For 16 years, Debbie and John Wagner have decorated their front yard and covered the steps of their two-story brick house on Tanbark Road for Halloween. There are the usual carved pumpkins and flying ghosts, and scary songs that blast into the night. But that's just the beginning.
The tradition started with just a "few scenes," said Debbie Wagner, a Lexington police officer.
"During the day it looks like a code-enforcement nightmare," she said, in a witch costume instead of her uniform on Thursday afternoon. "When people come here for the first time, you can tell. Their mouths are open and they're like, 'I have never seen anything like this,' because there are so many little scenes and details."
In 2008, NBC spotlighted the house when it won the Today Show's Most Spirited Home Halloween.
The decorations include: an assortment of dead bodies, a skeleton on skis, Star Wars' Darth Vader and a witch hanging from a pole. Other skeletons include dead celebrities Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse. Katy Perry stands near Jackson. David Letterman is caught with his pants down in the couple's redesigned porta-potty, which has a motorized door.
But for the 500 or so families that are likely to visit, John says, the favorite displays are the all-blue section that represents UK athletics — including skeleton players dunking over Nerlens Noel — the cast of A&E's Duck Dynasty, and the female corpses holding a sign that reads, "Women Waiting For the Perfect Man."
John Wagner says Debbie is the designer who makes it all possible.
It takes 10 to 12 hours a day for an entire month to put it all together. The decorations will stay up until 1 a.m. Saturday; then the dismantling begins, the Wagners say. Friends and volunteers pitch in and help.
John Wagner says the point is to do something for the community. "There are so many things happening that are not fun in our lives, community and our nation that it just gives people the opportunity to bring their families. ... The point is just to give back and let them enjoy something."
Pointing at the spiders on the porch columns as Michael Jackson's Billie Jean plays in the background, Debbie Wagner says she is looking forward to really going all out for their 20th year.