Haunted maze benefits area seniors

Michelle Wulfson | The ItemHaunted maze organizers Shelley Sumner and Nancy Smith are getting ready to put the scare in Huntsville for a good cause this Halloween weekend. Proceeds from the haunted maze, located at A-1 Smith’s Septic Service off of FM 3478, will benefit the Walker County Senior Center for the third year in a row.

HUNTSVILLE — Get spooked for a cause with A-1 Smith’s Septic Services, as they trade their Trail of Terror for a haunted maze this Halloween weekend that will benefit the Walker County Senior Center.

At just $5 per person, last year’s second annual haunted trail event saw around 400 people come through the trail each night and raised a groundbreaking $4,000 that was donated to the Walker County Senior Center, in addition to 10% of the business’ October septic income.

The donation was a massive jump from the $900 raised the year before, and both haunted maze organizers, Nancy Smith and Shelley Sumner, are hoping to continue to raise the bar for their third year, with a goal of raising $5,500 for the senior center.

“People think it kind of looks small when they look at it from the outside, but when you get inside of it, it seems huge,” Smith said, admitting that even she and Sumner, the creators of the maze, gets lost inside from time to time.

Walking up to the wood-slatted shack at the edge of FM 3478 on the A-1 Smith’s Septic Service property, it’s already an eery sight, even though the decoration process is still in the works. Ghouls and a small graveyard inhabit the surrounding area, while a giant clown hovers over the entrance to welcome only the brave inside to experience the horrors that lurk within.

Prepare for the typical fare of witches, dismembered bodies, creepy doll antics and now, the coronavirus, or rather, a COVID-19 lab rendering.

“About two months ago, I started watching a scary movie every night and it’s been inspiring,” Sumner said, as she moves through the maze’s insane asylum.

Several exits have been placed throughout the maze for those who may become overwhelmed at any point. However, it’s not often that anyone needs to make a quick escape. Smith and Sumner, as well as their families and friends, will be bringing the haunted maze to life and will base their performances on their audience’s age, making it an enjoyable time for anyone that wanders through.

“One of the biggest things about doing this every year for me is it brings my family together, the kids love doing it and even if they’re in a different room of the maze or a different outfit somewhere away from me, they get excited about it,” Sumner said, adding that it’s been especially fun building the set and creating the decorations with both of her sons.

While the haunted maze is an endeavor put on by family and friends, volunteers are always needed in any and all capacities, from costume designers, makeup artists and actors, to duties as simple as manning the admissions booth or parking cars. Volunteers do not have to commit to participating every night and can reach out to Smith at (936)524-3255 or (936)264-7016 to arrange services.

A-1 Smith’s Septic Services’ haunted maze will take place Friday, Oct. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 31 from 7 to 10 p.m. at 313 FM 3478 near Riverside. Admission is $5 per person and is open to all ages. However, those who suffer from migraine headaches or epilepsy are not recommended to partake in the maze, as there will be strobe lighting throughout.

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