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Family turns backyard into Disneyland’s Pirates, Mansion rides for Halloween

Updated October 30, 2020 - 8:46 am

The Garcias are a family of self-proclaimed “Disney nerds.”

On their annual visits to Disneyland, the family of six goes on iconic rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

But they also do research.

“We’re looking for ideas,” Tiffany Garcia says. “I’m always looking for new things to decorate or add to the Haunted Mansion Room.”

Every Halloween, Tiffany, her husband, Leroy, and their sons convert their home into their two favorite attractions.

Starting in August, the Garcias turn their backyard into the skeleton-laden set pieces from Pirates of the Caribbean. And their home interior and patio become the Haunted Mansion Holiday.

In a normal year, the family also builds an elaborate haunted house in its garage.

“We give everyone who goes through it one piece of candy,” Leroy Garcia says. “One year, we gave out 3,000 pieces of candy.”

The family also generally opens up its backyard to trick-or-treaters so kids and their families can see the decorations, play in the backyard and watch the movies on a projector.

Because this year is not normal, the Garcias have made adjustments.

Families who brave the spider web-covered driveway, refuse the offer of apples from the Evil Queen who sits on the front porch and evade the sensor-triggered bodies that fall from the front door will be invited to explore the backyard, where the Garcias have set up socially distanced tables in lieu of the crowded haunted house.

In the area surrounding their swimming pool, the Garcias have arranged set pieces from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, including familiar moments in the attraction, such as the pirate skeleton who lies on a bejeweled bed and another who captains a ship beneath a tattered sail.

Tables near the pool are topped with colored lights, inspired by the Blue Bayou restaurant at the Anaheim, California, park.

Throughout the year, Tiffany Garcia browses thrift stores and estate sales, transforming old picture frames and knickknacks into pirate treasure.

The family also converted its patio into the stretching room from The Haunted Mansion.

Most of the “Nightmare Before Christmas” characters are handmade, with a giant Jack Skellington who looms over the backyard constructed out of foam and PVC pipes, an Oogie Boogie character who is, fittingly, made from wrapping burlap around a Santa Claus statue, and a lovable doglike Zero, which Leroy suspended from a fishing line attached to a windshield wiper motor.

“The kids contributed more this year, since we’re all stuck at home,” Tiffany Garcia says of her 13-, 10-, 8- and 6-year-old sons. “It’s a team effort. This is what we love to do as a family.”

While she isn’t sure how many trick-or-treaters will be out this year amid COVID-19 precautions, she did invite a small group of friends over for Halloween night and plans to welcome small groups of visitors into her Disney-fied backyard if they stop by.

“We want to give kids candy and fun and magic in a safe way,” Tiffany Garcia says.

Contact Janna Karel at jkarel@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

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