Sat10252014

Community

The pirates return to Manor Way with reinforcements


Courtesy of Jill Glasgow
Three-and-a-half months of effort result in a homemade Halloween spectacle residents won’t soon forget. Elements include a large pirate ship, above.

Aargh!! The pirates are back – just in time for Halloween.

They’d established a beachhead three years ago on Manor Way in Los Altos, occupying the entire front yard of Jill and Dane Glasgow’s Mediterranean-style home. They first arrived by dinghy, but last year they came in a 35-foot schooner and added village “improvements” such as a lighthouse, fortified tower and more cannon power to keep away the riffraff.

It is better this year – just as Dane promised. “We needed new props to continue the story,” he said. “This is the most challenging and complicated display yet.”

His crew of friends, eBay coworkers and neighbors heartily agree. The new centerpiece, a 12-foot-tall skull rock waterfall, was a 3 1/2-month project enlisting close to 10 people, including Jill, who has become an expert at making and painting paper mache. The skull is a key part of next year’s story.

This is the first year for an off-site workshop, which had the neighborhood wondering if the pirates were coming back.

Not only are they back, but one is fully animatronic. Robotics is a hobby of Dane, who majored in computer science major at Cornell University.

This year features more automation and special effects. For example, the cannons will roll out, fire and retract.

The castle tower, which towers over the Glasgows’ house, and a new stone wall embedded with skulls will catch fire and burn. The simulated fire effects include burnt “logs” with flickering embers.

Dane employs the same DMX lighting software used in theaters. “It basically orchestrates the show,” he said.

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