VASSALBORO — Don Breton has always loved Halloween for its frights and decorations. When his children were young in the mid-1990s, he would decorate the entirety of the family’s 175-foot long driveway on Cemetery Street.

“It was just fun,” he said.

Dressed in all black as the Grim Reaper, Breton would wait at the end of the driveway for trick-or-treaters as they returned to the safety of their parents’ cars.

“I remember one year, these two little boys screamed and dropped their candy and screamed all the way back to the car,” he said, adding that he felt bad but their mother stepped out of car laughing.

Over the past five years, Breton, 55, has been able to reignite his passion of building and devising thrills in the annual Halloween celebration at the Olde Mill in north Vassalboro, which has been owned by his brother, Ray Breton, since 2010.

When a local organization held a Trunk or Treat at the mill after Ray first bought it, Don got the idea to plan a larger event for the following event.


The tradition will continue Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event, which is sponsored by Vassalboro Business Association, is free for everyone, though they do collect donations.

Don’s wife, Lisa, said she never thought that decorating the driveway would turn into a town-wide event.

“I loved seeing how much he enjoyed it,” she said.

For Don, who said he’s “always gone big into decorating,” the mill is the perfect place to devise a haunted house because it’s under cover from the rain.

The theme this year is a mad scientist who is driving home through the countryside, then going into his house and barn, Don said. The house features corn stalks, fake body parts and plenty of scares.

For children who don’t want to face the haunted house, there is a separate trick-or-treating section.


Don said he spends upwards of $300 each year buying new decorations and material to make pieces. During the day, he’s a design engineer at Huhtamaki, but for Halloween he designs fences, circus mirrors and ticket booths to fill the maze, and often just has to look at an image on Google to figure out how to do it. Don also grew up building things with his family — Ray, Don, and their brother Paul all helped each other build their homes.

Don spends about two months planning the maze, and he sketches parts of it out to scale it beforehand.

“Then about a month before, I start not sleeping at all,” he said.

The volunteers do a few dry runs before the big night to make sure everything works, and on Halloween more than 1,000 people usually go to the mill.

“I’m like, ‘Wow’,” Don said. His favorite part is seeing people’s reactions. He recalled one time when he jumped up and scared a woman, and she grabbed him by the throat.

“I’m gonna keep doing it as long as Ray owns the building,” he said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

Twitter: @madelinestamour

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: