The Bongo guy is Dean Cuadra of Santa Monica, California.


I belong to a group of crazy people who take Halloween fun VERY SERIOUSLY!  We're REALLY into Halloween.  Since the mid seventies, we've been putting on increasingly elaborate and ludicrously over-engineered Halloween parties for our closest friends.
We take over an acre of land, and begin putting together our Halloween party in July.  If we're lucky, we're done cleaning up by Thanksgiving, but it sometimes extends into December.
We have computer-controlled pneumatic special effects, electronic ghouls with audio circuitry to terrify guests with ghastly growls and ghoulish groans, an elaborate cemetery with computerized tombstones, automatic smoke machines, man-made lightning and thunder, a computerized electric chair (complete with victim), rats, electronic bats, and other scary stuff (like run-on sentences)!  Our Halloween site has hundreds of feet of underground plumbing for our pneumatic special effects.
Our most elaborate effect is a computer-controlled mausoleum.  Taking over a month of weekends to set up, the mausoleum is a serious piece of work!  It features a computer that controls digital audio, pneumatic valves and solid-state optically isolated relays for lighting.  The computer monitors the state of dozens of sensors, for safety and for a snappy, precisely timed show.
The music starts and the house lights dim.  A spotlight illuminates the crypt door.  The crypt door opens (which reminds me--  We need to add a squeaking sound for that door).  A full-size coffin rolls out on a steel track, pushed out of the mausoleum by a massive pneumatic cylinder.  The coffin lid rises.  From inside the coffin, a corpse sits up, turns his head toward the audience, and does a show.  During the show, various other occupants of the mausoleum have their say, including "squeaky" the rat, and whomever else we have time to rig up!

Corpse #1

Corpse #2

Introducing--  the star of our mausoleum show...  (oops- I forgot that we never actually named him).  Amidst a computer-controlled cloud of fog, our computerized corpse rises from the dead!

Here's a closeup of our robotic corpse.  The top of his head comes off, for servicing his brain.  He's self conscious about that unsightly seam in his plastic skull, so he sometimes wears a headband to cover it up. 


Some of our Halloween Specialties:

Stepper motors

Servo motors


Custom-designed microcontroller circuits

Trigger circuits, including active infrared, passive infrared, and pressure mats

Solid-state audio

X-10® carrier-current control systems

Aquatic Effects

Radio-linked people-detection systems

Optically-isolated relays and controls

Pneumatic cylinders and mounting techniques

24-volt pneumatic control valves

Air compressors and plumbing to distribute compressed air for pneumatic special effects

Electronic bats

Fog generation

Professional lighting and audio effects

Sound equipment for distribution of party music

Photo studios

Radio equipment for communications among staff members

Every Makita tool known to man

Drywall screws, drywall screws, and more drywall screws!