October 30, 2009

The flames, lights and fog machine were installed this week, helping to make a home on Franklin's West Main Street look like a stage for one of rock's most sensational acts: KISS.

Every Halloween since 2001, Jondie and Rebecca Davis have decorated their house with a theme and invited friends to join them. West Main Street, with its large, historic and gothic-looking homes, has become a popular place for trick-or-treaters. Rebecca Davis said more than 1,800 kids came to their house for candy last year. She expects about 2,000 Saturday.

"It's become kind of bigger than life," she said. "Kids come back every year and say they remember what we did the year before. It's become a lot of fun for us."

Past themes have included Sleeping Beauty, vampires, pirates and the Addams Family. Jondie Davis said he's been a fan of KISS since 1977, when he was 9. He said his friend John Pavlovsky suggested last Halloween that they all dress as members of the rock band and put on a real show.

Coincidentally, the real band put on a show in Nashville this week, making the theme extra-topical.

"We thought it was a great idea," Jondie Davis said. "This has literally been a year in the making."

Pavlovsky, a musician and music teacher, even got permission from Gene Simmons to use the KISS name and perform the band's songs. Pavlovsky has formed a tribute band made up of teens and preteens called Rock 'n' Roll Express: Little KISS. He said he met Simmons in New York, where he pitched the idea of getting his students on the television show Gene Simmons Family Jewels.

"At the very least, he does know about our Halloween plans," Pavlovsky said.

Little Kiss will take that stage for its debut performance at the Davis house, where Pavlovsky and a collection of musicians will also perform KISS tunes.

In keeping with the KISS concert theme, all invited guests at the Davis house will be given backstage passes and a security guard will be posted at the front door. Four pumpkins were painted to look like the KISS band members, who wear white and black makeup, tight pants and plenty of glitter.

Rebecca Davis said she's dressing up like the Demon, which is Simmons' alter ego, and will pass out candy to kids. Jondie is assuming the roll of Ace Frehley, while their 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, will be the star-eyed Paul Stanley and 4-year-old Audrey will be a cat.

Olivia Davis said KISS used to scare her, but she says she's overcome that fear.

"I'm really excited," she said. "It's the first Halloween in a while that I've actually invited some friends from school to come."

In the photos:

Olivia Davis helps her dad, Jondie, get into his Kiss costume. Jondie Davis said he's been a fan of Kiss since he was 9 years old in 1977.

Audrey Davis, 4, watches as her mother, Rebecca, applies makeup to her sister, Olivia, 10. The Davis family is dressing as the rock band Kiss for Halloween and have decorated the front of their Franklin home to look like a stage.