Boy builds one a-maze-ing La Cañada haunt

Halloween fanatics who crave more than a trick or a treat could get a real scare this year in La Cañada Flintridge, thanks to 12-year-old Jeremy Herron.

For the second straight year, Jeremy has set up an elaborate maze at his Hampton Road home.

After a successful trial run last weekend, the emerging scare-master said that he hoped to see as many as 500 visitors to his haunted maze on All Hallow's Eve. In the maze, intrepid visitors wind two at a time through a gauntlet of strobe-lit, fog-filled corridors, complete with costumed crew and shocking set pieces.

Jeremy drew his inspiration after running away from his first encounter with a haunted house.

“When I was 7 I went to a haunted house, and I chickened out and left after the first guy,” he said. “I vowed from that day that I would never be scared by a haunted house.”

Jeremy's mother, Yvonne Herron, said her youngest son has been a Halloween obsessive for years, but was inspired to make his own haunt after the owner of his favorite spooky set-up moved away.

Herron said that with help of her father-in-law, a retired electrician, Jeremy constructed his own maze, more than 100 feet long, out of wooden stakes and black plastic sheeting. Though the maze is technically impressive, she said, watching her son manage his crew is yet more so.

“He magically manages his peers,” she said. “He even gives them a five-minute union break, a water break.”

Jeremy's passion for crafting his maze has drawn some rave reviews from the pros, Herron said. She said noted theme park designer Eddie Newquist “came by last year and brought him a gift basket and said, ‘Welcome to the business.'”

This year the maze received an infusion of new props and costumes from neighbor Terry Gordon, a Hollywood costume designer and stylist.

“Last year I noticed this kind of garbage-bag maze being built, and this year it was full-tilt boogie,” Gordon said. “I've always been a holiday knucklehead, and I wanted to clean out my basement. I thought he could be the perfect recipient of all the stuff I was trying to move.”

Gordon said that she was happy to pass along tips and techniques, as well as a catalog of professional costume supply houses. She said she knew during Saturday's initial run that her props were being put to good use.

“They put on quite a show. You saw smoke coming up through an oak tree, heard the chainsaw noise and kids screaming … it was like Spielberg movie,” she said.

The maze mastermind said he plans to keep the maze running for another five years or so, and that he can't wait to add new tricks.

“Next year, I guarantee it will be 10 times scarier,” Jeremy said. “I've scared fullsize men, so I can scare anybody.”


Jeremy Herron's haunted maze

Where: 4920 Hampton Road.

When: Oct. 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Admission: Donation only.



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