Tony Noel goes all out every year for Halloween — creating a neighborhood haunted house at his home has been a family tradition for 13 years.
The Arizona father told Tucson News Now:
“My last name is Noel. You would figure, ‘oh, Christmas.’ But everyone knows where to go on Halloween.”
Noel explained that his love for the spooky night began as a child:
“I have a passion. I’ve always had a passion. When I was a kid I loved it. A lot of houses don’t do it no more. It’s gone away a lot.”
Noel brings 13 to 16 actors and animatronic characters into his haunted house to create the big scares. His haunted house brought in 856 visitors last year alone.
His neighbor, Phanh Hoban, said:
“It’s crazy, like New York. With traffic. But no cars. Only the people. My husband had to sit over there with a candy bucket, and I would sit with him, watching people screaming, and crying, and yelling.”
Noel’s daughter, Ashley, had the Halloween spirit just like her dad. Noel said:
“She liked it a lot. She always dressed up. We were really close.”
Sadly, Noel lost his 20-year-old child to a drug overdose two years ago.
But that has not stopped the dad from keeping Ashley as part of the haunted house he builds ever year.
In fact, he came up with a unique decoration for all of his visitors to see.
“In the graveyard, I have one of the grave stones with her. It’s just brings out the joy.”
Noel proudly displays the gravestone with Ashley’s name on it near the end of the journey through his haunted house.
But some people don’t see it as a fitting prop.
Noel understands their dissatisfaction, though he did it out of his love for his daughter. He said:
“Some people take it the wrong way. But she’s with me when I’m doing it. Her living is inside of me and makes me say, ‘I don’t want to put it down.’ I want to continue, and I won’t ever forget.”
While some people may question the father for including a display featuring his dead child, Noel has his reasons to keep it up for good:
“I just want her to be part of the haunt.”