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In Long Beach, a Halloween maze with a 'green' twist

November 1, 2011 |  6:42 am

You don't have to be wasteful to be spine-tingling.

That’s the message of a haunted maze in Long Beach where the corn stalks were fashioned from reused packing materials, the walls were made from salvaged shipping pallets and discarded tarps and the spooky stilt man's crutches were once destined for the dumpster.

Perhaps the creepiest item at the DIY Haunted Maze was a decrepit old dentist's chair that someone had thrown out. For Halloween, it was the focal point of a room where a sadistic dentist tried to elicit blood-curdling screams from visitors.

The neighborhood attraction in Long Beach put a "green" spin on Halloween by using 90% recycled materials. The organizers, a group of college students, also designed the free attraction to be an outlet for those tight for cash in the down economy.

Though foraging for materials was partly a pragmatic exercise for the cash-strapped students, it was also designed to make a point about how much of what goes to waste can be reused.

"If you see something on the side of the road and want to be creative, pick it up and do something with it," said Katie Transue, 26, a biology student at Long Beach City College. "You can turn trash into anything, honestly. You clean it up and you can turn it into an experience like a massive haunted house if you want."

She and about half a dozen other students scoured street corners and dumpsters over the last few months to round up enough materials to put together the 2,500-square-foot maze, which twisted its way through the yard of one of the student's parents. It had 10 themed rooms -- a graveyard, a spooky barn and an abattoir among them -- and was manned by 12 characters in costume: scarecrows, clowns, zombies and a gas mask-wearing "Biohazard Man."

"If you're afraid of something, it's in our haunted house," Transue said.


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-- Tony Barboza