Jul 26, 2014
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A Closer Look at 'The Eye Ball'

How this El Granada couple came upon hosting 'The Eye Ball' every Halloween in their neighborhood.

In the eight years that Bill and Denise Delaney have been throwing The Eye Ball — an annual Halloween party out of their Clipper Ridge home — some really cool things have come their way.

Take, for example, the time Denise was invited to talk about The Eye Ball on The Martha Stewart Show in 2009. Or when her eyeball design was chosen to decorate the Halloween version of Old Paint, the horse at Lemos Farm, which is painted again this year in Denise’s puzzle piece design.

The Eye Ball all began the year Bill and Denise moved to Half Moon Bay. Their new neighbors warned them that the former owners of the house had quite a reputation for going overboard on Halloween. Denise recalls traces of fake cobwebs still clinging to the trees in the front yard.

Little did their neighbors know who they were talking to. This was no ordinary couple looking to recreate the garden-variety graveyard scene. Instead, Bill and Denise set out to develop a concept completely original, fresh and surprising.

“In October, our neighborhood has more graveyards than Colma,” said Denise. “We wanted to do something whimsical, not scary. We really didn’t want to be responsible for giving the kids in the neighborhood nightmares.”

So The Eye Ball theme was born, evolving from the couple’s shared interest in Goth music, Bill’s skill in rigging lighting and speakers, and Denise’s passion for creating unusual food and decorations.

Here’s more about the making of The Eye Ball in Denise’s own words:

The highlight of The Eye Ball is the Gothic dance floor in the front yard for the trick-or-treaters, which features thousands of orange, purple and eyeball lights, nightclub-grade blacklights, a disco ball, homemade glowing eyeballs everywhere, and impromptu Goth dance lessons.

One year when the dance floor was rained out and The Eye Ball was held indoors, we still invited people in and gave lessons in the living room. Goth dance moves tend to be nothing more than ordinary gestures done extraordinarily: looking for the exit, losing a contact, sweeping the floor, pulling taffy, and stepping over bodies are all classics; people do these moves all night long at clubs without realizing they’re doing them.

We hand out treat bags filled with eyeball goodies. Over the years I’ve found eyeball pencils, rings, eye patches, rubber balls, bubbles, tattoos, assorted candies, chocolate, gum, lollipops, and even eyeball-printed bags. On years when Halloween falls on a weekend I make 100 bags, and they usually run out in two hours.

After the trick-or-treaters have hung it up for the night, the party really gets going when the adults in the neighborhood and beyond head over for the late-night buffet, karaoke, and poker with chips in Halloween colors and Cirque du Soleil playing cards.

Our daughter Victoria provides her own unique brand of entertainment by running from room to room shrieking with excitement, and occasionally sneaking up on people and saying, “Boo!”

Our friends from The Coastal Repertory Theater and Pacifica Spindrift Players really raise the bar for the quality of costumes at the party!

Not all of the food is eyeball-themed, but over the years the buffet has included eyeball deviled eggs, eyeball salsa, eyeball Rice Krispy treats, eyeball crudités (those radishes stuffed with green olives seemed to really be keeping an eye on the carrot sticks), and eyeball cupcakes, with black M&M pupils and green gummy apple ring irises.

My favorite eyeballs in the collection of decorations are those that I’ve made, like the "eye candy" decorations that hang on the black tinsel Halloween tree. I’ve won a few really unusual eyeball items on eBay, like eyeball salt and peppershakers, a bunch of eyeball beach balls, and a light-up totem pole of eyeballs, which makes a stunning centerpiece.


To read more by Denise about throwing a fabulous Halloween party, read her Half Moon Bay Patch articles here.

Denise Delaney (aka Patty O’Furniture) has lived on the Coast with her husband Bill Barton (aka Tristan Shout) and daughter Victoria (aka Jennifer Convertible) since 2005. She has an MS in Mass Communications from San Jose State University, where she has taught undergrad courses in branding and presentation skills. She currently works as a freelance graphic designer and does freelance radio and television production. She is a Peninsula Arts Council board member, and volunteers frequently at Coastal Repertory Theatre. Her hobbies include snowboarding, road tripping, and being crafty.

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