For any of us who have decorated much for Halloween, especially those who were really into it, I’m sure we all have our own personal favorite decoration that has withstood the test of time. Although I’ve built a lot of really cool things for Halloween over the years, from automated monsters to great makeups, my favorite has to be Evil Bear.
This is his story.
This goes back to the early 90s, I think, back when my wife and I used to go to Knott’s Scary Farm every year, back when it was actually scary and about the time that it was starting to fall apart and look cheap. Yes, I had been going for many years, probably 10-15, but my wife had only gone a few times and, unfortunately, lots of props that were used every year at the Farm were mistreated and in a perpetual state of disrepair, it was really pretty sad to see the whole thing going down the tubes, clearly being run by people who didn’t put any personal effort into ensuring it was scary or worthwhile, it was clearly just a job they went to every day and they had no real desire to be the best they could be. I guess that’s why, after several years of going on and off, our last year attending Halloween Haunt was 2001. I know because I still have the t-shirt.
However, one year we started to see these little Evil Bear props in shop windows and I was immediately taken by them. I don’t know what it is, they look enough like lovable little teddy bears and enough like horrible monsters, they just resonate with me somehow. I desperately wanted one of them, but they didn’t sell them in the park and I couldn’t locate them in any store or catalog. Apparently, from what I was told, they were contracted specifically for Knott’s and were not commercially available. Still, I hunted for them for a number of years and, sometime in the late 90s, I finally ran across one in a halloween shop, I want to say it was at the Santa Fe Springs year-round location of Halloween Club, which apparently doesn’t even exist anymore, but I could be wrong. I don’t know if it was a mistake that the shop got one, they only had the one and I never saw another, but I bought it on the spot and have had it ever since.
Unfortunately, as with any 15+ year old rubber prop, it’s seen better days, there are a few splits in the rubber covering and I’d love to be able to draw a high-quality mold off of the model so I can make as many as I want, maybe clean up some of the details and be able to repaint it to make some of the features stand out. I haven’t had the guts to actually try it though, this thing is one-of-a-kind, if I mess it up, I ruin it forever. The foam-rubber core of Evil Bear, as well as the delicate outer rubber structure, makes a hot plastic vaccuum mold impossible and I don’t want anything to stick to or rip off of the original, making most other forms of non-plastic molding difficult, even with release agents. I’ll have to really look into it one day and see if there’s a way to make more.
So does anyone else have a favorite Halloween decoration? Anyone else have any stories about how their collections came to be? I’d be interested in hearing them.