AYER -- This year, Warren Maxwell wants to go medieval on you.

The Ayer resident runs what he calls the Third Degree of Terror, a mini-haunted house he houses each year in his garage just for the love of scaring the heck out of people.

"For me, Halloween is all about giving the kids great childhood memories," said Maxwell. "Halloween allows your creativity and imagination free rein, whether you're making a costume or building a spooky display like mine. Hopefully I'll inspire the kids who visit here to create something similar for their community when they grow up."

With a makeover and a new "Cathedral of Chaos" theme, Maxwell is getting ready to welcome visitors for the Third Degree of Terror's eighth Halloween season.

Packed into an 800-square-foot detached garage, the "cathedral" features multiple rooms and twisting corridors built with frightening realism and details worthy of a movie set. Actors dressed as priests, nuns, and monks will invite visitors to confess their wrongdoings to escape this sinister sanctuary.

Are you ready to walk these harrowing halls? Visitors can seek redemption (or escape) on Oct. 28 and 29 and Oct. 31, 6 to 9 p.m. There is no charge for the experience.

Maxwell leverages his experience with the commercial haunted attraction Ghoulie Manor to bring a memorable Halloween experience to his neighborhood.

"We tailor the experience based on age and fear factor," he said. "For young children, we tone down the scariness.


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For adults, we mix humor and startle scares together. We use a code word system to tell our actors how scary they should be. We want our visitors' hearts beating faster when they leave, but we also want them smiling and laughing."

For a preview of the Cathedral of Chaos at the Third Degree of Terror, visit its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/3rdDegreeTerror.