The Halvorsens have been been constructing different Halloween displays as a family for several years now
A Newport Beach family has knocked Halloween out of the park with a Barbenheimer skeleton display that’s more than “kenough.”
Diane and Clay Halvorsen and their two sons share a passion for Halloween, and as an annual family tradition, they decorate together. This year’s display, however, has been their most popular yet.
Following the release of 2023’s summer blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer, the family decided to set up various scenes from both movies, using seven-foot skeletons.
From Barbie, there are two Barbie and Ken skeletons — with one wearing a hot pink jumpsuit, and the other in an all-black jumpsuit, complete with matching cowboy hats. There’s also a Ken skeleton wearing a long fur coat, who is standing next to a horse, along with a "Weird Barbie," and a Barbie car.
Then from Oppenheimer, there’s a scene of skeletons wearing suits, sunglasses, and hats surrounding caution tape and a sign that reads: “Los Alamos Project Main Gate.” There are also a few skeletons wearing flannel shirts, who are sitting in fold-out chairs from behind the gate.
“We tossed around a lot of ideas, and we just kept coming back to Barbie, and then Barbenheimer,” Diane tells PEOPLE of what inspired this year’s display.
The Halvorsens live in a neighborhood where many homes are decorated for spooky season, but over the years, more and more spectators have started flocking to their home, to see their latest creations. Since 2013, the family has done a number of themes from Star Wars to COVID testing — but this year, they felt invigorated to go all out.
“We said, ‘You know what? We've really got to do something bigger,’ and at least compared to [last year],” Diane says.
And it seems that they have. Countless spectators have flocked to the Halvorsen home with selfie sticks in hand since the decorations went up … and it isn’t even Halloween yet.
“Last year we averaged well over 300 kids, and so we're sort of planning for around 300 to 400, just to make sure we have candy for everybody,” she explains. “Adults will come and they'll just hang out and have wine and celebrate out front.”
From building the basics of the set to vintage shopping for clothes, the family put quite a bit of time and effort into making their vision a reality. But the planning process took up most of their time.
My oldest son Cade and I sat down and talked about what scenes we wanted to create — when we looked at Oppenheimer, the boys loved the bomb scene, when they were creating the Trinity Tower and blowing it up. And so, we knew that was going to definitely be our main Oppenheimer piece.”
Cade started sketching out how they would build the tower, she ordered the pieces, and they put it together.
“It ended up being about 14-feet-high by the time we got done, and it was like, ‘No, it's not tall enough. Let's keep going up,’ and we keep going up. It was really a fun project to do with both of us,” Diane tells us.
Then, they went on to planning Barbie.
“We watched the Barbie movie as a group and we're like, ‘Okay, what are we going to pull out of this? What did we really like, what did we think was funny?’” she says. “And then I just went vintage clothes shopping with a girlfriend of mine. It was like, ‘Oh, let's do this for Ken, this was perfect for him.’ And, ‘Oh, look at that dress. It'd be great for Barbie.’ But that's kind of how it developed.”
It took about three weeks for them to set it all up, including the marquee lettering on the outside of their home that reads “Barbenheimer.”
“We started with one marquee letter, which we thought would just be fun. And then my son said, ‘You know, mom, let's put them on the roof.’ And so then we built 11 more letters to spell ‘Barbenheimer,’ attached them to the roof and kind of just went over the top and had a lot of fun with it.”
And even though it’s hard work, Diane says above anything else, it was a bonding experience.
“We had a lot of fun doing it,” she explains. “Honestly, we do it just because it's a fun thing for us to do together — it's a super happy memory that I feel my kids are going to have their whole lives, like, ‘Remember when we did this with Mom?' And we'd do this every year."
But, Diane says she also loves spreading the Halloween spirit.
“And also, just how much fun and joy I see it brings to a lot of the kids and the adults in the neighborhood,” she adds. “It really makes me feel good, so that's why we do it.”
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