Burgo Halloween party brings scary fun to the basketball courts

Oct 21, 2017

Amir Suarez had a problem on the first night of the Burgo Basketball Association’s Halloween festivities: he made his haunted maze too spooky, and too elaborate.

Stationed at the large pop-up maze, which stretched the length of two tennis courts at the association’s Slocum Road facility, Suarez watched as dozens of kids and teenagers ran for their lives on October 21. Oftentimes, they were unable to find the exit, and came running out of the entrance.

That’s because Suarez concealed the maze’s main exit – a hidden door – a little too well. Concluding that was too complicated, he added a second, more traditional exit.

Suarez built the entire maze, complete with dead ends, multiple route choices, and plenty of scares, out of more than 600 wooden pallets. He used tarp and creative lighting solutions to maintain darkness in some spots, and carefully lit others. He lined the maze with motion-activated props, from screaming witches to towering werewolves, and relies on Dartmouth and Westport High students to fill in as masked and dressed-up scarers.

“The darkness really gives you a nice scare, but then we have props and other scars too,” Suarez said. “I made it a more larger area and darker, to play mind tricks.”

It’s the largest maze in Burgo Basketball’s four-year Halloween history, and includes new twists like a revolving door and 3D monster illusions created with blacklights and 3D glasses.

On October 21, the maze opened during the day for younger kids. Matthew Faria, 9, took on the maze during the day.

“It wasn’t that scary for me but some of it was scary for the younger kids,” Faria said, and ended with an emphatic “NO” when asked if he’d brave the maze at night and in darkness.

Open on October 20 and 21, the maze is the highlight of Burgo’s annual Halloween fundraising event, run mainly for the benefit of local kids, explained BBA President Steve Burgo.

It’s also a fundraising event to support Burgo’s planned indoor basketball complex. The association is still trying to narrow down a final location for the project to house Burgo’s ever-expanding programming, which last year included 114 basketball teams, 1,500 athletes, and new sports like 3x3 basketball.

The project has faced setbacks, as deals on land Burgo eyed on Faunce Corner Road and the Hawthorn Country Club fell through, but Burgo said he’s looking at another property right now that could house the $4 million project.

“No matter what happens I’ll never give up on this; it’s all about the kids,” Burgo said.