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Ghosts hang out at family plot in Old Biloxi Cemetery

Some people place colorful fall mums on graves at the Old Biloxi Cemetery, but for the family of Darryl Jiminez, it's more personal -- and ghostly.

On Sunday, Jiminez's wife, Becky Jiminez, sister Terri Radovich of Biloxi, son Jarred Jiminez and his friends decorated the family plot.

When they were finished, the plot midway between U.S. 90 and Irish Hill Road sported a wreath of dead flowers, a disembodied hand holding a "keep out" sign, ghosts saying Boo! and Spooky! and skeletons seeming to emerge of the ground. A long-legged spider is draped across one tombstone and a spooky black cat perches atop another, with a see-through ghost casting its shadow in the morning light.

The cat was Darryl's favorite. "That stays on his grave no matter what," said Radovich.

Darryl Jiminez loved Halloween, planned for it months ahead and converted his garage to a haunted house for the neighborhood each year. He died Sept. 28, 2008, and Becky Jiminez said among the family's thoughts, "we were upset about his not being able to do the haunted house."

His sister said they decided shortly after his death, "If he can't do his haunted house we will bring it out to him." That started the Halloween tradition and they've done it every year since.

On Wednesday, they put the finishing touches on this year's decorations -- a life-size ghoul with a bloody knife in his hand.

"I don't know how they did this but they cut the grass," Radovich said after seeing how city crews had carefully trimmed the plot around the ghosts, the skeletons and goblins without disturbing them.

Some people appreciate the display and will swing by Sunday and Tuesday when Biloxi Cemetery Tour brings thousands into the cemetery for the historical re-enactments. Darryl's family will be there for the tour.

Others don't like the decorations that are done as a tribute to Jiminez and his parents, George and Mary Jiminez, buried near him in the family plot.

Radovich said a woman at a local craft store asked if the decorations she was buying were for her home.

"We're decorating the cemetery," Radovich told her.

"You're doing what?" the woman said.

"This is done for my brother," who Radovich said had a heart attack and died young. "This is how we honor him every year. This is for him. Nobody else."

Becky Jiminez said the family didn't realize until they started that others don't decorate cemetery plots for Halloween.

"It's no different than putting flowers out," she said. At Thanksgiving, they'll switch to scarecrows and pumpkins and for Christmas it will be trees.

Radovich said she knows her brother would love the Halloween display. Her father helped them decorate the plot until he died a year and a half ago and she's already told her nephew she expects him to continue with the ghosts when she's buried there.

To those who question her family's tradition she says, "If you don't like it, don't look."

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