Estero Park, Isla Vista
Poster by Luke Holden

The Haunted Pumpkin Patch – Isla Vista 2021

Lucidity Festivals was contacted by Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District about creating a Halloween-themed event at Estero Park. It was classic: “Hey, we have a barn. Let’s put on a show!” And, boy, did we put on a show!

Ostensibly, The Environment Makers were brought on board to design and implement all the lighting and projection, however, we soon found ourselves involved in other aspects of direction and production. 

Entering Hay'all
The Entry into the Infernal.

Made to be family-friendly, the storyline told of how the Pumpkin King sold his spirit to the evil guy, Louis D’Ville, so his pumpkin kiddies wouldn’t decay, thereby completely screwing up Halloween. With a prod from the Gatekeeper (Bryan Snyder), visitors were sent on a mission to restore the balance of the season and come away with a free pumpkin to boot. From entrance to exit, 13 actors spieled the audience through a maze of installations and waypoints. 

The entire scenario, 35,000 square feet in all, required an abundance of lighting and projection. In total, we used 15 projectors and hundreds of lights to create the effects. Our two babies, because they were predominantly projection, were Haay’all, the hellish domain of evil Louis, and, at the opposite end of the park, The House of Decay. 

Haay’all came alive with projected fire and a river of lava streaming from the doorway to Louis’ throne.  Behind him, erupting magma continually burst toward the ceiling. Both the lava and the eruption were courtesy of a recent trip to Iceland where we filmed the active volcano, Fagradalsfyall, in all its glory. 

piles of Halloween worms

The House of Decay was another story.  It took place in a long, tall lattice shed once used for gardening by IV Recreation and Parks. By showtime, it was transformed into the realm of a southern gentleman, lab rat (played by Josh Roberts) who was passionate about decay and especially fond of the creatures that live off it: microbes, worms, and maggots. Accompanied by a delicious sense of the disgusting, we made movies of all these creatures and projected them on the three tables running down the center of the building. We wanted the surroundings to be reminiscent of a dank, sewer and toward that end projected a nauseating-looking stream down the central pathway as well as turning one of the walls into a dripping nightmare of sewage seepage. To complete the scene, we added lighting from the outside inwards through the lattice, using blue, green, and cyan, along with small touches of inside light to help give the place more bulk. Josh took full advantage of the weirdness. It was our favorite part of the whole show. 

The Haunted Pumpkin Patch was a raging success. The line to get in was daunting. Happily, IV Rec and Parks did an excellent job of modifying their tactics to make sure everyone experienced the spectacle. 

On a separate note, one challenge that we set ourselves was whether or not we could put up EVERYTHING without using a single, one-time-use, plastic zip tie. We succeeded!

Finally, a special thanks to our crew, Udo Gyene, Sinead Santich, and Ian Wickle…couldn’t have done it without you!

IV Halloween – The Haunted Pumpkin Patch in Pictures

Photography by David Gala (and a few from Jonathan PJ Smith)

Haunted Pumpkin Patch-Entry
Entryway to the event
The Poem and the Pumpkin Queen
The Pumpkin Queen
Entry to Walkabout Woods
Walkabout Woods
Walkabout Woods
The Clever Juggler
Through Ants to The House of Decay
The House of Decay
King Rat
King Rat shows off his pets
Preparing for the meal
Beware the hounds of Louis D’Ville
The Oracle
Into the graveyard
The Spirit vs The Owl
The Spirit
The Wise Owl
Aerial from Haay’all
Aerial from Haay’all
Picking a pumpkin bumpkin
Welcome to Haay’all
Louis D’Ville
Back to reality…
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