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Discussion Starter #1
I didnt know where to post this question, so please forgive me if I started this in the wrong area.

many years ago, my family would put together a haunted house every year for the neighborhood, one of the scariest parts was a wide hallway/room in our basement that we would turn into a "maze" the "hall" was only approx 7' wide and about 12' long, we would stagger modular walls giving the impression that you were in a maze but it was impossible to get lost, it was pitch black with random textures stapled on the walls, the idea was to have the people feel there way through, we would have myself or another neighborhood "punk" with squirt guns randomly shooting through small holes in the walls, or pounding against a wall to add to the effect.

Now, with that being said, im trying to replicate this in a less than desireous space.

I found 12 hollow core, sliding closet doors that are approx 5'x8' and I would like to setup a maze in my 3rd car garage, something that is not permament that I can take down, easily store and possibly modify every year.

My celings are over 15' high so I cant really anchor to the celings, I dont really want to drill into my concrete to anchor the walls to the ground, but I have no idea how to pull this off without building a semi permanent structure (solid walls, floors, celing, ect) to hold everything together. I want to keep it smallish (no wider than 8', the idea is to keep the interior very tight) and so I cant use both of the existing walls in my 3rd car garage

In an ideal world, I would just spend the money and build a structure, but thats not an option.

I can use 2x4's or 1x4's to tie the tops together, im just not sure how to anchor the bottom of the walls without creating a trip hazard.

Any thoughts?
 

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What if you bent pieces of metal in the angle you want then drilled screws through each side into the doors to create a stable structure.
 

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What we do for our maze is use 4x8 walls with 2x3s and 1/4in OSB.
We screw the walls into the walls of the garage as well as to each other.
We then screw the tops of the walls together using 2x4s.
This has worked for us for the past 2 years.
:).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do you find that the maze is structually unsound without anchoring to the garage floor?

I worked out a theory on how I could pull this off, but it would require $$$

Either build a false floor with osb and 2x4's as the framework and attach the walls to that, or take sheets of osb, lay them out flat, next to each other on the ground (making a 8'x12'-16' room base), mark out where I want the walls to be, screw 2x4's on edge on each side of where the wall will be, slide wall inbetween the studs and screw together.

The latter would give the base some integrity and then I could use firring strips to attach the tops of the walls together.

In either case, im going to need more material for walls, mabey I can make wood pallets work.
 

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Do you find that the maze is structually unsound without anchoring to the garage floor?
It has worked for us very well.
I also should mention that we used wood shimms (sp?) in between some walls and the floor.
It helped keep the walls tight and less wabbley.

In either case, im going to need more material for walls, mabey I can make wood pallets work.
I have seen pallets used before by many other haunts.
For this years's haunt we plan on laying out pallets in our yard for the floor of our new haunted house we are building.
We are also going to put 1/4in plywood over the the top of the pallets to prevent people from tripping over loose boards/nails.

For the most part pallets are a very good material to work with.
We used them last year for the facade of our house as siding... Pic below.
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a195/frontyardfright/2006/House/house_wide.jpg

Also made a fence out of spare planks we had laying around...
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a195/frontyardfright/2006/House/fence_close.jpg

Hope this helps!
:).
 

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Sounds like (from what I understand) you can use 3/4 conduit to fasten the tops of the doors for support. It's not that expensive and very strong and comes in 10' lenth's. Drill holes and fasten with screws, we use this stuff for our ceilings in our yard haunt.
 

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We did a maze last year on our driveway. It was made of hallow core doors hinged together mostly, some doors connected with wood. We put corner braces at key points at the top. These were two metal things bolted together then screwed on. We topped it with plywood as it was on the driveway and we wanted it pitch dark but it was sturdy before the roof. Sealed cracks with black duct tape. It was great. About 10x12 in size but people got so lost in it. It was easy to break down and store. There are picks on our website.
 

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Let me ask a practical question or two. I don't have plans to put up a haunted maze but if I do in the future: Does the fire dept have to come out and issue some sort of permit for you to do that in your yard or garage? And would home owners insurance cover anything like that if a visitor got injured since it's a temporary structure and not part of the house/permanent addition? These mazes look cool. But they also look like an accident waiting to happen since it's a temporary structure and a dark maze at that. I realize there's signs that alert visitors to no horse play, running with scissors, no smoking etc. But they're just signs. There's that chance especially on a holiday like Halloween that kids especially teens could act stupid in a maze that's not an official haunted house. Is that a legitimate worry or am I over-reacting!?!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We did a maze last year on our driveway. It was made of hallow core doors hinged together mostly, some doors connected with wood. We put corner braces at key points at the top. These were two metal things bolted together then screwed on. We topped it with plywood as it was on the driveway and we wanted it pitch dark but it was sturdy before the roof. Sealed cracks with black duct tape. It was great. About 10x12 in size but people got so lost in it. It was easy to break down and store. There are picks on our website.
Thanks for the post, this was exactly what I was aiming to do and it looks like you pulled it off quite nicely.

I feel as if I was overly concerned for nothing about the bottom of the walls not being anchored and being sturdy enough to handle people banging into them.

Are the corner brackets you used hinges? or are they solid? as long as I have a good support system for the celing, looks like ill be just fine and in keeping it lightweight and modular, I will be able to move it off premises if needed to assist in halloween parties (pre halloween of course)

Thanks again for the pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Let me ask a practical question or two. I don't have plans to put up a haunted maze but if I do in the future: Does the fire dept have to come out and issue some sort of permit for you to do that in your yard or garage? And would home owners insurance cover anything like that if a visitor got injured since it's a temporary structure and not part of the house/permanent addition? These mazes look cool. But they also look like an accident waiting to happen since it's a temporary structure and a dark maze at that. I realize there's signs that alert visitors to no horse play, running with scissors, no smoking etc. But they're just signs. There's that chance especially on a holiday like Halloween that kids especially teens could act stupid in a maze that's not an official haunted house. Is that a legitimate worry or am I over-reacting!?!
Id say whenever your talking about people hurting themselves on your property, its a legitamate concern, I know for a fact that a homeowners insurance policy would cover an accident, regardless if it was permanent or temporary, if you kids built a fort in the backyard and a neighbor hurts himself playing out there, it would be covered under your liability, same thing applies here.

With the fire dept aspect, I think it would vary from area to area, im no experct on what is a no no or not with regards to home haunts, it seems from every story I have heard on the subject, there is a different answer.

Personally, its my opinion, whether right or wrong, that a one night haunted house, as long as you take adequate safety measures (no flames or excessive extension cords :eek: ) shouldent need a permit or anything from the city, im not collecting money, its for close friends and family.

But the thought of people running scared (litterally) through an unlit maze, is a concern for me, so I will take precautions for that, it wont be large, you wont really even get lost in it and I wont have anything that might cause a trip hazard and I absolutely wont have it setup where the people going through feel like they have to run (no actors behind them or anything like that) Im hoping to have something at the END of the maze that people are expecting (strobe light room or something subtle) that will cause them to take thier time even moreso.
 

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Sickie Ickie, yes that was me! It was great meeting so many people at Ironstock.
Hellspawn I tried to post a pic of the corner brace but didn't know how so I sent you the pic. Hope it helps.
 

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4" cardboard carpet tubes are fairly strong, and free. We used them last year to frame out the walls of our haunt. I don't know if they would stop someone determined to plow through the walls, but they were plenty strong enough for us. Using wood shims is a good idea, scrap rubber sheeting used in strips under each piece of framing also helps keeping things from slipping. I have some unorganized thumbs of our walls from last year posted at http://www.johnnyspage.com/walls.htm. Just the weight of the walls kept them from moving at the bottom, and if you are interested the carboard/mache walls were nice and rigid once everything was screwed together. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My mom suggested cardboard, but I couldent figure out the logistics of it all, the carpet rolls and cardboard walls you put together look awesome, I think ill use your suggestions in tandem with my hollow core doors, im sure it will take a few years to add/cull parts untill I have a good system in place (with matching peices) but for now, I think my only option is to use whatever I can find and make it work for now, as long as it is strong enough, I would be happy if it only lasted a season, it would at least get me started.

What is your source for refrigerator boxes? im pretty confident that I could find plenty of carpet rolls if I called around, but everytime I have gone looking for large cardboard boxes, they were hard to find.
 
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I used carpet tubes and cardboard back in '99.
I was open for 2 nights then.
Just keep a repair kit handy (duct tape).
The only gray area for your insurance coverage is the donation thing.
Check with your insurance company on that.

Oh and safety, we've been using fire extinguishers since '99 as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
as long as your not a commercial entity, your homeowners coverage will cover you up to your liability limit, at least with Farmers Insurance that is, and we tend to be very conservative when it comes to liability exposures so without calling around, it would be my proffesional opinion that most other companies operate the same way.

I called a friend of mine who is a propterty adjuster (home claims) and according to him, even accepting donations would not be considered a commercial liability.

bottom line, as long as there is no off site advertising or admission charge, there would be coverage, allthough you would still be at a risk for your insurance premiums increasing due to a claim if anything happens.
 
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There's always a loop hole. It's worth making the phone call to your agent.
From the research I did a few years ago, it could make a difference where the donation took place. If was before entering, it could be taken as an admission charge, at the end no confusion about being a donation.
Best thing to do is to not ask for a donation and "garage sale" merchandise out front. You'll make more money to fund your haunt if you buy the right things to sell. Glow items work very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I guess I should be alittle more clear, ive been an insurance agent for the past 15+ years (lost track of time) been in the industry my entire working life, I have two brothers who work for different companies and my father has been an agent for the past 40 years

Theres allways a loophole regardless which side your on, if you find yourself at the point that you are questioning whether your a "proffesional" or a hobbyst, you better be safe and find out what a policy rider would cost for the days you are up and running and buy it.
 
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