Now in its fourth season, TGF Halloween Maze is an enjoyable throwback to the sort of local haunts that used to pop up around Los Angeles in October. Located inside Training Ground Fitness, it most resembles Revenge of the Ninja, a now defunct maze that also took up residence within an existing business during the final days of the Halloween season, transforming a space devoted to physical prowess into a hall of horrors.
The difference is that, whereas Revenge of the Ninja was situated inside a martial arts academy with a built-in theme exploiting the skills of its members, TGF Halloween Maze opts for a more generic – though still fun – killer clown concept. It may not be innovative, but in the manner of a cool garage band, it delivers a thrilling show for its local audience.
TGF Halloween Maze Review: Walkthrough
The five-minute walkthrough is constructed mostly of tarp walls which carve the spacious gym into a series of corridors, twists, and turns. It begins with a long, straight, unadorned stretch featuring a layer of fog bathed in ghastly red light, where the actors spring unexpectedly out of nowhere (thanks to hidden slits in the tarp).
Later, the tarp walls spread out to allow enough space for a few decorations (signs, balloons, large spider webs), bringing out the creepy carnival colors with black light. Here, the clowns have a bit more room to interact briefly with their victims, appearing at a distance, blocking their paths, and/or pursuing them as they flee to the next space and whatever may be lurking there. In a nice touch during our trek through the maze, one clown made his appearance by dangling off what must have been a large piece of exercise equipment; in the shadowy lighting, he seemed to be suspended in midair before dropping to the floor.
TGF Halloween Maze Review: Conclusion
We have used this analogy before, but the TGF Halloween Maze is the haunted house equivalent of a low-budget indie horror pic, which relies on effort and enthusiasm to compensate for limited resources. Though it lacks the polish of major Halloween attractions, it makes a point of sending visitors through in small groups, well spaced out, so that everyone receives the benefit of up close and personal attention from the actors inside, who provide a variety of scares – some sneaky, some creepy, some startling.
In its present form, TGF Halloween Maze provides good value for your dollar, thanks to a reasonable ticket price and the diligent work of its actors, making it a worthwhile destination for local audiences seeking scares during the final week of Halloween. Hopefully, it will continue to grow over the next few years, adding more production value and perhaps developing its own distinctive theme. Though a fitness center is not an obvious location for a haunted house, there must be some way to integrate the business into the haunt’s back story; the result would be unique if nothing else.
TGF Halloween Maze
1 – Avoid
2 – Not All Bad
3 – Recommended
4 – Highly Recommended
5 – Must See
Big effort overcomes small budget to create an enjoyable popup Halloween haunt.
The TGF Halloween Maze is located inside Training Ground Fitness at 123 S. Citrus Avenue in Covina. It will return for Halloween 2024. Check out their Facebook page for updates.