A frightening way to give

Halloween maze donations will benefit Youth Shelter of Laguna Beach.

October 24, 2013|By Beau Nicolette
  • Kristy Amber, left, and Reanne Vargas prepare for the third annual Glenneyre Cemetery and Carnevil Haunted House.
Kristy Amber, left, and Reanne Vargas prepare for the… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

Kristy Amber noticed a neighbor hawking Halloween decorations at a garage sale three years ago and cleaned him out to decorate her apartment on Glenneyre Street.

What started with a few grave markers grew into a haunted Halloween maze that wove through the complex, turning the Laguna Beach apartments into the "Glenneyre Cemetery."

Now in its third year, the haunt boasts an evil clown towering over the sidewalk that invites scare seekers to walk through its gaping mouth into the house of horrors.

The maze is a tented walk-through and features an array of decorations including a fortune teller, fog, creepy music and hidden frights. This year's "creepy carnival theme" will have plenty of terrifying clowns.

Like any carnival, concessions will be offered, but Amber warned that attendees should expect bloody popcorn, edible hands and other Halloween treats.


The haunted maze — dubbed "Carnevil" — is not just a chance for a seasonal scare but a fundraising event for the Youth Shelter of Laguna Beach. The first haunted maze raised money for one of Amber's neighbors battling breast cancer and the second helped the family of a local paraplegic.

"Every year it gets bigger," Amber said. "(We're) hoping to raise a lot more than we did last year."

Admission is free but donations will be accepted for the shelter, which, according to volunteer coordinator Nicole Yoho, has needed more fundraising due to a rise in operating costs while funding levels have stayed the same.

The shelter is operated by the nonprofit Community Service Programs and is a center for at-risk youths that offers housing, counseling and other services.

Creating a holiday event for the community and connecting it with charity came from more than Amber's love for Halloween and Laguna Beach.

"It's a little family thing that I've carried on, "Amber said. "My mom loved to do it."

Amber's mother would decorate her street in Temecula during Christmas with different storybook themes to raise money for families in need during the holidays.

After her mother's death a couple of years ago, Amber — a self-proclaimed "Halloween fanatic" — has carried on the tradition but with her own ghoulish spin.

The maze opens at 7 p.m. and will be open Oct. 25-26 and Oct. 31 at 637 Glenneyre St.

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