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MAD SCIENTIST
Hes been working in his lab
WILDART HALLOWEEN HOME5 10-29-15
Lenny Phillips is set up with his custom-made Halloween decorations in front of his Manteca home on the corner of Elm and Argonaut streets. He said he has just a few more items to add. The Halloween project is in its third year. Phillips said it is a year-long process making the custom decorations. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The “Mad Scientist” is at it again.

For more than seven years Rick Feuerstein has turned his Pajaro Avenue garage into a mock laboratory that includes actual equipment, a full-sized Frankenstein bolted to a table, and a handful of scares for those who dare to walk inside.

And on Friday and Saturday, Feuerstein will again be opening up his home to share the love of the holiday that he’s appreciated since he was a child.

“It’s all about the fun of getting it all to work and for the people that come and see it,” Feuerstein said. “They’re so nice about it and they stop and ask, ‘Wow – how long did it take you to set this all up?’ and it’s fun stopping to talk to people who keep coming back year-after-year.

“It is fun for me and the kids enjoy it and I see a lot of the same people coming back each and every year. It’s great.”

The “Mad Scientist’s Lab” will be open to the public in Feuerstein’s garage at 1373 Pajaro Avenue on Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and on Halloween from 6:30 to 10 p.m. There is no charge.

Putting all of it together isn’t an easy task.

While he has plenty experience with it – Feuerstein ran the unique attraction in his Lodi garage for 16 years before moving to Manteca seven years ago – it still takes the better part of the month of October to put together.

He has some of the heavier and bulkier parts, like the nine wooden panels that he puts up as a backdrop, contained at a storage facility near his home. He has one closet in his house dedicated solely to the gadgets and gizmos that all have an individual place within the sprawling display. And he has a master plan, with numbers and labels and a layout chart that he sticks to when he pulls everything out on the first weekend of October when he begins the undertaking.

Then the fun begins.

While he’ll spend most of his free time from then until Halloween making sure that everything plugs in to the right outlets and everything is positioned perfectly, that’ the part that he truly enjoys – the chance to create his own “Young Frankenstein” laboratory after he watches the Mel Brooks cult-classic every year.

“I grew up watching Fright Nights and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and so I always loved this kind of stuff. But what really helped me get into this was when I realized that the company I was working for had a bunch of stuff that they were going to get rid of and I thought that it would be perfect for a lab,” Feuerstein said. “And setting up that lab for me is what I enjoy about it. It’s taking the time to put things in the right places and testing everything to make sure that it works and fixing the things that don’t quite work right.

“People really enjoy it so it makes it enjoyable for me to spend the time doing it.”

And while the size and scope of the incredibly detailed undertaking has grown over the years, he doesn’t expect to see too much added from here on out save for a few things that he’s able to pick up at the Spirit Halloween store when they’re clearing out their stock at the end of the year.

“I’d have to get another garage,” he said with a laugh.