Adams family puts on creepy and kooky musical light show
Photo by Michael Crane
October 31, 2013For many people, Halloween decorating may mean tossing up a few lights and plopping down a plastic zombie on the front porch. After all, it's mostly just a holiday about the costumes and the candy, right?
Not for Neal and Melissa Adams. In the last three years the VC residents have taken Halloween decorating to a whole new level. Every night in October their house is transformed into a spooky wonderland, complete with a bone-chilling graveyard and a perfectly timed musical light show.
"We liked Halloween, but we were nowhere near like this," said Melissa. The couple predominantly makes their living by selling costumes and other festive items on eBay, but when their neighbors moved and left them some props, they quickly discovered the joy of decorating. "They didn't tell us it was addicting," said Melissa.
Today their front yard is filled with monsters, skeletons, and smoking cauldrons. However, the highlight of the display is definitely the four enormous skeleton faces on the roof that lip-sync 25 different songs, all of which Neal sequenced himself.
"It can run for a good 90 minutes," said Neal of the entire show. In the months leading up to Halloween, Neal writes sequences for the songs on a program called Light-O-Rama. Each sequence takes him between 10 and 20 hours to compose, but the result is truly dazzling. By breaking down the songs to fractions of a second, he synchronizes lights around his garage and yard with a dancing skeleton and the four faces on his roof. "I do like to spend more time on it," he said. "I like them to be right."
The set list includes Halloween favorites like the Monster Mash and, of course, the Addams Family theme song, as well as classic rock and recent pop hits. His newest compositions include Thrift Shop, What Does the Fox Say?, and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, which recently earned the Adams a bit on ABC's Good Morning America.
What is even more incredible is that Neal has turned his hobby into a business. As more and more people saw his YouTube videos of the display, he began getting requests from fellow Halloween enthusiasts to buy his sequences.
"People think they can do the sequencing, and they'll write him, and they'll try to do it, and they're like 'I can't do this, I don't have the time. I need to buy it'," said Melissa. "He's turned it into something where we can make money off of it."
Anyone who buys enough lights and a Light-O-Rama program can put on the exact same show as Neal if they purchase one of his sequences. He sells each song for $35, or $15 for the faces alone, and last year he sold around $7,000 worth in sequences. His shows are now on display all over the U.S. as well as in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
"A lot of the regular customers will buy everything I write," said Neal. "It did kind of take off."
The Adams also do a similar show at Christmas, except with a 20-foot-tall electric tree instead of the singing faces. Neal has written 10 songs for that set-up, which always draws a crowd.
"We're really lucky in this cul-de-sac because we have really supportive neighbors," said Melissa. The Adams even have a small radio transmitter so you can hear the songs from the comfort of your car as you watch the show.
"We've gotten letters in the mail, people thanking us for our display," said Melissa. "You don't get that in a bigger city I don't think. That's the nice thing about Valley Center."
It's impossible to put this incredible show into words, so check out www.valleycenterholidaylights.com for videos and pictures of the jaw-dropping display. Even better, drop by the Adams' residence at 30882 Palomar Vista Drive on Halloween night and witness it for yourself. Their Christmas display will be up and running the day after Thanksgiving.