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Haunted walkway honors lost child

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Coleen Spraggins puts some finishing touches on her Halloween home on at 26458 Fonda Avenue.


Ever since she was a child, October was a month of celebration for Coleen Spraggins and her family.

However, about 16 years ago, it wasn’t a year for celebrations. Spraggins lost her first child two months before her first birthday — Oct. 3. However, instead of drowning in her sorrows, Spraggins uses October and Halloween decorating as an opportunity to honor her daughter.

“To celebrate and get myself out of the funk, I decided to go all out for Halloween to celebrate her birthday,” she said. “She turns 17 years this year. This is how I celebrate for her birthday. I don’t get to throw her a party or buy her gifts. So this is kind of my way of doing something cool in her memory and it’s kind of gotten out of hand.”

In the past, Spraggins has closed out a covered walkway in front of her house at 26458 Fonda Avenue in Madera Acres and made it a haunted hallway that people had to go through in order to get candy.

This year, Spraggins has made her house into a spider theme, decorated with 24 spiders, including a huge homemade one in the front yard, and lots of spider webs.

“This is beef netting and I saw it on Pinterest,” Spraggins said. “It worked out really well. I ordered them in September and started chopping them all up. Next year, I’ll have them off the room and going crazy with that. When Halloween is over, I spend more for the next year.”

Spraggins said she tries not to go overboard every year and gives herself a small budget.

“Over the years, I’ve gathzered a lot of things. I make stuff or buy them cheap. Every year, I go to Spirit and buy something cool. I don’t have a lot of money. I give myself a little budget and stick to it or I would get crazy. Once Halloween stuff is out in September, I start putting stuff in my basket.” Her two children — Skyla and Johnathan — help with the decorations.

“My kids get totally into it,” Coleen said. “They dress up, help set up, cut out the spider webs. My husband, who is not a holiday freak, bought a Michael Myers mask and that’s what he dresses up as every year. He walks around the yard scaring people."

She also invites the neighborhood to her haunted walkway.

“We have a bonfire and hang out,” she said. “Last year, I looked out and the whole front yard was full of people. Around here, we don’t get a lot of people walking around trick or treating. We decorate trailers and the kids go on the back and go to the houses that have candy because it’s too far to walk. I kind of hang out here and hide behind poles and scare them to death.”

Spraggins is proud of her do-it-yourself spider in the front yard made from PVC pipe.

“I made him all by myself,” she said. “I got the dimensions off Pinterest. I cut it and did it all by myself. He comes apart and we store him in the garage.”

Spraggins starts decorating the inside of her house in September so she can get ready to decorate the outside of her house on Kiley’s birthday.

“I start decorating early September,” she said. “I want to be done inside and Oct. 3, I start decorating outside for Kiley’s birthday. I want to enjoy it a month before I have to put it away.” Although Spraggins scares people, she said Halloween is supposed to be a fun holiday and will continue to have fun.

“It’s paying tribute to my daughter,” she said. “It’s about having fun, dressing up and eating candy. It’s perfect. My daughter was born Oct. 27 so she’s a Halloween baby. After 17 years of doing this, I definitely get out of hand.”

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