Halloween How-To 2018: Mr T. (Rex) and Dinosaurs at Jurassic Park


So I’m *incredibly sure that we won’t outdo last year in terms of the news coverage, but we are going to have every bit as much fun! Let’s see what happens…

**UPDATE** Here are the current links and videos to news coverage this year:


NPR Interview:


KSL News


(*Personal Favorite*) Toy Man Television

Print News/Online:

CBS News

Salt Lake Tribune

Deseret News

NPR Interview

How We Built Them:

This year, again being Tera’s idea, will be Jurassic Park.  The 1993 version. We are shooting for 5 dinosaurs (the main attraction being a T. Rex) and the iconic Jurassic Park gate from the movie. Let’s see how this turns out.

My method, by the way, is to search the internet for a few photos of what I want to build, staple them up on the garage wall, and then just try to build it so that they look somewhat like the photos I chose. I will not be using a tape measure. Like, ever.

These are my steps:

  1. wood sticks; nailed together with a pneumatic finish nailer
  2. wrap in chicken wire
  3. wrap in tin foil
  4. spray paint

(I’ll just go through the T. Rex here, because the process is the same for all of them)

So, basically, his whole size will be determined by his legs’ sizes, since I’m eyeballing this whole thing.  This is where I started.


Based on the stance I want his leg to be positioned in, here is the first build up.


If you’re trying to build something like this yourself, just remember to keep it easy-going and don’t overthink too much of it at this point. Just try to “feel” whatever photo you’re going from. Also, for basal/load-bearing appendages, use a framing nailer, not a finish nailer.


Ok, so that about looks like a T. Rex leg, right? Let’s build another one in a slightly different stance and connect them temporarily.


I think I’ve figured out where the middle-ish portion of his hip section goes and how wide I want him to be, so now I’ve attached the legs together.


Threw on a couple more sticks to start his tail and torso.


…and without going into too much detail, here is his basic torso.  I just diagonally nailed a bunch of smaller sticks to connect the mains and give it a bit of strength.


Since I’ll be rounding him out with chicken wire before skinning him, I cut a long length and draped it over him to get a good idea of where I’m going with all of this. Feeling confident so far!


Now I’ve tacked up more sticks to start his neck shape, and did the same “idea-getting” with the same bit of chicken wire.


…and the head. Gotta get the proportions and scale right for this part, or the whole effort is a wasted one.


Now adding chicken wire!


He looks like a pile of garbage right now, but I think his scale and proportions are looking good for when I add his skin.


Thanks to Amazon, there’s almost never a shortage of earth warming trash to draw from. I packed in some foam scraps to round out his facial structure.


Oh, what? Yes.  I’m using tin foil this year for his skin.  It is durable enough for the project as long as kids aren’t throwing rocks at him, it’s weatherproof for the rainy days, it’s easy to crinkle for his scaly looking skin, and (to my surprise) spray paint sticks to it without any problem! Tera’s idea, which was simply genius.


More tin foil and hot glue.


I’m feeling a little unsure about his head and jaw at this point, but let’s get him skinned and find out.


Ok, now I’ve got skin all over him and I can’t help myself but to spray a little paint to see where this is headed. I’m happy with the shape of his head and jaw, but he needs the “W” shape of his lip line a little more defined.  Easy to add.  More tin foil and hot glue.


Going out of order, as I usually do, I couldn’t help myself but to spray on his belly color as well.  I think this is going to work out!


He holds his own weight up just fine, but I thought it was a decent idea to give him a little extra support for when I’m not paying attention and lean on him while working.  Just a little insurance is all.


If a T. Rex is going to look like a T. Rex, he needs his feet right, his head and jaw right, and his dinky arms and long tail.  These feet are giving me some trouble.  I can’t figure out what I’m trying to do with them yet, but it will come.


Now that “W” shape of his lip line is looking WAY better! Much more realistic.


It took about 4 minutes to chop out a tongue for him with foam, scissors, and a little pink and brown spray paint.


Using the same foam, I chopped out some teeth for him.  Now he is starting to look legit!


With a little bit of watered down yellow acrylic paint, it takes about a 3 year old’s skill level to hurry and paint these teeth.


I added in his eye ridges, eyes, some wrinkles under his eye, and his nasal passages tonight. Here’s a side-by-side of his head now at different angles. I’m starting to feel much more excited about this now that his head is coming together and looking…well…pretty damn close to what I wanted in the beginning!


Looking pretty decent.


I got over my “builder’s block” and finished these feet up tonight also. Not bad.


Now to get him into the front yard…


I’m so happy! Time spent building something like this in a Sugarhouse driveway has one BIG drawback…you can’t step back and see him from the side! I’m so happy that he looks proportionate and not too long or too short in his torso! I’m really happy with how he looks from a distance, and this is the first time I get to do that! Not bad for never using a tape measure!


Several beers and six people later, we got him over the fence and into the yard. I think this will be his approximate final resting place.


Now for the iconic Jurassic Park gate.  Let’s just show these two pics for the “how-to” part.  Nothing at all special about this. Just wood backing and styrofoam panels, burnt in brick separations (soldering iron), and a bit of paint. And a cigarette or two.


They look like trash from the back.  But then again, they are trash.  Just pallet/throwoff wood and styrofoam so far. These foam panels were actually part of Tera’s office display last year, so the “bricks” were already made.  Hooray for saving time and not having to store them for a year!


Took a minute and hand-sketched out the “Jurassic Park” letters onto a piece of particle board, then snipped it out with a jigsaw and tack nailed it to a curved piece. This was the first time I needed a tape measure (for the whole JP gate, actually).




So here’s the first “across the street” picture of the whole yard so far…


He looks pretty creepy with his head poking out from our Dr. Seuss pine trees!


Here’s a snapshot of him at night from the back.


…and another from the sidewalk.  This should be a fairly insane year!


…Oh, and it WAS!


They started mobbing our house at 3:00pm.


The pictures I took of the crowds were when we were “slower” than normal.  I need to pay someone to fly a drone with a camera over my house on Halloween.


I know it doesn’t look like it from my photos, but we estimate that we had 3.5 – 4K trick-or-treaters this year. That is from candy count, and doesn’t take into account the parents that didn’t take any candy.


I think this one was taken at 10:30 during another lull in the people flow. Not bad for Halloween on a Wednesday!


I think that technically we were probably obligated to apply for an event permit through the city. We had traffic stopped on the street waiting for people to get out of the way.  They had to back up and go around the block with all the folks crowded up in the street waiting to get to our sidewalk! Just great.


I wish a copy of every picture people took would get sent to us!


Come mob our house again next year for Halloween 2019! We don’t know what theme we’re doing, but it should be fun as hell!

Happy Halloween 2018!

One thought on “Halloween How-To 2018: Mr T. (Rex) and Dinosaurs at Jurassic Park

Add yours

  1. You guys are amazing and we love to see another Halloween enthusiast! I found your page because we decided to do a Jurassic themed Halloween this year and I was googling. We also do a different theme each year. We scaled back last year due to Covid and will have to do the same this year. The kids look so forward to it and we don’t want to disappoint them.

    Your dinosaurs were amazing!!! We don’t have time to go that big, but love what you did. You guys are very talented. I hope you have a great Halloween this year. You can check out our different themes over the years on Facebook @ BarringtonHalloween.


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