Pirates take over suburban Langley yard

The house at 8393 209A St. has been attracting traffic for a few weeks now. People are curious about the pirate ship under construction.

Last year the display had about 1,200 kids stop by. This year it will probably be more.

It’s all the work of Derek and Tammy Condon and their friends Randy and Donna Chin. Previously it was put up at the Chin’s Murrayville home.

This year it’s at the Condons’.

Derek said the family enjoys Halloween decorating, a tradition started when their kids were young.

“The kids are 18 and 17,” Derek said. “This was always our favourite time of the year.”

Derek Condon is an accountant and Tammy Condon a hairdresser, but they could offer a master class on how to do Halloween on the cheap. It’s about inventiveness.

“We don’t buy anything,” Derek explained.

The ship is made from old bed boxsprings, pallets, coir matts from old mattresses and other found or donated objects. Domaine de Chaberton is loaning wine barrels for the Tortuga Tavern that will be set up in the family garage (kids, that’s where the candy is being handed out.).

No lack of friends and family have asked if they can dress up and hang out at the pirate house this Halloween.

“We will have a live mermaid,” Derek noted.

The family does the display for fun (Derek noted that next year will be a completely different theme) but has been receiving support from others.

Local realtor Paul Frost made up signs for the site and dropped them off to help spread the word.

Neighbour teens come by and pick up tools to help tear apart pallets for construction.

And for some reason, the local fire crews feel the need to swing by to officially check that the fire hydrant on the corner is not impacted, and often stop to take pictures in front of the display.

Though he’s biologically in his late 40s, when he gets talking about the display, Derek is like a kid.

There are pirate skeletons all over, each unique and with costumes and roles.

The ship’s cannons (which have lights and are hooked up to smoke machines) are made from scrounged items like sonotubes and kitchen bowls. They will be ‘fired’ during the two evening showcases Friday and Saturday (Oct. 24 and 25) and Oct. 31.

Since it’s a pirate ship, someone has to walk the plank (over and over) thanks to some inventive tinkering and mechanics. One of the skeletons will be drinking a glowing brew. A pump and tubing keeps the liquid flowing through the skeleton and back into the bottle.

The ship is wired for lights and sounds so it will creak like an old vessel.

Last year people offered up money, so impressed with the display. The funds were given to Canuck Place, a hospice for sick children and their families. Hospice provides services for the dying. This year donations will go to Canuck Place again.

The display doesn’t formally open until next Friday and Saturday but by Oct. 17, about $400 had been left in the treasure chest (donation box) and others had picked up donation evelopes to mail to Canuck Place. (The display has security.) Halloween Alley is donating 10 per cent of the value of its receipts dropped off at the display.

Derek said they are only too happy to spotlight Canuck Place and the important work it does.

More Halloween events

Frightening fun

Students at H.D. Stafford Middle School will be eliciting screams from visitors at its Haunted House.

The fundraiser runs at the school, 20441 Grade Cres., on Oct. 28, 29 and 30 (but not the big night, Oct. 31).

Stop by between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The admission is $3 for children and $4 for adults. Teacher Brad Hendy recommends children be eight or older.

About 60 students have been working with him to transform the dark recesses of the school basement into the dark recesses of a Halloween dungeon.

“It’s the same theme this year and we have some new additions including an elevator ride at the beginning,” he explained.

The H.D. Stafford Haunted House is about more than providing a scary Halloween experience. It’s a fundraiser for the school.

“The funding is going towards a new score clock and the girls basketball program,” he said.

Jack o’ lantern

People can enter the Rassak and Rassak realtors pumpkin carving contest from the comfort of their own homes.

“The pumpkins will have to be carved by the kids but parents involvement is encouraged,” Arthur Rassak said.

The instructions are straightforward.

Carve a pumpkin. Take a photo. Email the photo to lisa@teamrassak.ca with contact information by noon on Oct. 30.

Winners will be announced on the realty’s website Oct. 30 (www.teamrassak.ca).

The winners receive $50 gift cards.

This contest is for a “best” carved pumpkin. There will be prizes for first place, second place, and third place, provided by Chapters and Mastermind Toys.

The photos submitted will be placed on the company website and its Facebook page.

The contest is only for Langley residents.

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