Monthly Articles

Haunted Corn Maze

 

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I’m the horror loving Dolly. I love scary movies, scary tv shows, scary collectibles, scary books, scary video games, scary art, scary fashion. As I was typing that, this is what it sounded like inside my head:

If you’ve never been to a well done haunted corn maze, you’re missing out on chills, thrills and dolla bills. Okay, not the last one, but I was on a roll. Our local haunted corn maze, located at the Australian Ranch, can only be described as fright-filled amazingness. If you’re a sensitive soul like my husband and my oldest, then you should probably stick to the still enjoyable daytime corn maze (available until mid-October) or the mildly haunted daytime maze (with free tractor rides and farmyard animal visits.)

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Whichever way you experience it, it’s a great fall activity for one or for a group. I recommend going with a group because then you have someone you know to sacrifice to The Corn Gods by pushing them behind you so you can escape the “freaks” popping out of the corn. Apparently, it’s frowned upon to grab a stranger or stranger’s small child and use them as a freak shield. Who knew? I had to start using my own children, husband, sister, nephews or anyone else in my group. You just have to be faster, smarter or more limber than one other person to survive. I feel like “surviving” a haunted corn maze with my wiley wiles has better prepared me for a zombie apocalypse.

The Cariboo Corn Maze takes place on the Australian Ranch near Quesnel, BC. The Very Haunted Night-Time Maze has evolved into a full evening of entertainment with the haunted corn maze, haunted house, bonfire, hot chocolate and a concession stand to get the kids even more sugared up. Which isn’t a good thing for a shield because sugar just makes them run faster and that forces me to out-sugar the shields in my group to survive. It’s a vicious circle.

The creepiness starts as soon as you turn off the highway. You drive down a dark, winding, steep, tree-lined hill and finally out of nowhere the maze appears, glowing with the bonfire’s flickering light. Once you’ve paid and parked, you can head for the maze or the haunted house. The maze is cut differently each year and has different creepers in it. The only constant has been that chainsaw wielding motherfucker, Leatherface.

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The maze is huge and you have to watch where you step because corn husks and stalks are slippery so your attention is divided to start with. That’s how they get you. They have the Leatherface-ish guy moving through the cornfield randomly starting his chainsaw. There have been creepy little Children of the Corn kids just standing there holding hands staring at you. The first year they were there, I thought they were lost and waiting for someone. I looked behind us and nobody was there. Then I saw their clothes and the blank looks on their face and grabbed my shield. Freaky looking people (some just normally freaky looking and some dressed like Ghostface) move silently through the maze and will just quietly move out of the corn and start walking beside and just a little behind you so that it takes a minute for you to notice them. I’ve been used as a shield once by my sister when Ghostface slipped up beside us. She noticed him first, grabbed me, pushed me behind her and ran. Let me tell you, it’s not fun being the shield so be prepared and watch who you position yourself beside.

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After the first run through of the maze, we make our way through a forest and over an old leaf-covered wooden bridge to the decrepit and uninhabited farmhouse that they’ve turned into the haunted house. This three story house is different each year and I’m pretty sure it takes a full year of planning and decorating to get it set up. Yes, there’s creepers that jump out at you inside and outside so don’t forget your shields.

There are chairs set up around the bonfire to warm up or just sit and visit. Hot chocolate and a concession with food and other beverages is also set up.

Admission 2017:

The Non-Haunted Corn Maze (Admission $2 for ages 2 and older.) “Lenore invites you to wander the farmyard to visit the pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, mini ponies and llamas.  You may also catch a glimpse of two feral goats and a few belties (cattle that look like oreo cookies!).  You are also welcome to snack on the apples–they are organic.” Available from about mid-August until mid-October – Dawn until dusk

The Mildly Haunted Day-time Corn Maze and Haunted House Event (Admission $5.00):  
“The daytime events are pretty tame in comparison to the night-time event.  You may encounter a couple friendly ghosts and goblins around the Haunted House and in the Corn Maze.  Admission includes: tractor rides, access to the haunted house, access to the corn maze, and farmyard animal visits.  There will also be a concession available.”
Sunday, October 1 (11am – 3pm)
Sunday, October 8 (11am – 3pm)
 

The Very Haunted Night-time Corn Maze and Haunted House Event (Admission $7.00):
“The nighttime events can be pretty intense.  It is not for the faint of heart.    Your admission includes access to the Haunted House and the Corn Maze.  Depending on Mother Nature we may or may not be allowed to have bonfires.  There will be  wonderful concession available as well.”

Friday, September 29      (7pm – 9:30pm)
Saturday, September 30 (7pm – 9:30pm)
Friday, October 6             (7pm – 9:30pm)
Saturday, October 7        (7pm – 9:30pm)
Sunday, October 8          (7pm – 9:30pm)

“Very important message:  The “No Drop-off Rule” still applies!  This is a family event first and foremost!  Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.  Unsupervised kids will be turned away at the gate.  We are not running a daycare or hosting a bush party!  Groups of unsupervised pre-teen and teenagers have lead to some unmanageable situations for the hosts, the visitors and the scarers in past years.  Absolutely no exceptions!  Thanks for helping us keep this a family friendly event.” 

~C. Dolly~

 

 

 

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Top 10

Top 10 Fall Activities

 

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  1. Haunted Corn Maze – My most prized fall activity is the local haunted corn maze. So prized that it gets it’s very own article! Look for one near you for both daytime and evening haunted corn maze activities. Pro tip: make sure you take along a human shield for maximum survivability.
  2. Hiking – Fall is the most beautiful time to hike or even meander through the woods. Take a camera and you’ll end up with the most amazingly colorful pictures. If you’re accident prone, like I am, beware of the slimy composting leaves underneath the newly fallen ones. I’ve wound up on my ass, staring at the sky and covered with slime on more than one occasion…from the leaves!…not from doing dirty stuff in the woods with my husband!
  3. Coffee Date With Nature – Choose your poison: “Special” coffee, regular coffee or tea and take some time each day to sit outside and relax. Take a sip. Let the warmth flow through you. Watch the sunlight filter through the multicolored leaves and think about what fall will look like during the zombie apocalypse…or, you know, normal shit.
  4. Preserving – Canning or freezing fruits and vegetables will be a timesaver throughout the year. The local corn I pick freezes so well that it’s like I’m eating it fresh off the cob every time we cook it. My mom used to can shelves of food. I prefer freezing if at all possible, except for peaches. Canned peaches are my family’s favorite fruit and I have to ration them throughout the year so my husband doesn’t take a whole jar to work for his snack.
  5. Pumpkins – I will spend an hour picking out the perfect carving pumpkin. Pumpkin patches are fun for the whole family and I’ve always let the girls pick their own pumpkins, even if they were the most hideous looking pumpkins in the patch. My pumpkin has to be perfect for whatever design I’ve picked out. Last year, my girls invited their friends to carve with us at the last minute. Since I was short on time, I went to Safeway and the wonderful people in the produce department let me pick through two gigantic shipping boxes of pumpkins in the cooler. I tried really hard not to fall into the massive boxes by dangling my legs over the edge, but there were a few sketchy moments. I left the grocery store with a shopping cart overflowing with pumpkins and received more than a few questioning looks. It was so much fun and I hope we can do it again this year. I also always find a way to carve a little penis somewhere in the design. Don’t forget to grab pumpkins for pies and homemade pumpkin seeds to snack on.
  6. Antiquing – Sometimes you find the most amazing treasures while wandering through antique or thrift stores. It could be an old dish or piece of furniture that reminds you of something special or would be a great restoration project. I don’t hoard, but I do have a few things that I’ve picked up while scouting around. There’s a shop in the city next to us that I check whenever I’m there. They have some cool, weird and creepy items that are overpriced so I just stop in whenever I’m there and see if they’ve gotten tired of looking at it and will let it go for less.
  7. Roller Derby – Every city has a different derby schedule. Our city starts up in the fall and I had the opportunity to watch my first match 2 years ago. Luckily, they handed out a paper at the door with derby rules and terminology on it. The bruises those poor girls walked away with. I feel sorry for their significant other. I bet they end up with a lot of spit in their food when they go out to eat with their bruised derby girl.
  8. Fall Fair – Who doesn’t want to watch wiener dog races and a wiener dog costume parade? Pig racing? Duck racing? It’s an event for the whole family. Kids can: win prizes for their costumed farm animals, enter LEGO building competitions, make crafts, learn to container garden, watch the horse and donkey shows. For the adults you can watch all the kids competitions and events, join a free preserving workshop, enter a scarecrow making competition, listen to local musicians, watch barrel racing and so much more.
  9. Corn Picking – Check your local area for U-Pick cornfields. Take your family and wander the cornfields picking a whack of corn to take home for fresh eating and preserving. I get a few dozen huge, juicy cobs of corn to blanch and freeze. It lasts my family for the year. If you cut the corn off the cob after blanching it, like I do, make sure to lay the kernels out on a cookie sheet, freeze them and then put them into your freezer bags. You don’t want to end up using an ice pick to chip corn for dinner.
  10. Winery Tours – Aside from our yearly wine tour weekend, my husband and I visited a few wineries while we were in Penticton this weekend. There are less people wandering throughout the wine shops and tasting area. It’s just a totally different vibe in the fall. Things are winding down, the environment is more laid back and less crowded.

~C. Dolly~