Each October, one family home in an Orange neighborhood transforms its exterior into a spooky pirate-themed mining tour for all ages. It's a passion project for Dave Larson and his son, Jacob Larson, who said they are always adding new sights to see. While some would say Halloween is all about the candy, it's about the experiences his family can create for Dave Larson.
"It's like being able to build a tree house with your son every year and those times you get together are so special," Dave Larson said.
Dave Larson said his love for the spooky holiday started back when he was a kid.
"I always loved the houses that put a simple light out, a spooky light or played some spooky music or you know dress up and do something at the door. I always thought that was so neat," he said.
Once he moved into his own home, he knew what he had to do. His tradition began in the 90s with a few decorations here and there. Dave Larson works on 3D animations and corporate videos during the day. As a creative, he said this is his way of letting his creativity run wild. During the pandemic, the family had to forgo the maze due to COVID-19 restrictions but could still let their work shine in their front yard.
This year, he's taking his family tradition the extra square foot by incorporating the entire outside of his home. They will deck out the front yard, backyard and sides with homemade decorations, sound effects, video graphics, and his and his son's latest innovation — a moveable simulated elevator ride.
"It runs on air suspension bags that you have in a car and there's a video screen in that elevator that makes it look like you are moving down and you've got sound effects and a narrator that is talking to you," he said.
The father-son duo spent the last six months planning out and designing their latest build. Almost everything in the maze is made from scratch, and over the years, Jacob Larson has slowly taken a larger part in it with video editing, sound effects and more.
"I was just kind of born into it. I started scaring in the maze when I was little and I would go trick or treat for an hour and come back scare some people. So, it was a good trade off," he said.
The family tradition has even led Jacob Larson to create his design portfolio that his father is more than proud to see happen. The free maze operates with 18 volunteers each of the eight nights they are open. Inside, visitors spend about five minutes getting through the maze. It's a tradition neither father nor son plans to give up.
"I think we'll both look back upon these years as building this haunt as the best years of our lives together," Dave Larson said.
So, if you're looking for a trick or a treat this Halloween, look out for the Pirate's Cave Haunt house because Dave and Jacob Larson will be more than happy to show you around.