A sure sign of Halloween in Ahwatukee is coming this weekend.
For the 14th consecutive year, commercial pilot Steve Powers will be presenting his spectacular Halloween show 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in front of his home at 2537 E. Amberwood Drive. The show after that will run 7-9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday this month.
You won’t find plastic skulls and cheesy skeletons in Powers’ Halloween display.
He’s made practically everything by hand and over time has grown his Halloween display from a few scattered tombstones into an elaborate musical horror show he titled “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in tribute to the Disney film of the same name.
Actually, a trip to Disneyland inspired Powers to develop the show.
After seeing the characters that populate the Haunted Mansion ride, Powers, who had no carpentry experience, set about building columns and characters and using cables and choreography to develop a seven-minute show that has drawn thousands to his neighborhood.
“I liked the movie and display because it was kid-friendly and did not include all of the blood and gore that Halloween has turned into,” Powers said.
Powers a few years ago ready to give it all up because “it was so much work.”
And last year, vandals took some things and destroyed others, although they were apprehended as a result of some watchful neighbors.
“There were props from many homes jammed in his trunk,” Powers said of one culprit. “This year a little more security. But the show will go on.”
Powers admitted that the work involved is arduous, but he enjoys putting on the show for the community.
Several years ago, “It would take me a couple of months to put together,” he said. “I had to create every single thing.”
When he first got the idea for the show, Powers said, “I thought this would be kind of cool to do something like this for Halloween.
“I went around to a lot of stores only to find out there’s nothing you can get there or on the internet,” he added. “I spent months building all the characters and the columns.”
Powers couldn’t say farewell to all that work, so instead, he has added translucent screens and a digital loop to make more use of video in the display.
Witches and ghosts in the graveyard sing, encouraging spectators to join in as they go through popular songs from movies like “Ghostbusters,” “The Addams Family” and, of course, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
Powers calls it a kind of “Halloween family sing-along” and he said this year “’The Haunting’ is back and Jack, Sally, Shock, Lock and Barrel, along with the clumsy ghosts and Wacky Witch” will be presented.
The free event can be viewed at any time during the showtimes since the 35-minute show is on a continuous loop that ends promptly at 9 p.m.
“The last few years, I keep telling people that this will be it, it will be the last year I do it because I am just really burned out,” Powers said last year.
“But when I see all of the hundreds of people who come to see this and how the little kids’ faces just light up, I suddenly think I will go for another year.”