PITTSFIELD — Rolling eyeballs and dangling spiders; severed hands and feet; a ghoulish woman in a wooden casket and a live person hanging from a makeshift gallows.
Get ready to get scared, because beginning tonight, it’s a nightmare on North Main Street.
“We are calling it ‘a-mazing’ because it’s a maze all the way through,” Ron Steeves said inside his 6-foot-tall, half-mile-long Halloween maze at 251 North Main St., at the intersection of Madawaska Avenue.
Steeves, 48, said he started out scaring children several years ago with just a bucket of candy and a mask.
“When the kids came up, they didn’t know if I was a stuffed figurine or a real person,” he said. “When they reached in to get the candy, I’d slap the table or stand up and get a pretty big jump out of that. That’s how it all started.”
Steeves said he, his nephew Patrick Steeves, and neighbors Matthew and Shannon Dunton, along with about 20 other volunteers have put in an estimated 500 hours over the past six weeks erecting the winding maze, built entirely of salvaged lumber, wooden pallets and rolled plastic fabric.
Ron Steeves, a truck driver with Performance Food Group of Augusta, said he has been doing something scary for Halloween for the past 14 years. He said he takes this week as a vacation week every year to prepare for the big fright night.
“I’ve always liked Halloween,” he said. “Personally, I like it better than Christmas or any other holiday.”
He said he started collecting nonperishable food items for the Pittsfield Community Food Bank three years ago as part of the Halloween fun. Steeves said he created a small maze last year, and more than 800 people traversed the narrow aisles festooned with devil’s heads, skeletons and headstones.
This year, he said, he went big-time.
Steeves has filled his quarter-acre with dead-end walkways and special scary rooms — all in the glare and shadows of spotlights and flashing lights, with a sound track from horror movies that will curdle your blood, he said.
Patrick Steeves said he will greet visitors — in costume — at the maze’s gate and give each person a ticket, which can be cashed in at the end, where his parents will hand out popcorn and hot chocolate. He said it will take 15 or 20 minutes to walk the maze.
Ron Steeves said members of the Maine Central Institute’s football team and the school’s Key Club will help in costume to entertain the masses all three nights.
“We’ve got bags upon bags of costumes, and we’ll let them choose whatever they want,” Ron Steeves said.
Steeves said volunteers will be assigned a two-way radio to be in communication when young children enter the maze with their parents. If the children become frightened, he said, the theme will be toned down and the masks removed.
Admission is free, but donations of nonperishable food are encouraged. There is parking on the roadside near the house.
The maze will be open 6-11 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Wednesday, Halloween night. Steeves and his macabre friends can be found on Facebook at Nightmare on North Main Street.
Doug Harlow — 612-2367