On Halloween and corn mazes

Cool Patch Pumpkins Corn Maze

Halloween may have snuck up on me this year, but that doesn’t mean I missed out on the corn mazes.

Everywhere you look people are decorating their yards and windows with Jack-o’-Lanterns, witches, brooms and ghosts.

Meanwhile I feel like I blinked in August and suddenly it was mid-October. So what’s the best way to get into the Halloween spirit quickly?

Corn mazes and fun times

You could visit a pumpkin patch and carve your own (instructions there) or if you’re lucky enough to be in San Francisco there’s always the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival (on this weekend).

But I’ve been there and done that already. It was time for me to do something I’d been dreaming of for years – get lost in as many corn mazes as possible.

CORN MAZES

You’re probably wondering “where am I going to find one of those?”. If you’re in the bay area (or even in the east bay) the answer is simple: everywhere.

I drove all the way out to Dixon to try my luck at the Guinness World Record holding Cool Patch Pumpkins maze. But there are plenty much closer to home.

Scroll to the end to see a list and links to some of them.

PLAN YOUR ROUTE

I am so organisationally challenged that it didn’t even cross my mind that I’d get a map or that I’d be able to plan a route through the corn maze before I stepped in.

Corn maze map

I should have known better though, because the Dixon Cool Patch Pumpkins corn maze is famous for one thing: being a Guinness World Record holder.

Brothers Matt and Mark Cooley first won the record for the world’s largest corn maze in 2007, then expanded it to 63 acres in 2014 to take the title for a second time.

So of course you need a map to navigate through it.

It took me a good 20 minutes of sitting on the comfy couches provided, to map my route. With a few restarts for dead ends and the like.

THE SERENITY OF CORN MAZES

If you’re early the crowds aren’t too bad and you step over the bridge and into the corn maze to total silence.

Nothing but the wind swaying the corn above your head and miles of corn-tunnels ahead of you.

Corn mazes Dixon

That serenity can be a good and a not-so-great thing, especially if you’re afraid of being lost. Take a group if you need the reassurance of having others with you to make decisions and feel secure.

CORN MAZES ARE DISCOMBOBULATING

Despite my carefully laid plans and a pen line to follow through the maze, it’s easy to get a bit dazed and confused.

Especially if you’re spatially challenged like I am. I found the rings (kinda like Olympic rings) really difficult to navigate. It’s hard to see where you should leave one and get into the next.

I spent a fair bit of my first hour thoroughly lost and wandering aimlessly. It was fun.

THE BRIDGES

The Cool Patch Pumpkins maze has viewing bridges at intervals throughout the maze.

So you can look back at the start line, where you’ve been, see some of the patterns made in the corn and cheer on others as they make their way through.

It’s also a lovely view from up there and a great place for a little snack.

COORDINATES

Don’t be too worried, the guys who built the maze also include some handy coordinate sticks in the ground to help you find where you are on the map.

Corn maze coordinates

So you’re never going to be totally lost (see above). There’s no need to panic (or call 911 – apparently it happens), just find your coordinates on the map and keep on trekking!

FAMILY FUN

When some people heard I was excited about running through this corn maze, they thought I was strange or at least starved for entertainment.

It’s so much fun though! It’s a test of your skills and would be a great way for kids to hone their problem solving skills. Just remember to take lots of water and a few snacks with you and you’re golden!

WHERE TO FIND CORN MAZES

North Bay

East Bay

Peninsula

South

Halloween San Francisco | Halloween fun | Corn mazes | Cool Patch Pumpkins | Halloween | first Halloween | Halloween for expats | Aussie | Expat | Aussie Expat in US | expat life

44 thoughts on “On Halloween and corn mazes

    1. Haha, I’d never even heard of them before I moved here Stephanie. I think you’ll have to put it on your “to do” list.

  1. That is so fun! I went to a haunted corn maze last year which takes place at night in the dark with things that pop out at you. I was the BIGGEST baby ever and vow to never go back. Haha!

    1. Woah, that’s probably a little too far over my scare limit! I don’t think I could handle the idea of getting lost in a corn field at night.

  2. The only corn maze I’ve been to was haunted – we visited at night and “monsters” jumped out at us as we made our way through. This sounds much less stressful!

    1. Noo! That sounds like something that would make me pee my pants or something. Hahaha, I’m such a fraidy cat! Right now I’ve barricaded myself in the bedroom while my boyfriend watches scary movies in the living room.

  3. Fun post! I love corn mazes but am so tall I haven’t found one yet that I can’t see over…so I haven’t experienced that serenity that you write about 🙂

    1. Well Nina, you’d love the corn maze in Dixon. There’s NO WAY you’d be able to see over the top of these plants. They’re over 7ft by my estimation.

  4. I have no sense of direction – I actually got lost in the underground car park of my building (I wish I was joking but I’m not) so I would have to have a maze chaperone/navigator if I was to ever find my way out! If only I could have extended my SF trip a little longer, I could have done all the Halloween things too! My FOMO is real!

    1. Don’t even… I never remember where the car is parked in a parking structure. I’m like a Bedouin wandering around trying to spot something familiar. Hahaha, next time you’ll have to visit for Halloween!

  5. Wow! That corn maze is huge! Crazy huge! I always get a little nervous of getting lost forever in the really big corn mazes. Thank goodness this one has coordinate markers and the occasional viewing bridge. I bet that helps a lot!

    1. I had that fear a little but then figured that so many other people got out alive, so I should be fine. I didn’t know about the coordinates going in, but I was so happy to have them. I used them to get my bearings so many times!

  6. Kat the corn mazes look beautiful – pure Americana. Sadly all I can think about is that awful Children of the Corn movie. I am such a scaredy at my friends made me watch it when I was a teenager and it traumatised me!! My kids would love the maze though. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. I’m so lucky to have never seen Children of the Corn! We used to watch lame b-grade horror during teenage sleepovers. The only ones I remember are Pumpkinhead and probably The Exorcist (which totally contradicts my b-grade statement). Anyway, I was blissfully untraumatised by the idea of children running out of the corn.

  7. Aw, we love corn mazes too, although it seems our seasons are a little different here – we always pull one in in the Summer holidays with the kids. (UK) Your weather must be much nicer than ours! And I agree about September too – it does that to me every year, I reckon its cos the kids go back to school and I get so busy catching up with jobs that the time just flies! #flyawayfriday

    1. I feel like this year has absolutely flown. And Christmas was just a few months ago? Ugh. I need to be more organised I think.
      I’d love to do a corn maze in the UK! It’s now on my list of things to do 😉

  8. I finally did my FIRST Corn Maze last year on a farm and it used to have a record probably 8 years ago for largest corn maze haha. They had Charlie Brown theme last year. How many stamp stops were there for this? We got turned around so many times we could text for hints but signal was not great either. So much fun nonetheless what was your time for completing?
    #FlyAwayFriday

    1. Ooh your maze sounds like so much fun! We didn’t have stamp stops, but I guess the bridges kind of doubled as those, so maybe five or six? I wish I could have texted for hints as well. Did you get a map to follow?

  9. I loved to read your vivid description of your corn maze adventure. I’ve been to small mazes but never to big ones where you actually need a map. Wouldn’t call you crazy as this is something I’d also enjoy.

  10. I love corn mazes. I look forward to doing at least one every fall. In fact, we’re going to visit one tomorrow when we go to the pumpkin patch. #FlyAwayFriday

    1. Last year we drove to this maze and it was shut because bad weather had made the ground too muddy. I’m glad that I got to do it this year!

  11. I’d love – or be totally spooked by – experiencing Halloween in the States one day. It’s such a big deal over there. As Alex says, we do have what we call Maize Mazes over the summer holidays in England though. You do usually need a map to find your way around and my kids think it’s hilarious trying to lose their mother en route! Loved reading about this for #FarawayFiles

    1. I think I need to move to a busier street, because I’ve now been here for three Halloweens and have not had one Trick or Treater in that time! I want to see tiny kids dressed up!

  12. Love a good corn maze! Haven’t been to the world’s largest one, though, sounds awesome! I took my girls to one in September and while fun, all I could think about was the movie Children of the Corn! Forever spooked. #farawayfiles

    1. I am so very glad that I’ve never seen Children of the Corn! I don’t think I would have been able to get through this maze on my own if I had!

  13. Corn mazes are such a traditionally American thing to do. I’ve never been to a proper one but aftern having been to a corn field I can appreciate how disorientating they are! Must be pretty scary when you feel like you’re lost so good they’ve got those viewing platforms and markers!

    1. To be honest, I think I would have freaked out if there weren’t those platforms and markers. I got properly lost at the beginning and had a bit of a “I’m going to be here forever” moment 😉

  14. Omg what a fun post to get in the mood for fall! When I was working at a hotel, we brought our team as a team building to the maze and we all ended up fighting HAHA! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday – hope to see you again this week! xo

    1. Hahaha, so it ended up being the opposite to team building? That sucks! But I saw a few groups traipsing through the maze, chatting. So relaxed!

  15. I love corn mazes! However, these don’t look nearly as scary which is a good thing! They are a staple for me at Halloween. These look super great and I adore pumpkin patches. Hope to see you tomorrow at Fly Away Friday!

    1. I’ve heard that there are some good “scary” mazes with characters that jump out at you and stuff. That would probably be way out of my comfort zone though.

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