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.
“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.”