March 2004 | Vol. III - No. 3
Dynamic Design International (ToyDirectory), a company that specializes in elaborate Halloween products, exemplifies the current “grown-up” trend in the business. Darren Perks worked in the movie industry as a special effects artist for over 18 years before becoming a designer and sculptor for Don Post Studios, a Halloween mask company. Perks has since formed his own company, DDI.
Echoing others in the industry, Perks states that Halloween is more than a kids´ one-night candy fest. "It´s very popular with adults now as well, who begin celebrating earlier in the month,” he says. “It´s the only time of the year people can truly let loose, blow off steam, and become anything they want."
DDI sells to nationwide chain outlets, specialty stores and online retailers, as well as collectors worldwide. "People collect our items to display in private collections and for use in themed attractions and haunted houses. We have many customers in the ‘Haunt’ industry."
At his design facility, Perks makes merchandise for high-volume distribution as well as custom specialty items. "This extends beyond Halloween as well, for year-round products of all shapes and sizes, in a wide range of mediums."
Among his most interesting designs are the Freaky Flyer hanging props, the most popular of which are Lady of the Lake and Sea Hag. "The Freaky Flyer is a life-size head-and-shoulder foam-filled bust with a thick latex skin and full-length flowing black robe,” says Perks. “You can hang them anywhere. If they catch a breeze, or you point a fan at them, they move around as if alive and floating in thin air."
"Important factors in our success include the ability to introduce a unique product line with consistent high-end quality, good customer service, and a nose to the grindstone work ethic,” says Perks. “You have to have tremendous enthusiasm and excitement. The designs reflect the mood."