Halloween in Ahwatukee wouldn’t be the same without Steve Powers and his haunted front lawn.
And this year, he already has made sure that won’t happen.
For the 12th year starting this weekend, Powers will display his entertaining and family-friendly haunted yard at 2537 E. Amberwood Drive, a little west of Desert Vista High School. His shows run continuously 7-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
“I moved it up a week because Halloween falls on a weird day,” he said about the holiday, which is on a Tuesday.
This year, he also has added some new characters – including “bumbling ghosts as friendly as Casper.”
And he has made his soundtrack of Halloween music twice as long, bumping the continuous loop up to 40 minutes with songs like “Monster Mash.”
“I don’t expect someone to hang around for 40 minutes, but this way they might hear some different songs if they make several visits,” he said.
As with the characters that decorate his lawn, the audio-video offering “is a kid-friendly sing-along using video projections, and with singing pumpkins and animated props,” he said.
“There’s no blood or gore, so fun and safe for young kids,” he added. “Last year, we had many many kiddos singing along to ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘The Addams Family,’ ‘Nightmare Before Christmas,’ etc.”
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.
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 initially was ready to give it all up after last year because “it was so much work.”
“It would take me a couple 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 said that he is frequently asked what he does for Christmas.
“I’d just put up some lights because I was so worn out by Halloween,” he said.