CONCORD, CA (Oct. 21, 2023) — Rod Glover loves all things creepy and crawly.
He has brought thrills and chills to the community for more than 40 years – starting in his Concord garage, then at the Walnut Country clubhouse and now at Fall Fests at Mt. Diablo Elementary and St. Agnes schools.
Kristin Descalzo, one of the brave volunteers from the Mt. Diablo Parent Faculty Club, fondly calls him “Mr. Halloween.”
“His collection of Halloween decor is quite impressive, ranging from homemade props to talking animatronics. And every year, it continues to grow,” she says, her eyes wide in wonder. “You can see the excitement on his face as he shares what new fun spooky thing he has added to his collection and where it will be in the haunted house for that year.”
Glover’s new Guitar Reaper will welcome visitors to the Oct. 20 festival in Clayton. His new Hauntress will be lying in wait inside – ready to pop out with her “Scream”-like visage and “scare the life out of guests.” If the Spirit store website can be believed, it seems the once-beautiful girl’s soul now “lies in torment between the living and the dead.”
A grisly guillotine tops Glover’s long list of shriek-inspiring props. Add to that a creepy coffin, an eerie electric chair, a stark-raving mad dentist, and classic characters including a witch, vampire and werewolf.
In addition to helping concoct the zombie zone at Mt. Diablo, he has loaned some of his cast of misfits to St. Agnes – so they’ll be lurking around corners at the Concord school on Oct. 27.
Not for the faint of heart
You can almost hear Glover fiendishly rubbing his hands together as he describes creating intricate scenes and getting the lighting just right to watch the horror unfold. It isn’t a project for the faint of heart.
But his favorite part is seeing – and hearing – the kids’ reactions. “Some kids turn around and go right back out, but others are screaming the whole way through,” he says with ghoulish delight.
Glover, a retired San Francisco police lieutenant, has always enjoyed haunted houses and scary movies – naming the early “Alien” and “Friday the 13th” films as his favorites. But the 73-year-old doesn’t have any particular memories of his childhood Halloweens, guessing that he probably wore “the mask of the day” or dressed as someone like Davy Crockett.
Seems he’s traveled a long way to get to the dark side.
And he has dragged his family down that jagged highway, with his kids and then his grandkids joining his Army of Darkness – along with the 300 to 400 “victims” who tromped through his homemade haunted house each year during his Halloween heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The devilish duty continues for Glover, who still masquerades in mayhem at a scaled-down fright fest in his garage on Halloween night.
“He does all this work because he genuinely loves seeing the smiles and the excitement that his haunted house brings to the children and their families,” says Descalzo, calling him “a community treasure.”
“It is people like Rod who give so much, asking for nothing, that make our community great.”
Bev Britton graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota and moved to the Bay Area with her soon-to-be husband Jim in 1986. She was features editor at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek before becoming managing editor of the Contra Costa Sun in Lafayette in 1995. She retired from newsrooms in 2001, but an ad for the Clayton Pioneer drew her back in. The family moved to Lake Wildwood in the Gold Country a few years ago - but working at the Pioneer keeps her in touch with her old neighborhoods in Concord and Clayton.