San Jose mom brings joy of haunted Halloween display for community in honor of terminally-ill son

"I tried to bring so much joy to his life."

Amanda del Castillo Image
Friday, October 7, 2022
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A Bay Area mom creates a haunted Halloween display in honor of her terminally-ill son who has brain damage, cerebral palsy and lung disease.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Something spooky is capturing the attention of people who happen upon Pumpkin Farmer Place.

Skeletons, haunted pumpkins, happy pumpkins, pumpkins big and small have blanketed the Jimenez Family's front yard in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood.

"I've never seen anything like it really anywhere else! I mean, there's a few houses, but I don't think this compares to any of them," neighbor Heaven Vargas told ABC7 News.

"We always want to make sure we come by and see what's here for the year," resident Debbie Uharriet added.

The massive annual Halloween display is deeply meaningful for the mother who put it together. ABC7 News first introduced you to Shelly Jimenez and her son Christopher in 2019.

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Back then, Jimenez filled her yard with haunted clowns that came equipped with bright lights and loud audio. The hope was to develop as Christopher's vision was diminishing.

"Chris lost his sight a few days before Halloween two years ago," Jimenez said through tears. "So, he's not able to see anything anymore. And, he's slowed down a lot since then. His airway is collapsing in."

Christopher is terminally-ill. Jimenez explained Christopher and his twin sister Kayla were born at 26 weeks. Now 27-years-old, both have varying disabilities.

Jimenez said Christopher suffers from brain damage, cerebral palsy, and lung disease.

More recently, Jimenez said he's been in Palliative Care and is now exhibiting symptoms similar to early onset dementia.

"I tried to bring so much joy to his life," Jimenez told ABC7 News. "In fact, I looked back on the video you sent me and he looked so happy."

She continued, "He was so much more full of life. And those are the times that I will always hold in my heart. Because I just cherish those times."

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This year, Jimenez said she started preparing for the haunted pumpkin display in August.

"When COVID hit, we've pretty much been locked in the house. We don't go anywhere, have everything delivered," Jimenez described. "So I've been going a little bit more elaborate on my displays."

However, Jimenez said visiting neighbors are helping to make this Halloween enjoyable during this very difficult time.

Originally built for Christopher, Jimenez's Halloween displays have now become a community favorite.

"It's a really heart-rending story about how Shelly and her husband Sal have taken care of their children the way they have," Uharriet explained. "It's so wonderful. And then to do this for all of us, too..."

"I put a lot of pumpkins in this year because Christopher's favorite place in the world was Disneyland, and he loved the Haunted Mansion Holiday," she shared.

PREVIOUS STORY: South Bay mom creates elaborate Halloween display on front lawn for terminally-ill son

Jimenez added, "I still feel the same that I did back in 2019, that this is like my annual vacation since we're not able to travel."

If you plan to visit, Jimenez shared, "I tell the neighbors when they're walking by, 'Just shout out, hey Chris! We're out in front of your house.'

"And they do that," she said, as Jimenez spoke through tears.

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live