2015 was a busy year for haunts. There were so many it was hard to get to all of them. As a Halloween lover that is the best news I can report. All the haunts this year whether they were at home, at a theme park or in a business area like Motel 6 Feet Under in Anaheim raised the bar on the scare factor needed to get long longs and sold out nights. Their claim to check in – then get lost was very true. A walk through could take twenty minutes….or more, depending upon how lost you got. But not to worry, we were not alone. There were scary things all around and the Motel staff to help us. Motel 6 Feet Under lived up to the hype by delivering scares and fun for all ages. After all the craziness of Halloween was over I talked to CEO and co-founder Carolyn Carpenter to find out more about Motel 6 Feet Under and the organization BOO! (Building Occupational Opportunities) that the profits go to.
Zombie Examiner: This was Motel 6 Feet Under’s first year. How did it go?
Carolyn Carpenter: “It was actually our second year as Motel 6 Feet Under. We ran for a few days last year to test the waters. This year we took the plunge and ran all month. We had terrific support from Jim Shab and the Business Expo Center. He took the risk with us. The response was amazing. We are still so excited. Word of mouth spread and we had big crowds. We also are thrilled to be recognized by other fantastic haunts in the area. We are creating a haunt community that is really wonderful. We are humbled and thrilled by the support of the fans, sponsors and haunt professionals.”
ZE: Who are the designers and people that inspired this maze and made it happen?
CC: “This is a family run operation. My brother, his wife and grown sons, their wives/girlfriends, me and my son all come up with ideas. My brother is the Artistic Director and does the lion’s share of making it happen. We have another brother that chips in to help build it. Even our 88 year old father chimes in with suggestions. I do the marketing and fundraising. My son designs scenes. My nephew and his wife coordinate the talent. My other nephew does all of the welding. We also have dedicated volunteers and program members that work year round to build and plan.”
ZE: What is the reason for the maze and what does the money go to?
CC: “We’ve been putting a haunted house together for several years, originally as part of the Anaheim Fall Festival. Throughout the process we realized that many of the volunteers were learning job skills that were then assisting them in getting jobs. Their lives were changing because of it. So we decided to be intentional about it. We branched out on our own and started Building Occupational Opportunities (BOO!) a nonprofit to teach and assist people in getting jobs. As we grow we’d like to become an employer that hires people that might have hard time finding and keeping work.”
ZE: Are you doing Motel 6 Feet Under again next year? Anything you would change? Any new ideas?
CC: “We will definitely be back. We did an online survey and we polled every person as they came through Motel 6 Feet Under to see what people liked and how we might improve. We are taking their suggestions to heart and plan on making it longer while figuring out ways to keep the wait to a minimum. We have several new tricks up our sleeve and we’ll bring back some of the favorite scenes as well. We started planning new scenes as soon as we opened. We’re always eager to try new things. Eventually, we would like to be an actual haunted motel where people can stay all year round. This would also provide some actual long term employment for under-served people. We’re excited by the possibilities!”
Your Zombie Examiner had a great time at Motel 6 Feet Under. The waiting room was awesome, with cool vintage stuff to look at before we entered room 666. While waiting in line the group before me decided I could not go through this alone- so they made me part of their party. It was fun following behind them watching them get lost in dead end hallways, that confused us because when we went back we were in a different room, which I liked a lot! It was very easy to get turned around in the different and changing rooms. There were lots of great scary scenes and jump out scares. My favorites were the cemetery and the little girls creepy bedroom. I was startled many times by loud noises like an empty honking car, ghouls and ghosts popping out, or barrels that appeared to be ready to roll into us. The girls in my group did a lot of screaming- so I know they got their moneys worth! The masks and props from Inferno Effects were also terrific!
The organization BOO! is already working on next year and there will be lots of opportunities to help them. Donations and volunteers are always welcome. Motel 6 Feet Under was built by the volunteers that BOO! provided training to. Carpenter explained that they train adults in construction work and theatrical arts. “We’re hoping to eventually work with other organizations where you learn how to work a fork lift,” said Carpenter. If you are interested in knowing more about the haunt or the organization, BOO! here are your links. They have big plans for the future- but at a motel like this always enter at your own risk!
Motel 6 Feet Under Website
Motel 6 Feet Under on Facebook
BOO! on VolunteerMatch.org
For more info on Inferno Effects click here: