You only have to look at his Ahwatukee house one evening this month to know that Doug Maldonado can rightfully brag, “Nobody does Halloween like I do.”
Festooned with thousands of lights and eye-popping inflatables of assorted creatures, his home at 16210 S. 29th Ave. is a flashy homage to Halloween that he wants Ahwatukee residents to know is his way of giving back to the community.
“It’s my way of thanking the community for their business. They let me into their homes and I want people to bring their families to see this,” said Maldonado, who owns Maldonado Home Repair Services.
The 13-year Ahwatukee resident and New York City native lights up the house 6:30-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 6:30-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday but there’s a slight caveat if you plan on seeing a work of art he starts assembling on Labor Day weekend and that takes him pretty much the entire month of September.
To see his display, you must text - not call - 480-201-5013 when you arrive at his gated community and he’ll text you the code to get in. That way, he has a record in case any vandal tries to mess with his work.
But thousands of people are cool with complying with that simple request – even in the midst of a pandemic.
Maldonado said that last year he debated whether to bother with a light show that he has nurtured and grown over the last 13 years – the last six in his current home.
“I didn’t want to do it, but I asked people on Facebook who know what I do what they thought I should do,” he explained. “I got hundreds of replies. People telling me, ‘Oh, you have to do it. Too much has been taken away from the kids this year, don’t take this away.’”
Though his display reflects a great deal of creativity, Maldonado is old school.
He said he is all about lights and inflatables but not into high-tech displays that have become a part of many Christmas light shows people have set up around their homes.
But that doesn’t mean he’s complacent about his Halloween display either.
“About this time, I start thinking what can I add next year,” he said, adding that he starts cruising the internet in July looking for new things he can add to his mega-watt Halloween extravaganza.
Maldonado and his wife Rose have three kids, but two already are in college so they’re not as captivated anymore by their father’s handiwork.
Their 12-year-old son, though, is still a fan. But for this month, Maldonado wants any and every kid to come and be awed.
“Yes, it’s a lot of work but I’m doing it for the kids,” he said.
Though he leaves some lights up for Christmas – he won’t this year because “I’ll be tied up – Maldonado said he gets a kick out of going much bigger at Halloween because “it’s the only holiday kids and adults can have fun with.”