but it’s a passion.
“I loved this type of thing — it’s a lot of fun,” said Holmes. “Right back to when I was a kid, I liked going to Disney and seeing the animated shows.”
This year he is also using his passion to give back. Instead of just preparing the show for Halloween night, he is inviting the public to come Saturday, Sunday and Monday, anytime between 7 and 9 p.m. to check out the show. Shows will run every 15 minutes, and Holmes will be collecting monetary donations in support of Community Care of St. Catharines & Thorold.
“It’s a great cause and helps people all across the city,” said Holmes, who notes the show is geared to all ages and doesn’t feature any blood or horror. He notes, however, smaller children may be fearful of the moving skeletons.
For more information on Holmes’ Haunted Homes display, including videos of past years’ performances and a sneak peek at this year’s show, visit www.holmeshauntedhomes.com.
Scott Rosts, staff Scott Rosts/Staff Photo October 27, 2011
Halloween 2011 in the St. Catharines Standard: