Fun

Holiday Lights: Allen and Beth Coughenour

​It's the holiday season, which means lights are everywhere: On your neighbor's house, decorating the local bar, and on buildings of downtown Phoenix. During the buildup to Christmas, Jackalope Ranch will be running the numbers on some of the best and brightest light displays around the Valley.

Visiting the eclectic holiday display at Allen and Beth Coughenour's North Phoenix home is like taking a walk down Memory Lane. Amid the alabaster glow of white lights, more than a dozen different characters from classic Christmas television specials are depicted in plywood and plastic, including Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and members of the Peanuts gang.

Its a very old school holiday display that utilizes mostly incandescent bulbs and vintage decorations. Allen Coughenour is pretty old school, himself, having been decorating for more than 30 years using decoration that's he's collected for decades.

The Numbers:

Strands and lights: More than 100,000 lights cover the house, 90 percent of which are incandescent bulbs. New fangled LEDs make up the rest.

Inflatables: Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Other decorations: There are dozens of illuminated plastic decorations (some of which date back to the 1970s), including carolers, nutcrackers, snowmen, penguins, and elves. Two different custom-built holiday trains also occupy the front yard, along with plywood standups that Allen created himself. He's also a big fan of Snoopy, as evidenced by his A Charlie Brown Christmas tee shirt and the numerous Snoopy and Woodstock displays.

Estimated electric bill: The Coughenour's believe they spend "around $250" each year to power the display, although Allen says he had to spend $800 a few years ago to get an additional electrical work done by APS to make sure it didn't short out their circuit breakers.

Why do you decorate? Allen says he was inspired by his the decorations his neighbors put up during his childhood. "They had displays every Christmas and I always wanted to do the same," he says.

Allen and Beth Coughenour's holiday display is located at 5335 West Alice Avenue. Hours are 6-10 p.m. daily through January 2.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.