A Rancho Cucamonga family will compete for a $50,000 prize on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” on Monday, Dec. 12, showing off a 40-foot pirate ship they built, complete with a skeleton crew decked out for Christmas.
The ABC show is in season 10. The show takes four families with the best and brightest holiday decorations throughout the country and showcases their work. Families compete for a cash prize of $50,000 and the “Fight Light” trophy.
The Vieau family was approached by the show two years ago after footage of their 40-foot pirate ship was found online. The team includes Mike Vieau, 60, his wife Diane, 62, their son Sterling, 19, Mike Vieau’s brother Vern Vieau, 63, and niece Becca Vieau, 29.
Each year, the Vieaus yard is transformed with a 40-foot school bus-turned-pirate ship, full skeleton crew wearing their Christmas best, and about 20 moving pieces and parts which make up the spooky holiday tableau.
“We love Halloween,” Diane Vieau said. “This is just our mash up. We call it our Halloween Christmas mash up.”
The family says they saw about 3,000 people over Halloween weekend and for Christmas they say they have given out 2,900 pieces of candy to kids brave enough to approach the big green Christmas spider which has been known to jump out and say hello.
Families can trail through the yard following a lit path which takes them by a skeletal gift exchange, a festive automated guillotine cutting a Christmas ham, and several other spooky decorations given a yuletide twist.
“Most of these props are out for Halloween,” Diane Vieau said. “It is a little bit different but our Halloween and our Christmas are designed for all ages.”
The family’s annual decorations started with an automated coffin and has continued to expand. Over the years, the Vieaus have added skeletons swinging next to tree ornaments, projectors, and a Santa skeleton crawling up a rope to the top of the mast to deliver Christmas gifts.
“We started 28 years ago,” Mike Vieau said. “She wanted me to do something for Halloween so I built the coffin, and I can’t just build a coffin, I automated it so the lid would pop open with an old Genie garage door opener remote and everybody loved it so we’ve just been building for 28 years.”
The pirate ship, the centerpiece of the decorations, is a running theme in the Vieau home.
“At our old house I built a ship’s wheel like the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and that got put on the roof of our house,” Mike Vieau said. “And then a few years later everyone liked it so I added a sail and a cannon and our house became a pirate ship.”
After moving, the Vieaus realized their new home was not visible from the street and Mike Vieau took it as a sign to build a full ship façade. After years of constructing and deconstructing the ship, the family found an old school bus. They cut the middle out of the bus and transformed it into a moving pirate ship with a 40-foot mast.
From the pirate ship they built out to include skeleton mermaids and sharks, a deserted island, and a pirate’s ship kite which takes a lap around the yard.
Check out the Vieau family’s full setup on “The Great Christmas Light Fight” airing at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12 on ABC.