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Elaborate animatronic Halloween displays a tradition for Parksville neighbourhood

Vince Cenerini’s house has become famous for movie-themed Halloween

What will he come up with for 2023?

Vince Cenerini’s house in Parksville has become known for its impressive, animatronic Halloween displays, which have recreated popular movies such as Jaws, Jurassic Park and most recently the Star Wars universe.

This year trick-or-treaters were greeted by Jawas with blinking eyes, C-3PO’s disembodied head (in the hands of one of the metal scavenger aliens) and, of course, Darth Vader.

“It’s a little more involved than probably what the average person does,” said Cenerini, who handed out 950 treats this past Halloween, although some were no doubt repeats. “I’ve always liked Halloween.”

This year’s display included a rear projection behind the seven-foot Vader, so it looked like a space battle was raging outside his Death Star window. That’s in addition to a miniature sarlaac pit, vanquished storm trooper heads mounted on pikes and the front of his house modified to look like Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland.

Cenerini has put a huge amount of work into the displays over the years, learning how to wire his animatronics and how to weld for the Jaws head he built six or seven years ago.

He estimated the large shark head, whose mouth opened and closed, took around 30 hours of work. It was part of a display in his garage, which simulated stepping into a shark cage, accompanied by jellyfish, created by Cenerini’s wife, and lights which gave the appearance of being underwater and looking up at a sunken ship’s rusted out hull.

READ MORE: Halloween display tradition always a big draw for Parksville neighbourhood

“I just have ideas and then I get online and I start making stuff work,” Cenerini said. “If I can find an off-the-shelf idea or solution, then that’s what I do.”

He started by decorating his mom’s house, approximately 20 years ago, with some tombstones and a hand-made wooden “toe-pincher” coffin. Things began to ramp up over the past decade “and probably about the last six years is when it maybe got out of hand,” Cenerini said with a laugh.

He started working on his Tusken Raider costume back in January and worked on the various pieces of the Star Wars display up until the big day itself, putting in a few hundred hours of work, including the use of 3D printer.

Star Wars will be the theme for a few years. In the future, Cenerini is considering amalgamating his works into one blockbuster movie-themed Halloween.

Most of the neighbours seem to enjoy his work, with a number of them joining in on the fun with their own setups.

“Some turn their lights out now,” Cenerini said with a chuckle.

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