Halloween party amazes guests at Burgo Basketball

Oct 20, 2019

Pirates, astronauts, and superheroes ⁠— including Spider Man and The Flash ⁠— ran around the Burgo Basketball Association grounds on Saturday afternoon, where they gathered for a kid-friendly Halloween party in the blazing sunshine.

Halloween games were strewn around the basketball courts for kids to play at throwing eyeballs into buckets or tossing glow-stick circles around witches’ hats. 

A table with prizes included glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs, spider rings, skeletons and scorpions, and other toys.

But the biggest draw was the association’s annual Halloween Maze, built every year by founder Steve Burgo’s son-in-law Amir Suarez out of wooden pallets and a whole lot of scary decorations.

“This is the fifth year we’ve done it,” said Burgo. “And I enjoy it every year. Every year it gets better and better.”

The maze takes over 1,000 pallets to create, and a couple of months for Burgo and Suarez to build in their spare time. 

Prisoners from the Bristol County House of Corrections also helped out, especially after a strong Nor’easter blew through Dartmouth last week. 

“That storm picked up the top, and it wrecked almost half the maze in the back,” said Burgo.

He noted that the prisoners helped them get it all straightened out and ready in time for the opening night on Friday. “I’m very thankful to the sheriff,” he said.

Every year Suarez redesigns it. “It’s all in his head,” said Burgo. “He draws out blueprints, but it’s in his head...And it comes out incredible. I am very, very proud of him.”

Suarez showed off his handiwork. 

The maze was full of terrifying figures, including an animatronic howling werewolf and a swinging girl with a backwards torso. 

“This is creepy,” said Christine Matias, who was bringing her four-year-old twins Andrew and Nicholas through the maze. Andrew was dressed as an astronaut, and Nicholas as Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. 

She added, “It’s real scary. You wouldn’t catch me here at night, kids or no kids. Nooo.”

Dartmouth resident Nicole Gata agreed. “It was scary, even during the day,” she said.

At night, Suarez said, they turn on all the lights, sounds and props for the older teens and adults.

Illuminated with phosphorescent paint and other creepy effects, the maze is also interactive, with holes in the walls, nooks and trick doors for guests to become participants. 

A group of theater kids from Dartmouth High School also dress up to scare people.

For $10 entry, participants can go in as many times as they want. “It’s not like a one-time thing...Run around, have fun, get lost, explore all around,” Suarez said.

As for why he does it, he just shrugged.

“I love Halloween, and I wanted to do something fun,” he explained. “We want to give back to the community.”

He added that the association is raising funds to build a new building. “And also, we get to see smiles on all the kids’ faces,” he added.

“We’re very very family oriented,” agreed Burgo. “It’s about the kids. I don’t care about anything else.”