What do you think of when you think of Halloween in Ahwatukee?
A trunk or treat? A classy dinner? A frightful wandering through a high school filled with scary scenes? Or a tricked-out front and backyard with family-friendly scenes of the season? Or a hayride through an outdoor scarefest?
Check all of the above because Ahwatukee has a full plate of Halloween offerings, starting tomorrow, Oct. 18, at Mountain Pointe High School.
Here’s the rundown.
Student thespians will present their annual Haunted Show at the school, 4201 E. Knox Road, 6-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 18 and 19, and again from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26. Admission is $7 for students and $10 for adults.
This interactive show is staged throughout the school, so visitors can go from room to room and see a heap of horror scenes – including the lonely ghost said to haunt the auditorium.
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 show runs.
Mountain Pointe’s theater group has been putting on the show for more than a decade and has drawn as many as 500 people in a single night to make it one of the group’s biggest fundraisers of the year.
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, while 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.
The “full scary version” is for middle school up to adult, while a “Chicken Little’ version for younger kids also is provided.
When adults 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, Ahwatukee resident Cathy Creno, now a teacher in the Tempe Elementary School District, 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.
Trunk or treat
The Goodman Group has assembled a bunch of local businesses to put on a trunk or treat event 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, in front of Foothills Pool Care and Repair’s new location in the Foothills Village Center on the southeast corner of Chandler Boulevard and 32nd Street.
Admission is free and treat bags will be given to the first 500 kids. There will be a free photo booth as well as food trucks and vendors.
People who want to decorate their vehicle and enter the contest to win prizes are asked to email email@example.com to register.
Sponsors include: Arizona’s Vision, Foothills Pool Care and Repair, Van Norman Law, Zzeeks Pizza, Paige Chavez Bell Mortgage, Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, Horizon Chiropractic Center, Karen Marsh, Six Degrees Digital Media, South Mountain Window Cleaning, Essentials Day Spa in Ahwatukee, Kevin Shelton Insurance Agency, Livin’ And Givin’, Engineering for Kids, Armer Air Heating & Air Conditioning and Books Smart Solutions.
Another local tradition
Halloween in Ahwatukee wouldn’t be the same without is Steve Powers and his haunted front lawn.
For the 13th consecutive year, Powers has a free, family-friendly Halloween outdoor display 7-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday this weekend and next outside his home at 2537 E. Amberwood Drive, a little west of Desert Vista High School. His shows run continuously and include some characters he added last year, including “bumbling ghosts as friendly as Casper.”
He also has a soundtrack of Halloween music twice to accompany the show, his 13th consecutive one.
The singing pumpkins will be providing favorite songs for Halloween, and the Clumsy Witch and Jack Skellington will be on hand.
“I estimate we had well over a thousand visitors last year from our community,” he said.
No scares on the menu
If you’re into good food, Caffe Boa, 5063 E. Elliot Road, has an annual three-course Halloween Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 with a patio setting. Guests can come costumed or in regular attire but are advised to make reservations since seating is limited. The $58.95 price includes the wine. Reservations:480-893-3331.
Hayride and horrors
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 17th annual Halloween extravaganza 6-9 p.m. Oct. 26-28
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.
Admission is $9 adults, $6 for kids 8 and under. That includes the hayride and entry to the Haunted House.
Susan Hyden, the center’s director, said this year there are some new additions, with free games with prizes for kids, a free bounce house, Halloween merchandise, bake sale, pumpkin decorating and other concession items. The free games include Candy Corn Ring Toss, Feed the Monster, Pop a Pumpkin and Witches Brew game.
Volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee will help with the bake sale, and other high school volunteers will assist with the pumpkin decorating area. Also, the adjacent restaurants – Nellos, Hillside Spot and Panda Garden – will have food specials all weekend.
“We want to thank them for their participation in making this Halloween weekend even more of a reason to make this a must-see place to be this weekend,” said Hyden. “It is truly a fun night out for our community.”
“I am proud of the community involvement from the area high schools for the volunteer hours during this weekend,” she added. “There are usually between 60 to 80 student volunteers plus several adults who get into character, put on the costume, smear on the makeup and get ready to put on a good scare. They do a great job and we all have a lot of fun in the process. There are also volunteers who help with ticket lines, makeup, and set-up/tear-down.”
Hyden said she still could use some volunteers to help with the clean-up process on Oct. 27 from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Interested volunteers can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information: ahwatukeecommunitycenter.com or 480-893-3431.
Dance the night away
Cactus Jacks, Elliot Road and 48th Street, Ahwatukee, is planning a Halloween dance party Oct. 31.
Food and drink specials start at 5 p.m. and Carrie McNeish will give free line dancing lessons starting at 5:30 p.m. Treats and raffle prizes also will be available. Information: dancemeetsfitness.net, 480-221-9090.
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