Mountain Pointe High sophomore Mikaela Romo, left, and junior Bella Alati are ready to scare patrons of the student theater group’s annual Halloween haunted house at the school this weekend.
Kimberly Carrillo/AFN Staff Photographer

Ahwatukee residents looking for scares this coming weekend won’t have to travel far for their Halloween kicks.

Both the Ahwatukee Board of Management and the Mountain Pointe Theatre Company are putting on time-tested productions aimed at helping adults get their Halloween on.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, scores of Mountain Pointe High School students, with the help of a number of teachers, will be bringing back their interactive haunted show. The show is throughout the school, 4201 E. Knox Road, and tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults.

The parent booster club says the show has such realistic effects that it compares favorably with far more expensive haunted-themed attractions in the region.

Figure on spending at least 20 minutes if you go at any point during the three hours the auditorium is open on show nights, said Corey Quinn, a biology teacher and Class of ’95 Mountain Pointe alumnus who is a faculty sponsor for the show, along with fellow teacher Kim Bonagofski.

The school has had at least a decade-long tradition of staging some kind of scary offering this time of year.

“We have drawn as many as 500 people in a night,” said Quinn. “This is absolutely one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Theatre Company. We make by far more money on this show than all the other shows we put on in the school year combined.”

The production comes together in a remarkably much shorter period of time than typical shows put on by the company.

The students wear costumes that come from an assortment of sources. Zombies bring appropriate clothing from home, some costumes are made by company members and others are purchased if they are too elaborate.

Then, each room in and around the company area is decorated with a different horror theme.

“There are very few places we don’t take people to in the company area,” Quinn said. The orchestra pit and the catwalk are part of the show.

When people are taken up to the catwalk, they learn the story of Eldridge, the ghost that purportedly haunts the auditorium. Said to be the spirit of a construction worker who died when Mountain Pointe High was being built, the ghost has become such an urban legend that seat E-13 is taped off during any production.

When she was a reporter for the Arizona Republic, Ahwatukee resident Cathy Creno looked into the Eldridge legend and wrote, “As long as anyone can remember, Eldridge has reportedly been haunting the theater with mysterious footsteps, flickering lights and other unexplained occurrences.”

Nevertheless, Creno added, there is no record of any construction death at the school.

You can include a hay ride at the annual haunted house at the Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center, 4700 E. Warner Road, which is hosting its 16th annual Halloween extravaganza hayride 6-9 p.m. Oct. 27-29.

If you’re going to be scared, plan on going from 7:30 p.m. on. The first 90 minutes is the “less scary” time for families with young children.

This year, several high school clubs are taking a great role in the event, said Susan Hyden, the center’s director.

“We always have high school students show up to help, but some want to take a greater role,” she said, adding that those groups include the Horizon Honors Key Club, Cactus Aquatics Swim Team and the Ahwatukee High School Tennis Club.

Between 80 and 100 teenagers show up to volunteer over the three-day event to work as guides, hay ride helpers and in other capacities.

Hyden promises “eerie, heart-thumping, eye-closing, scream-curdling” thrills that people will experience with a hayride and a visit to the haunted house.

“Visitors will enjoy a haunted hayride through the park and encounters with, well, various creatures of the night,” she added.

If you think she’s exaggerating, consider this: “My staff and I have on many occasions taken families behind the scenes to prove to their kids that this is not real and the ‘zombies’ or other creatures are just very nice high school students or adults.”

Visitors who don’t find the scary sights stomach-turning will have a variety of treats to buy from a bake sale, caramel apples, hot chocolate and apple cider and other goodies. Hyden added that haunted house visitors also will get a free candy treat.

Admission is $9 for adults and $6 for kids 8 years old and younger.

Information: 480-893-3431.

Finally, for free family-friendly Halloween entertainment pilot Steve Powers will display his entertaining and family-friendly haunted yard at 2537 E. Amberwood Drive, a little west of Desert Vista High School, for a final weekend 7-9 p.m. Oct. 27-28.

Powers has made practically everything by hand for the giant Halloween show.

Since moving to Ahwatukee 12 years ago, the commercial airline pilot had grown his Halloween display from a few scattered tombstones into an elaborate musical horror show, which is free.

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