By Alysia Painter
A piano grandly placed on top of a house, and a drum kit, too, and several celestial superstars wielding horns, guitars, and mics?
It sounds like a surreal scene straight out of a movie, but that rock ‘n roll fantasy is now cheering passersby in West South Pasadena.
The main event? Meet “The Rolling Bones,” an elaborate yard haunt that’s caught the attention of Halloween bloggers beyond the 91030, including the popular Haunts of LA site.
Skeletons representing several dearly departed musicians are now holding cool court on a rooftop on Orange Grove Avenue, between Monterey Road and El Centro Street. It’s a seasonal sight that’s been drawing neighbors and visitors to the home of Sam Laksman and Audrey Lowe each October, with multiple cars slowing down to admire the detailed Halloween display and pedestrians pausing to chat with the couple, asking just how this sizable show came to be.
The family has been decorating their home for Halloween for 16 years with all sorts of whimsical frights and figures, but the passing of Eddie Van Halen in October 2020 prompted Sam to create a heavenly band of some of his favorite musicians, the artists who left our world too soon.
Fashioning a bevy of tombstones from foam, as well as a number of cloak-wearing life-size “boo-sicians,” Sam built much of the haunt by hand. The family has paid loving homage to Ray Charles, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, and Prince, and sitting in on drums is Taylor Hawkins. The legendary, much-missed Foo Fighters drummer also has a lyric-inspired tribute on a tombstone in the yard below the “stage” area on the home’s roof.
Sam collected instruments, clothing, and props through Buy Nothing South Pasadena (Northwest), a local chapter of the thriving online “gift economy network.” Several Buy Nothing members regularly tag him when Halloween-oriented items are posted, asking him if he might be interested in a new addition for his much-loved October display.
The display, in short, has true community spirit, something that both Sam and Audrey love about this large-scale yearly project.
That community spirit and sense of frightful fun continues beyond the house, too. This short section of Orange Grove Avenue has seen a rise in Halloween yard displays in recent years, with multi-colored lights, a Headless Horseman, “Nightmare Before Christmas” characters, and a hedge-topping sea monster all ghoulishly gracing the fronts of the homes near “The Rolling Bones”.