Walking into the MOTEL 6 Feet Under maze isn’t quite what you’d expect.
Yes, it’s definitely set up for scares and certainly has a creepy haunted house vibe. And, yes, it is a maze.
But, the motel isn’t actually a motel, it’s a large suite in Anaheim’s Business Expo Center.
Plus, the maze isn’t your typical walk through and get out maze. It’s actually designed so that you may actually get trapped – if the creators are in that kind of mood.
And, the maze creators and builders aren’t just haunted house fans building a maze, they’re actually running a nonprofit that the maze is a big part of. Oh, and did we mention they’re a family of carnies?
Carolyn Carpenter, CEO and founder of MOTEL 6 Feet Under, along with her brother and children started the haunted house as a pop-up tent in 2010. It grew into what is now MOTEL 6 Feet Under last year and this year they launched BOO! – Building Occupational Opportunities – with a goal of offering training in theatrical arts and construction to underemployed adults. In other words, the maze will not only serve to scare people, but will also function as a venue for on-the-job training for the unemployed. The goal is for BOO! to eventually provide jobs.
Cool, right? But what you really want to hear is about the family of carnies isn’t it?
Here’s what Carpenter had to say about being a carnie and their MOTEL…
Why did you decide to start all this?
The founders of the MOTEL traveled the carnivals with spook houses as kids. Our parents and grandparents were in the carnival business. We originally did it for fun with our kids. Now the kids are becoming adults and have assisted us in starting a family business. (You can take the kids out of the carnival but you can’t take the carnival out of the kids!)
What kinds of scares can guests expect and what is the maze’s storyline?
The MOTEL welcomes the patrons as our guests. We provide an experience, checking small groups of guests in at a time. No cattle herding allowed. The guests can and will get lost in an actual maze that has many choices to make and surprises inside. And there is ample opportunity for the guests to scare each other. The scares derive from surprises, special effects, animatronics and phobias. We use imagination as a catalyst.
How many monsters are working in the event?
Lots. Real, live, dead and undead. Some come to us through BOO! Some are fourth-generation carnies. Some rise from the dead.
So guests can actually get lost in the maze?
Yes. Timing depends on a person’s sense of direction and willingness to take their time to enjoy the experience. There are a lot of details. Different people will notice different aspects. It takes more than one walk-through to see everything. We expect it to be at least 20 minutes for the people that race through with their eyes closed. And more for the brave!
MOTEL 6 Feet Under runs Oct. 8-Nov. 1, 7-10 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays; 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays