When it comes to Halloween, legendary entertainer Dick Van Dyke knows how to bring the scare. For the past 35 years, the Van Dyke home in Malibu has been the scene of spooks, ghosts and goblins on Halloween night—a display unmatched in Serra Canyon (or most other places, for that matter). For the past eight years, Van Dyke’s wife, Arlene—also a connoisseur of the macabre—has added a charming stage show for kids of all ages, bringing a little spook and laughter to the fun festivities.
No pandemic was about to stop the reigning couple of Malibu Halloween horror and hijinks from staging Dick and Arlene Van Dyke’s “Spooktacular.”
The couple adapted to COVID-19 times by making a drive-through event on Friday and Saturday night. But, before nightfall, neighborhood children were still treated to socially distant entertainment featuring professional pumpkin carving, a brief recreation of Van Dyke’s classic movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” live musicians, a juggler, a puppet show and, this year, an Arlene Van Dyke send-up improv of “The Little Mermaid” villain Ursula coping during coronavirus.
Arlene, whose husband called her a “creative dynamo,” spent the last two months conjuring what Halloween would be at their annual community event, given health protocols currently in place. Although she acknowledged “lots of obstacles” staging the show, she told herself: “Yes. You can do it.” The drive-through had 100 cars pass by both evenings. And as far as handing out candy, the Van Dykes used shovels and giant prop hands to pass treats to the little ones.
Hollywood’s most beloved entertainer, Van Dyke, explained to The Malibu Times his love of Halloween.
“I started when my kids were small,” he said of his growing menagerie of creepy decorations adorning his front lawn every Oct. 31. The display grows every year, along with throngs of neighbors and others curious what surprises and ghouls the Van Dykes will have in store. They never disappoint in the fright factor.
“I consider myself the king of Halloween,” the 94-year-old pronounced. His long-time association with Disney comes in handy, too. A crew of Disney friends set up this year’s display of animatronic characters and displays along with a couple of costumed characters to scare the living daylights out of visitors expecting mannequins.
“Dick loves people and we love to share Halloween,” Arlene said.
Midnight Mission—where Van Dyke has long been a volunteer and donor—will be a recipient of any donations made by those who missed the Halloween fun over the weekend, as well as the Dick Van Dyke Foundation for the Performing Arts. To watch clips of the event, go to Vandy Manor on YouTube or email Vandymanor@gmail.com. To donate, visit midnightmission.org or paypal.me/DVDfoundation.