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The Fierst Family’s ‘Twist’ on Halloween

Interstate Haunted House Maze in Springfield helps ECHO.

Blake and Brooke Fierst scaring away hunger.

Blake and Brooke Fierst scaring away hunger. Photo by Russ Ugone/The Connection

As you twist and turn your way through the Interstate Haunted House Maze, you never know what scary creature will be lurking around the next corner. It’s dark and misty, the tall walls giving you a feeling of being hemmed in, with no easy escape route other

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Eric, Loan, Blake and Brook Fierst with volunteer Christina Truong.

than to finish the maze. The strange noises add to your cautious approach around the next corner, uncertain of what will pop up next. The spooky trail seems to go on with no sign of an exit, and meanwhile your heart pounds not knowing what to expect … ghosts, goblins, skeletons, zombies or maybe a hand on your shoulder.

“The Haunted Maze began in 2001 in our driveway and has grown ever since.”

—Eric Fierst

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Where's Blake Fierst?

Those who visit the Haunted Maze, either as little ghosts and goblins or older participants, provide the “treats” through donations of canned goods while the Family Fierst and volunteers provide the “tricks” by staging the eerie sound and visual effects of Halloween creatures. This two day evening event on Oct. 24 (200 people participated), and Oct. 25, 2013 (630 people participated), collected canned goods that were later donated to the Ecumenical Community Helping Others, Inc. (ECHO). ECHO’s purpose is to help people in the community who are in need, who suffer the effects of long-term poverty, and who are experiencing an emergency need. To learn more about ECHO, visit echoadmin@verizon.net. Friest summed it up when he said, “I wanted a way to give back to the community by making a fun event for kids while also having them learn about giving.”

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Loan Fierst tending the cemetery

Eric Fierst, as director of Van Line Operations for Interstate, manages and organizes big operations. He’s applied those skills to serving the community through one of his passions—Halloween festivities. His wife, Loan; 7-year old son, Blake; and 4-year old daughter, Brooke, are also avid “Halloweenists” and organizers of the Haunted Maze. Fierst reminisced that Halloween funfests started with his dad, who had a large collection of Halloween items, where later Friest began adding to the collection. Fierst said, “The Haunted Maze began in 2001 in our driveway and has grown ever since.” This year’s winning Haunted Maze design was by Tony Chou from West Springfield High School.

The Interstate Haunted House Maze is supported by the Fierst Family; Buddy Morrissette Interstate Van Line; and about 30 volunteers from West Springfield High School, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Washington Irving Middle School and Interstate. This year, the maze was located at 8601 Morrissette Drive in Springfield, inside one of Interstate’s warehouses. Next year Fierst hopes to have the Haunted Maze open for two weekends. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for Morrissette’s Haunted House Maze for details on next year’s plans.