Corn maze adventures

On Friday October 25, as the night fell and the air chilled, I embarked in a van along with 20 other anxiously giddy teenagers headed towards Sauvie Island for Bella Organic’s annual haunted corn maze. I’d never been to a haunted corn maze before, but I understood the basic rules; don’t split from the group, the actors aren’t allowed to touch you and wear rain boots no matter what the weather. Some of the group failed to follow the third rule, and many a white converse were ruined that evening.

It was around 8:25 p.m. when we entered the corn maze, all clinging to each other’s sweatshirt hoods and jacket sleeves. I held more hands in 45 minutes than I did in a week of summer camp counseling for kindergartners. Our mass of human bodies shuffled down the aisles of corn stalks and masked actors, shivering from the cold and the adrenaline. It was quite the bonding experience.

The theme of the maze was “Stranger Things,” but I refused to look at the map before we went in, so the only hint I got of the show was the occasional plywood tunnel we would enter that was strung with multicolored string lights and the painted alphabet. There were seizure warning signs for the amount of strobe lights we had to walk under.

As far as navigation went, the route was pretty straightforward, which I was grateful for because turning around with that many people was a tedious task. We did hit dead ends once or twice, but ultimately the maze wasn’t meant to confuse, only to frighten.

In the maze, we saw classic monsters like zombies and werewolves, but there were also some more unconventional creatures like a boar-faced man, a plague doctor and a very creepy nun. My personal favorite costume that I saw was of a mummy in a hammock who stood so still I thought he was decoration. One man was observed by a girl from our group to resemble Lord Farquaad.

The worst part for my heartrate would have to have been when two men rushed out of the shadows with chainsaws and started swinging near our shins. Objectively, I was aware that they could not touch us, but emotionally, I was prepared to die. Afterwards, our group debated whether the chainsaws were real chainsaws with the chain simply removed or actually just painted leaf blowers. It was too dark to tell.

Our defense against these horrifying creatures was to sing the ABCs at the top of our lungs, which I’m sure was obnoxious to others, but I found it a welcome distraction. The most effective distraction, however, proved to be comforting a crying sixth grader for the final third or so of the maze. My maternal instincts kicked in faster than a demon emerging from the cornstalks. The actors were very conscientious of our plight, and abstained from upsetting her any further, and the final leg of the route was done without any more chainsaws.

When we were out of the maze and back in the van, many expressed their preference for the actors who would just stare at you opposed to the ones who shrieked and chased. I found the whole experience thrilling, shrieking or no shrieking, and I’m proud to say now that I’ve been through a haunted corn maze, but I’d have to agree with my friend when she said her favorite part of the whole night was “leaving.”