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Friday, December 8, 2023
Dec. 8, 2023

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Ridgefield family a-maze-s Halloween visitors

Their tradition of scary fun a tribute to late daughter, sister

By , Columbian Staff Writer
6 Photos
Miranda Jensen walks toward the entrance of the haunted maze she and her mother built next to their home in Ridgefield. The maze is open Oct. 26 and Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, and is free for visitors, although they will accept donations.
Miranda Jensen walks toward the entrance of the haunted maze she and her mother built next to their home in Ridgefield. The maze is open Oct. 26 and Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, and is free for visitors, although they will accept donations. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

RIDGEFIELD — For Miranda Jensen and her mother, there’s nothing more neighborly than bringing a little terror to the community.

That’s why the two have set up a haunted maze on their property at 1018 N.W. 179th St. for a second straight year. The maze is open from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight and Thursday through Nov. 2. It’s free, but donations are appreciated. Parking is available on their property, although it’s limited, so Jensen asks that people are patient when they visit.

The maze is 60-plus feet of terror around every corner, and it’s all themed to different common phobias. Costumed actors and animatronics will fill the maze, which wraps around the house and ends on the deck.

“We’ve loved Halloween forever,” said Jensen, 25. “We used to live in a part of Ridgefield where we never got any trick-or-treaters, so when we got over here, we decided to go all out.”

The seclusion allowed for some Halloween fun, though. The family had a long driveway lined with trees, which Jensen hung bodies from.

List of homes to check out this Halloween:

• Gremlins of all ages are invited to 18111 N.E. 85th Way, Vancouver, where Ren? and Steve Chadly present "Monet's Garden: Hagatha's Haunt," featuring haunting lighting and special effects that showcase Hagatha the Witch. The outdoor display will run from dusk to midnight, today through Nov. 8.

• For our friends out in east county, the home at 918 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas, is hosting a "CARNEVIL" display featuring creepy clowns, swirling lights, a 7-foot clown reaching for you and menacing eyes following you from the window. The other side of the yard has a graveyard filled with skeletons, freshly dug graves, tombstones and a giant spider web overhead with spiders hanging down. The display is on from dark to 9 p.m. nightly, and on Halloween night there will be fog, music and live actors.

• The lights go on from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday over at Cathy McGuire's house at 511 N.E. 124th Ave., Vancouver. Visitors will see the house decked out in lights, along with light-up inflatable ghosts, pumpkins and witches.

• Live and "not so live" creatures have taken over the yard at Ceci and Jim Mains' home, 4616 N.W. Franklin St., Vancouver. In the lead-up to Halloween, the house will have a life-size witch on the roof, boarded-up windows, two brewing cauldrons, skeletons climbing trees and digging up bones, a 15-foot-tall scarecrow, large spider and special effect lighting. Lights, special effect video, holograms and Halloween tunes will be on nightly from 6:30 until 9 p.m. until Halloween night. From 6 to 9 p.m. Halloween night, the Mainses will have actors in full costume out for a meet-and-greet. Visitors can take photos with Pennywise from "It," the twins from "The Shining," a Disney princess, a live scarecrow, a zombie DJ and other scary surprises. Waste Connections is sponsoring the first 1,000 trick-or-treaters, who will receive a full-sized candy bar.

• Those checking out the decorations at 673 N. V St., Washougal, won't be the only ones in the neighborhood. They'll be joined by skeletons climbing the house trying to break in, along with a graveyard filled with holographic spirits.

• The residents at 2604 N.E. 99th Ave., Vancouver, warn their decorations might be a little scary for younger kids. Their yard is filled with tombstones, skeletons and gnarly creatures covered in blood. There are even a few creatures with pumpkins for heads hanging out on the roof.

• If you find yourself near the Cedars Golf Course this Halloween season, make sure to swing by -- or avoid, if you frighten easily -- the house at 18234 N.E. Cedar Drive, Battle Ground. The first thing you'll see from the street is a large graveyard with skeletons rising from the ground and a 20-foot-high inflatable reaper. Closer to the house is a small circus tent with a few creepy clowns selling popcorn bags full of eyeballs, and a skeleton witch sitting beside her cauldron with a table full of magic potions and horrific ingredients. Lastly, there is "Four Funerals and a Wedding," a porch which features a wedding scene with a skeleton bride and groom, a skeleton minister, a table full of items gifted by famous Halloween characters and a buffet table covered with human body parts and a full-sized bug-covered wedding cake.

• Camas is known for its natural beauty, and the Maguire family plans on adding to the city's growing list of green space with their Halloween decorations this year. At 4155 N.W. Sierra Drive, Camas, this year's holiday theme is "Dead Man's Park." As the park's sign reads, "Stay Forever." You'll find a park covered in cobwebs and filled with tombstones. Skeletons are present taking their skeleton pets for a walk, and, perhaps scariest of all, they aren't holding bags to clean up afterward.

• Those with arachnophobia will want to stay far away from 11008 N.E. 98th St., Vancouver, where giant spiders have spun webs from the roof down to the lawn. The house also has a coffin and graveyard producing lots of fog.

• There's a storm coming to 2112 Lincoln Ave., Vancouver, where visitors will be welcomed to Skip and Suzie's graveyard by thunder and lightning. They'll also meet Frankenstein's monster, a mummy, ghouls and hear gory sounds.

• Over at 121 S.E. Whitney St., Camas, guests can check out zombie babies in their kennel, a spooky cemetery and a projection image.


“The mailman was scared of having to come to our house,” she said proudly.

But three years ago they moved to 179th, right by the Clark County Events Center at the Fairgrounds. They started getting some attention their first Halloween at the new house thanks to Rex, a 9-foot-tall dinosaur they bought at Home Depot. Even after Halloween passed, Rex stayed out and the family started dressing him for different holidays.

It started with putting a giant turkey leg in his hand for Thanksgiving. Now, Rex has tubs full of costumes for all sorts of holidays and other occasions. Recent visitors saw Rex dressing for the weather with a raincoat. With the end of daylight saving time coming up, Jensen said they’ll have to get Rex’s Father Time costume prepared.

Rex is now a bit of a local celebrity with his own Facebook page, www.facebook.com/rexon179th, and more than 400 followers.

Originally, it was Jensen’s younger sister, Kortnee Anderson, who took to dressing Rex.

“She loved the attention and how happy it made people,” Jensen said. “She would watch as the school bus would slow down when driving by and all the kids would look at Rex. People would stop by to take pictures with him.”

Anderson is the inspiration behind this year’s maze, which has grown in size, attractions and days it’s open. Last year, the maze brought in about 100 people on Halloween night, the only night the family opened it.

Anderson, 21, died from a seizure in March. The two sisters and their mother were close and did everything together, from traveling to trying to scare neighborhood kids on Halloween. Anderson loved decorating for the holiday, although she wasn’t big on being scared. She didn’t go through the maze last year, but loved watching how scared other people got.

“This in her memory,” Jensen said. “It’s how we’re coping with her not being here. It’s our distraction.”

Anderson’s presence isn’t far away, though. There’s a sign on the garage honoring her, and Jensen and her mother, who didn’t want her name in the paper due to the sensitive nature of her job, light up when talking about Anderson, especially her desire to work as an orthodontist’s assistant.

“She loved elephants, and wanted to go to Africa to work on elephants’ teeth,” her mother said. “She loved how family-oriented elephants are. I hope it’s because of how important family was to us when they were growing up. We would do family activities all the time, and Halloween was always a giant family activity for us.”

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Columbian Staff Writer