South Bay mom's heartfelt Halloween display returns, drawing visitors from across CA

Zach Fuentes Image
Monday, October 23, 2023
South Bay mom's heartfelt Halloween display for son returns
Shelly Jimenez says that despite her terminally ill son Christopher's condition getting worse, she had to continue a tradition of putting up one of the most beloved haunted Halloween displays in the South Bay for him.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- One of the most beloved haunted Halloween displays in the South Bay is back.

It was created by a local mom to delight her terminally ill son.

Each spooky detail of the Vernon Avenue display in San Jose was created by Shelly Jimenez for her son Christopher.

He and his twin sister were born prematurely.

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Christopher has terminal lung disease and other complications.

"The last several months have been really difficult," Jimenez said. "He no longer leaves the house, he no longer comes outside, he is in a pretty much like a state of dementia."

Becoming homebound several years ago kept Christopher from going out and seeing holiday lights, something he always loved, so in 2018, his mom brought the lights to him.

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"He just enjoyed it so much and then the next year 2019, I went a little bit bigger with a huge carnival theme," Jimenez said. "And that's how it snowballed."

Neighbors can't go past the house without stopping, and many are touched by the significance of the display.

"It's part of our community to do it, so I'm so glad that she's doing it," said neighbor Larry Ames. "It's amazing."

The display though isn't just attracting people from around the block.

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"I have people come from Fresno, San Diego, way up north, every year just to come by and say hi, and to visit the display," Jimenez said.

She says it's that community support that inspires her to continue the display, even as things have become more challenging for her family.

"I was not going to do it this year because, like I said, he's not doing well," she said. "But I could not let the community down because they enjoy it so much and it's actually a gift to me and my family because the outpouring of love and support that we receive every year. It really means so much to us."

Jimenez said she can't be sure that her son knows the display is back this year but does her best to tell him about it.

"How people are still coming by to enjoy this annually," Jimenez said of what she tells her son Christopher. "He has a blank stare on his face, but I hope that he really knows that I've kept this tradition up for him."

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