Intense scares await at old-school Terror Maze

Paul Deady sets up an animatronic figure as he works on the Terror Maze Friday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Paul Deady sets up an animatronic figure as he works on the Terror Maze Friday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Not many people can say they built a haunt around the house they grew up in, but Paul Deady of Springfield is one of the few. Originally formed in 1993 by Deady’s brother, the haunt takes place in the four-acre backyard, with the front yard reserved for parking.

“The house itself throws a lot of people off because that’s not it,” Deady said.

Deady and his team travel to a Halloween convention in St. Louis every year to generate ideas and order pieces for the scenes. Sadly, due to COVID-19, that trip was canceled this year.

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“We had to order a lot of pre-made stuff,” he said. “I make my own animatronics. We alter a few scenes a year, keep what works. We didn’t even know if we were going to be open this year until mid-September.”

Deady warned that the haunt, due to its outdoor setting and rural location, was vulnerable to storms and heavy rain, so people should check their Facebook page for updates if the forecast looks bleak.

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The Terror Maze in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED

The Terror Maze in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED

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The Terror Maze in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED

The Haunt

Deady said the maze is a walk-through that includes the backyard and several semi-trailers. Forty actors and several animatronic creatures comprise the various scenes.

“The animatronics will pull right up to people,” Deady said. “It’s an old-school haunt, just with new stuff. We like zombies and clowns.”

On the weekend of Nov. 7, their last weekend of opening, Terror Maze goes lights-out.

“You have to go through in the dark,” Deady said. “One person in your party gets a glow stick and that’s how you find your way through. Of course, some of the monsters will try to take it from you.”

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Why Go?

“We’re like a B-movie with a cult following,” Deady said. “We’re not a big Hollywood-like production like the Dent Schoolhouse. We’re a little scrappier. We don’t really advertise; we just have our Facebook page. At $13, we’re the cheapest haunt in town, which leads some people to assume that it can’t be any good. Before all these other haunts came, we had 2,000 people per night and got some of the best ratings.”

Deady said the scare factor was intense, but could probably be handled by a mature 7-year-old.

“Some people bring toddlers,” he said. “We scare them all. Some people think it’s just OK, others say it’s the scariest haunt they’ve ever been to. Actors I employed 20 years ago now have their kids working for me. Old customers bring their kids and grandkids.”

Best Time to Go?

“It’s been a freak year,” Deady said. “Lines are longer everywhere. We’re getting more people from Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus. I would say it’s slower earlier and later in the evening. 8 p.m. is the prime time. But we never have three-hour waits like some places do.”

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COVID Restrictions?

The haunt is mostly outdoors, but masks are mandatory. However, as in many places, Deady is relying on the honor system.

“I’m not the mask police,” he said. “But most people do it.”

Actors will be wearing masks, and all staff will have temperature checks, with anyone showing symptoms sent home. There is a washing station and plenty of hand sanitizer. Social distancing will take place as well.

Deals or Promotions?

Patrons have the option of buying the Zombo Combo, where for $25 you get your admission ticket and a Terror Maze T-shirt, sticker, can koozie, and bracelet.

Places to Eat Nearby

Terror Maze is located near Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm and downtown Yellow Springs. The historic Clifton Mill restaurant, which offers the atmosphere and home-cooked meals of a century past, is also nearby.


What: Terror Maze

Where: 6988 Springfield Jamestown Road, Springfield

When: Through Nov. 7, 8 p.m.-midnight, Fridays-Saturdays

Cost: $13 (regular), $25 (Zombo Combo)

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