SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Salt Lake City man known for his elaborate Halloween house decorations has ratcheted it up again this year with a display featuring a massive King Kong climbing on top of the Empire State building.
Ammon Smith has gained local notoriety for his massive displays that get bigger every year, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Even though he doesn't think he's ever seen the original, classic 1933 "King Kong" movie, the giant ape was an obvious candidate to take up residence on Smith's home.
It's complete with an Empire State Building, bi-planes and a Barbie doll clutched in one fist.
Smith, a 33-year-old woodworker, found a love for extreme decorating when his wife asked him to outfit the house for Christmas in 2011.
For the following Halloween, he went bigger.
"I built a 9-foot pumpkin-headed guy that was holding up a bunch of other lit-up pumpkins," Smith said. "I got so many neighbors leaving me little notes saying how they thought it was so neat because they could see me building it in my driveway.
"The next year, it was like 'Let's do something bigger' and the next year, 'Let's do something bigger.' That's how it's been for five years now."
The pumpkin-head man was followed by an elaborate graveyard, then a pirate ship, a skeleton train and, in 2016, a Viking ship in the front yard with a fog-breathing dragon perched on the roof.
The idea for the Kong decoration came in August, with serious construction starting in September as Smith tacked together a wooden box to form the ape's body.
Smith used chicken wire to round out the wood frame of the gorilla and make it more realistic. The sheen on the gorilla's chest comes from a trash bag. His fingers are made of pool noodles.
The Empire State Building has a wood frame. But it is mostly built from foam he got for free from a friend. He stamped on "windows" with a felt-covered block of wood dipped in paint.
The project took "80 to 100 hours" to finish, Smith said, but it cost only $130, mostly for black fabric to make Kong look more lifelike.
The display will be promptly taken down in early November as Smith said he plans to reuse the foam to insulate his garage and build other projects with the wood.
He will hold on to the chicken wire and fabric for next year's display. He doesn't know what that is yet — just that it'll be unique.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com