Take a sneak peek inside a haunted maze
There’s a scene of horror growing in Dartmouth, and Amir Suarez is at the center of it.
Suarez is the mastermind behind the Burgo Basketball Association's haunted Halloween maze, which is made entirely out of pallets. When it opens from October 19 to 20, Suarez anticipates it will be even scarier this year with several new additions and changes.
Before the dead-ends, scares, and tricks come to life, the maze starts out as a vision in Suarez’ mind. He’s always been fascinated with mazes, so he begins sketching out what he wants the maze to look like around January.
“I just think of how to create a maze, and how to create a lot of dead ends just to throw people off track,” Suarez said. “When it’s dark, your mind tends to play tricks on you, and especially with the pallets, it all looks the same.”
After many months of tweaks, additions, and changes, construction usually begins in the early fall, although this year Suarez started a little later.
He receives help from the Bristol County Sheriff's Office, which provides inmates to help with construction. His father-in-law, Burgo Basketball Association President Steve Burgo, and a few friends and volunteers also pitch in.
Suarez comes up with many of the scares and special effects himself. He also DJs, so he taps into his knowledge of lighting and sound to create a spooky atmosphere.
“This year, I’m going be putting more effects in,” Suarez said. “TVs, laser lights, speakers with surround sound in certain areas.”
For the first time, those taking on the maze will be routed through the woods.
“We’ve wanted to do that for the longest time,” Suarez said, noting a coworker had helped him clear out a trail to make it possible.
Once the structure is complete, it’s time to add the props. That’s where his mother-in-law, Donna Burgo, comes in. She and her daughters traverse the maze and carefully map out where they want each of the spiders, animatronic ghouls, and other Halloween props to go.
“We’re going to mark everything this year, just because it’s so big and it’s hard to get to every section,” Suarez said.
Brave enough to take on the maze? It will be open during Burgo Basketball’s Halloween Boo Bash on October 19 and 20 from 6 to 9 p.m.
For younger audiences, the “gently haunted maze” will be open during a children’s party from 2 to 4 p.m. on October 20. Children will be able to navigate the maze in daylight without scarier elements like actors present. Games, trick-or-treating, and costume prizes will also be offered.
Attendance is $10 per person, which includes unlimited entry into the maze. Visit bbabasketball.com for more information.
The Burgo Basketball Association is located at 101 Slocum Rd.