The San Jose Sharks’ dismal season ended up changing the direction of Anne Eichhorn’s annual Halloween display.
Without playoff hockey to get excited about and with free time due to quarantine, Eichhorn began thinking of a new theme. With 2020 being the 40th anniversary of the U.S. victory over the Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice,” the San Jose resident wanted to celebrate by showcasing the memorable moment from the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Planning began in August, with Eichhorn watching every movie and documentary about the game she could find, as well as listening to the audiobook of Wayne Coffey’s “The Boys of Winter.” When September arrived, that’s when she began making the “Miracle on Ice” jerseys herself, a process detailed on her website, IkornCrafts.com. Between full-time jobs in finance and as a mom of two kids, creating every detail and going back and forth to a local fabric store consumed her evenings and weekends.
From traditional decorations to a full-blown theme
The Eichhorn house wasn’t always a Halloween hot spot. The hockey theme only came to Anne in 2017 when the display featured the Megalodons versus the Los Angeles Kings.
“It was just kind of a fluke,” she told NBC Sports Thursday. “We never really decorated. We’d have the occasional pumpkin out with the kids. But a few years ago I was driving through the neighborhood in late August and I saw someone had a skeleton out and I thought it’s too early to be thinking about [Halloween]. Later that day I was in line at the grocery store and was flipping through a magazine and saw this whole display of skeletons and [it clicked]. I came home, told my husband and he was [on board]. We’re a hockey family, so it made sense.”
The Anaheim Ducks were the 2018 opponent and the Vegas Golden Knights were apart of it in 2019. Last year’s setup also featured inspiration from a Martin Jones bobblehead that was “Game of Thrones” themed, with a goalie pad-wearing skeleton sitting on a stick throne sporting a Megalodons jersey.
‘Miracle on Ice’ details
Over a dozen skeletons and mannequins make up the U.S. and Soviet Union players, as well as fans. Even Herb Brooks, who is played by horror movie star Pinhead is included in the display. Eichhorn’s scene captures the final seconds of the American’s victory, which includes a leaping Jim Craig.
Eichhorn acquired the mix of sticks, skates, and pads from her hockey-playing son, online purchases and local garage sales. She ended up making the player jerseys herself to be cost-effective, and while the Soviets feature their last names, she went with nicknames for the Americans. To add to the 1980 theme, she sanded down the sticks to look as realistic as possible from that time period. Getty Images was helpful in getting the exact details of each player’s twig.
The highlights aren’t just limited to the front lawn. Written on the Eichhorn garage is Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” quote. Right above the garage, two ventriloquist dummies are dressed up as the broadcasting team of Michaels and Ken Dryden. For Halloween, she plans to have a speaker playing the famous call on a loop throughout the day.
Behind the side boards and just next to the announcer booth is a replica Daktronics scoreboard that was inside the Lake Placid Olympic Center for the tournament. The 4-3 final score is displayed.
Appreciated by the community
Eichhorn and her family finished the display a few weeks ago and the community response has been positive.
“The immediate neighbors are so kind that they don’t have a problem with us putting this up in our front yard,” she said. “People say so many nice things, thanking us for doing this for the neighborhood. We have other folks who talk about the game and how they enjoyed the game itself. A UPS driver said when he saw the [Michaels call quote] it gave him chills.”
While Halloween 2020 is this weekend, Eichhorn says she has an early idea for next year’s theme. With the expected arrival of the Seattle NHL expansion team in 2021, she is thinking that a Kraken vs. Megalodon battle would work.
“Might be a good year to release the Kraken in our front yard,” she said.