Scary good cause: Haunted maze aims to bring Christmas to kids in need

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Most people think of Halloween as a time to treat kids with candy, costumes, and a good time. Others see it as a time to give a scare and a little bit more. Two local organizations are taking a different route to giving. This year the Christmas season in Lowndes County begins at Halloween, and a Haunted Maze will lead to gifts under the tree for some children.

It’s spooky season and it’s also giving season.

Lieutenant Rhonda Sanders of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office said the event is all about giving back to those who are in need.

“We adopt 200 foster children throughout Lowndes County. And we plan to give them Christmas through the Community Benefit Committee and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department. We just partner with businesses, and business owners to make this happen. We pick local children through the school counselors, the most needy kids in the school, city, and county and we will provide Christmas for them also,” said Sanders.

She said there’s a process to transforming an idea into a production.

“The first thing we do is put great minds together,” said Jane Jordan, owner of Columbus Fairgrounds where the maze is taking shape.

She said preparing begins weeks in advance.

“Right now we’re down to two days before the event and we’re still adding little touches. We’ll walk through and say ‘Oh it needs something here it needs something here’. So, basically, that’s what we’re doing right now. It takes a good month of nothing but work and then it’ll take us about a week and a half to tear it down,” said Jordan.

Sanders said county jail trustees are able to provide for their families by helping decorate, construct, and lay the groundwork for the big weekend.

“And we put in hundreds of hours of building and come up with ideas on what we want to do for the house that year. We utilize our trustees who come in. We have a program with our trustees. The work that they do, they kind of work to pay for Christmas for their families. So, we provide Christmas for our trustees for working on the house for their children,” said Sanders.

Jordan said the maze is more than just a fun scare for Halloween. This haunted maze is an opportunity to make a child’s Christmas special.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s clean, scary fun. And expect to be scared. The hay ride this year there’s no rain in the forecast for this weekend anyway. So, we will be doing the haunted hayride and it will take you back into. We have some kids that are actually going to put the scare factor in it this year. So, it all goes into the community benefit committee. It all goes back to the kids. That’s what it’s about,” said Jordan.

Organizers are expecting thousands to attend, with a goal of $20,000 to benefit children in the community.

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