You Won’t Believe How Many Animatronics This Auburndale High Schooler Uses to Decorate His Lawn For Halloween
by James Coulter
They say spooky scary skeletons send shivers down your spines. When joined by zombies, killer clowns, and other monsters, they’re sure to send shivers all throughout your body. And where can you find all of these creepy creatures this Halloween? How about on the lawn of a local Auburndale high school student?
For nearly a decade, Matthew Reynolds, 17, has been collecting animatronic displays and other Halloween decorations. Many he purchases from Halloween stores like Spirit Halloween. Others, he bought online through websites like eBay. And others he managed to custom-build and repair himself.
“Ever since I was little I have always had a passion for animatronics, mainly Halloween ones,” he said. “My father did a few Halloween yard displays when I was little, when I was around 10 I started collecting these Halloween animatronics myself. Since then I have grown a collection of over 50 animatronic characters of all different rarities, some way older than others.”
Every year, on Halloween, Matthew showcases his collection of animatronics and decorations in his front yard for his annual Haunted Yard display. Planning usually starts months in advance, and setting up the decorations starts early in October. Oftentimes, it requires him to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to do so.
Once completed, his yard and even house are open on Halloween night for trick-or-treaters and other guests to come and peruse his collection of ghosties and ghoulies and other creepy creatures, all set to motion on a ghoulish display.
Having procured most of his decorations from Spirit of Halloween, Matthew has fallen in love with the store so much that he is currently living his dream–or rather, his nightmare–of working there. He began working at the Davenport location last year and is now working again this year.
His experience collecting and repairing these animatronics has allowed him to gain an interest in mechanical engineering. Matthew will be graduating from Auburndale High School theyear after, and he will be later attending college. Matthew expects to bring his love of animatronics along with him.
“Animatronics, in general, as I get older, I plan to kind of shift away from Spirit [of Halloween] and move onto engineering in general,” he said. “So, I will still be in the Halloween industry doing my passion, but it will be engineering for sure. As far as plans for the future, I still plan on doing the display as long as I can imagine, but next year is my senior year…I am looking to get than engineering degree in animatronics [and possibly moving onto] Disney [or] Universal.”
The Haunted Yard will be on Display this Halloween on Oct. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. The yard is located at 136 Patterson Drive in Auburndale, FL.
To learn more about Matthew Reynolds and his Haunted Yard, listen to the most recent episode of the Chattin on the Ridge podcast where he appears as a guest: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/WaStfZPX3Db