Architect’s new Halloween installation draws big crowds

People lined up down Pleasant Street Sunday evening to see architect Tom Saltsman’s newest Halloween installation — and the big reveal did not disappoint.

Saltsman built a giant, mythical forest troll in his driveway, with an eerie woodland inside his garage.

The installation will be available for tours Halloween from 4-8 p.m. and again Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3 and 4, 4-8 p.m.

Tom Saltsman’s latest Halloween installation is a Nordic forest troll. COURTESY PHOTO / BROOKE TRIVAS

“He started working on it in early September, planning and making models and sculptures,” Saltsman’s wife Brooke Trivas told the Current.

A paper outside Saltsman’s driveway explains the piece’s backstory.

“In the dark recesses of Norway’s forest, mythical trolls lurk. Large, humanoid beings with grotesque, rugged features: forest trolls are part of the spirit and folklore of the wilderness. If touched by the first rays of sunlight, their rugged features to turn to stone.

“The forest troll is a testament to the enduring connection between folklore and the untamed realms of nature.”

The owner of a design and construction firm, Saltsman has been creating awe-inspiring Halloween pieces in his driveway and garage for nearly 20 years, attracting people from around Massachusetts and beyond. He’s even been on national TV.

Last year, he designed and built a 20-foot Egyptian goddess with the head of a cobra and body of a woman. Other highlights from over the years include a red-eyed dragon that blew smoke, a spaceship, a 22-foot hulking gorilla that turned his head and made noises, a ghost ship and an 18-foot skeletal man that seemed to walk when the wind Saltsman and wife Brooke Trivas stand in front of the 2022 Halloween installation, a 20-foot Egyptian goddess.

Asked when they decided on this year’s theme, she answered, “We had a conversation right after last Halloween about the inside. Then we didn’t talk about it again until August. In August, we looked at each other and said, ‘Well, it’s time.’ Then he started doing sketches.”

Saltsman works full time and spends dozens of hours in the evenings and on weekends working on his Halloween projects. This year was no different.

“He’s spent a lot of time working on really beautiful models of ideas,” Trivas said. “He’s really interested in the process and in exploring the materiality of things. Inside there’s a lot of play on different effects and how that might create a sense of space and light and depth.”

She continued, “He does find a lot of joy in exploring those things and trying to get it right. If it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t exploratory, joyful and creative… it wouldn’t look the way it does.”

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Editor Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter.

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