Amarillo resident offers free ‘haunted maze’ experience for Halloween lovers

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:32 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - If you’re looking for a way to spend Halloween weekend, one Amarillo resident has you covered.

For the past seven years, James Merrill has been creating a front yard Halloween display, with each year getting bigger and bigger.

This year, he is taking it out to his backyard with a haunted maze filled with props, animatronics and even real-life actors , which is something new being added this year.

The maze will feature eight different scenes such as a creepy kids scene and a graveyard.

James Merrill says back in 2007 when he stated working at Boy’s Ranch he really developed a passion for Halloween when they held a Halloween dance and build different props.

Then when his daughter was in seventh grade, she wanted to have a Halloween party and that was the beginning of his Halloween displays.

“She had a Halloween party, so we cleared out all the furniture in the living room, made a dance floor, we did decorations all inside and I even did a little graveyard right out in front and every year its just built and built until here we are today,” said James.

He works year-round planning and hand-making different props.

His daughter, Mikah Merrill says her father is so passionate about this and wants him to have a great turnout this year.

“When I was younger, when he first started, I thought he was kind of crazy at first and well he’s completely blown that expectation, he’s gone crazy, but just seeing what he’s doing it’s made me so proud just to see what he does and just do what he loves,” said Mikah.

James says he wants the community to feel the same Halloween spirit he felt as a kid.

“I started going to I’ve noticed here there’s not many trick or treaters that come around anymore, so I really wanted to do something that would try to bring in more and more kids to come around and to have a good time and each year we’ve had more and more kids come by with their families and they would scream and they’re having such a good time,” said James.

The Nightmare on Goodnight Trail will take place Halloween weekend on October 30 and 31 from 7:15 p.m. to around 10:30 p.m. at 8202 Goodnight Trail in Amarillo.

The haunted maze is free and open to all ages.

James says parents will be able to go through the maze first to see if it is appropriate for their child and they will also be offering glow sticks for children to wear to alert the actors to tone down the scariness.

Although, this event is completely free, James is asking for donations this year as it gets pretty expensive to continue to grow and improve each year.

You can donate through GoFundMe or Venmo.

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