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Holiday spirit

Skeletons take over Napa home for Halloween

Skeletons have invaded this Napa family's front yard for Halloween. The scene is inspired by vintage movie "Jason and the Argonauts." Take a tour here.

Make no bones about it, Frank and Jennifer Rodriguez love celebrating Halloween.

They’re so into the spooky season that they’ve installed 61 — and counting — skeletons in and around their front yard at 4412 Rockwood Ave.

The couple had decorated their north Napa home in the past, but last year is when they really ramped up their efforts.

“It just was a terrible thought,” that because of the pandemic kids might not get to trick or treat on Halloween, said Jennifer Rodriguez.

“We said, ‘What the heck, let’s go for it and give them something interesting to look at,’” she recalled.

“And then we were at Home Depot, and saw the 12-foot skeleton, and that sort of set the stage.”

And what a stage it is.

The dozens upon dozens of skeletons have descended upon the otherwise innocuous suburban home. They cling to the sides of the house. They hover over the front lawn, dangling from ropes. The 12-foot skeleton, with light-up eyes, looms above all. Two Grim Reapers stand sentry on either side of their front door. At the front door, a skeleton lies in repose inside a carriage-style hearse. Another skeleton leads a skeleton horse wearing a saddle. Skeleton bats sway from above. Tombstones have sprouted near the sidewalk, draped in cobwebs.

Yet amidst all of that skeletal glory, the couple actually resisted adding more gore or mayhem.

“We didn’t want to do anything too scary because there’s small kids that walk by,” said Jennifer. “Skeletons are spooky enough.”

This year’s bountiful boneyard also has another bit of back story. It’s actually inspired by a 1963 film “Jason and the Argonauts.” In the film, Greek hero Jason battles an army of animated skeletons.

“I loved “Jason and the Argonauts” as a kid,” said Jennifer.

Plenty of neighbors stop and admire their skeleton crew, the couple said. Some will spend a fair amount of time looking at the display and notice one thing or another. But when someone actually recognizes it as a scene from the movie, “I’m thrilled,” she said.

The Rodriguez’s said they spent several weeks on the layout. Jennifer works from home, so “I’ve got some time on my hands after,” her day is over, she said. Frank Rodriguez, a carpenter, certainly is handy with such setups. Their son and other family members have also contributed.

It paid to shop early for Halloween this year, they said. Their son happens to live across the street on Rockwood, they explained. After helping them, he wanted to add a skeleton or two to his own house but by the time they tried to buy more, the stores were all but emptied.

“I had a feeling they’d go out of stock,” Jennifer said ruefully. After all, there has been talk of serious supply chain disruptions. “It’s a bummer.”

They each have different favorite skeletons.

For Jennifer, it’s the centerpiece 12-foot skeleton. “His eyes light up at night.”

For Frank, it’s the pair of Grim Reapers. “We’ve had those things for 20 years,” and they keep doing the job.

The most challenging part of the setup is protecting the grass, said the couple.

“Last year we almost killed the lawn,” due to the sheer number of skeletons covering the landscape, said Frank.

For that reason, this year many of the skeletons are elevated by wires and ropes, climbing trees.

When asked about their overall investment in faux skeletons, Jennifer estimated it’s in the thousands of dollars.

Luckily, there hasn’t been any vandalism or theft.

“It’s so awesome to see how respectful people are,” said Frank.

Owning such an array of skeletons may cause some to wonder — where do the many bones get stored the other 11 months of the year?

The answer is that their house includes a large shed on one side.

“We box it all up and it fits,” said Frank.

As for the December holidays, the family will have some kind of lighted display but “we don’t go too crazy,” said Jennifer. “Definitely not to this extent.”

In fact, they’re already mulling over their 2022 Halloween theme.

“There may be aliens involved next year,” said Jennifer.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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