Middlebury man’s Halloween display to dazzle with dinosaurs

PATRICK KROK-HORTON is building a 12-foot stegasaurus complete with a moving head and tail. This is one of the many creatures that will inhabit the lawn at 48 Rogers Road this Halloween.

MIDDLEBURY — October 31 is right around the corner. For some, this means turning out all the lights, heading upstairs with a book and ignoring the witches, wild animals and super heroes prowling the streets for candy. But that’s lame, and boring. And that’s not Patrick Krok-Horton. He gets into Halloween, and I mean, really into it.
We’re talking hundreds of carved pumpkins, smoke machines, lights, hand-crafted monsters, and, yes, candy. Krok-Horton and his wife Kara Pool, have been setting up elaborate, spooky scenes in their front lawn at 48 Rogers Road in Middlebury for the past seven years.
The first year they didn’t have a theme, but they soon found that themes help the overall vision and affect. Trick-or-treaters have found pirates, aliens, characters from “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” Mario and classic movie monsters at 48 Rogers Road over the years. This year, it’s dinosaurs.
“This is my real personal passion,” said Krok-Horton who works as the Recreation Services Assistant at Wake Robin in Shelburne. “I get so much joy seeing a child’s reaction walking up to something big and impressive… I remember being inspired by Halloween as a little boy.”
This year Krok-Horton’s display is going to be his biggest and best. He’s getting into animatronics for the first time, so that his 12-foot stegosaurus can move.
“There’s going to be a big cardboard volcano in the background with the smoke machine, one T-rex and three pterodactyls that will flap in some way, and the stegosaurus,” Krok-Horton explained.
How does he do all this on top of a full-time job?
Well, Krok-Horton has been putting in two hours every night since the beginning of September. Then he takes off two weeks before Halloween (yes, it’s his vacation time) to complete the project with his father, Robert.
“My father has an art talent as well… Every year he comes up from my hometown in Northampton, Mass., and our house becomes an art camp,” said Krok-Horton, who graduated UMASS in 2009 with a degree in fine art.
Together Krok-Horton and his father build, paint, tape, glue and engineer the impressive scenes.
Pool’s father, Gary, joins the team too.
“They are the pumpkin carvers,” said Krock-Horton. And that’s no small feat. “Our house is quite bright,” he joked. “I’m sure planes flying overhead can see us.”
This year, nothing will pop out. Krok-Horton said it will be “scare-free” with a museum display feel — good for all ages.
“It’s never been my intention to scare little kids,” he said. “We welcome everybody. Last year we broke our record with 140 trick-or-treaters (plus their parents).”
And, this year, they’re hoping for even more.
“I want to share this project for as many years as we can,” said Krok-Horton, who estimates it costs over $1,000 to construct each year. “It is also something if you don’t catch it while it’s up… it’s gone.”
The team of four will set up the dino-halloween scene on the 31st and take it down on the 1st. This is a spectacle you don’t want to miss.

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