Daughter lives on in father's haunted house

Daughter lives on in father's haunted house
Ashley's father said she died from an overdose (Source: Tony Noel).
Ashley's father said she died from an overdose (Source: Tony Noel).
The haunted house is on West Joshua Lane in Pima County (Source: Tucson News Now).
The haunted house is on West Joshua Lane in Pima County (Source: Tucson News Now).

PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There are a ton of frightening names surrounding the home on the northwest side of Tucson.

Freddy Krueger, Annabelle, and Jigsaw, are all there. Around each curve and corner is an opportunity to meet a new chilling character.

But on this 4000 block of W. Joshua Lane, everybody in the neighborhood knows the name 'Tony.'

"He's really crazy but we love him," Phanh Hoban, a neighbor, said laughing.

His name is ripe for December.

"My last name is Noel. You would figure, 'oh, Christmas.' But everyone knows where to go on Halloween," Tony Noel told Tucson News Now.

When his guests come from all over southern Arizona on the night of Oct. 31, little do they know that he's setting up his home for about two months.

On Halloween, he gets 13-16 actors involved inside his haunted house. Noel said everything seen on the property is either homemade or "up-cycled, not recycled," as he called it – except for the dozen or so animatronic characters.

Last year, Noel said he had 856 people come through the haunted house, and 100 more who stopped in but didn't want to walk through.

"You get the candy at the end if you survive," he said.

One night only, he turns the quiet street near Magee Road and Camino de Oeste into the big city.

His neighbors can't compete.

"It's crazy, like New York. With traffic. But no cars. Only the people," said Hoban. "My husband had to sit over there with a candy bucket, and I would sit with him, watching people screaming, and crying, and yelling."

"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 said.

For 13 years, he has turned Joshua Lane into frightful fun. But that passion has taken a somber tone with the death of his daughter.

"She liked it a lot. She always dressed up. We were really close," Noel said. "In the graveyard, I have one of the grave stones with her. It's just brings out the joy."

While everybody knows Tony, his daughter's name is not going unnoticed.

A gravestone for 20-year-old Ashley Noel is placed prominently towards the end of the winding haunted house. She died from an overdose about two years ago, her father said.

A big part of her father's life, who is now living on in her father's love.

"I just want her to be part of the haunt," Noel 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."

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