As long as he can remember, Zachary Moore (Class III) has created a Halloween spectacle right in his front yard—he says he’s always counted on his younger sister to trick or treat and share her candy.
One year, Zach and his dad staged a Quidditch match, suspended from trees in the front yard. “My goal is to top myself every year,” Zach says. With his Halloween maze—officially, The Maze—now in its fourth and most fabulous year, Zach takes on his biggest project yet: a 78 foot-long labyrinth.
The Maze brings together two of Zach’s hobbies: technical theater and maze design. The basic structure requires hammering eight-foot metal poles into the ground and stretching lengths of black plastic between.
Not impressed yet? Four fog machines will add to the dark-and-scary ambience, while security cameras and a full lighting rig will allow Zach and his crew to help any smaller children who become lost or anxious.
“The Maze can be as scary or as mild as anyone wants it to be. The same people who can scare teenagers can become guides for smaller children,” Zach says. “The same hallways that look dark and foreboding can become brightly lit.” Organizers hope for a lot of new visitors as well as the regulars. A trip through The Maze can take as little as 10 minutes, and treats are waiting at the other end. (Presumably, Zach’s sister’s candy collection cannot accommodate the needs of the scores of sweet-toothed children expected this year.)
More than 10 people work on The Maze, some helping with the construction and some just helping out in the final days. As more of Zach’s friends heard about the endeavor, they wanted to become involved. “It’s gathered quite a cult following,” says Zach, who began schematic drawings for this year’s maze in early August. He used Blender, an open-source software, to create a 3-D computer model; he also constructed a model using construction toys.
Constructing the life-size maze, while grueling, is fun for Zach and his friends.
“I think half the reason we do this is to look like complete idiots,” says Josh Cooper, a long-time friend. “I mean, we’re out in his front yard hammering poles into the ground and putting up black plastic. How many people do that?”
The end result is another reason, he admits. “I may hate myself for doing this every year, he says, “but then I get people who come and say they can’t wait to come back next year, and I realize that it’s all worth it.” He adds that his father is mellow about the wear-and-tear left on the lawn, too. “You can actually see the outline of The Maze, even after the poles and plastic are broken down,” Zach notes.
Several of Zach’s crew members are Milton students: Gray Davidson (Class II), Kate Davidson (Class IV), Nop Jiarathanakul (Class III) and Annie McGovern (Class III). Other crew members attend schools around the Boston area. The Maze 2005 will be Phantom of the Opera-themed, so visitors can expect black capes, white masks and maybe some swordplay.
The Maze opens at 6 p.m. and closes at 9 p.m., on October 31.