I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. On our farm, we produced mostly wheat and corn. In fact, almost everyone I knew was producing wheat or corn. Nearly every field I saw contained one or the other of these grains. And as a result, for me, there was never anything novel about wheat or corn fields. I spent many hours in our fields with my brother trying to ward off boredom by having dirt-clod-throwing competitions while Mom and Dad plowed or harvested. When night came and my brother and I were still sitting in an old smelly, mouse-ridden truck, the dust from the fields would cloud up in front of the combine’s headlights and we could smell the earthy, dusty smell of the corn. In the months leading up to harvest, we’d sit in the back of the truck and wait for Dad to wade into the irrigated corn fields muddied by the irrigation system. He’d have to walk ¼ of a mile into the center of the field to service the pivot, often emerging covered head to toe in mud. Sometimes he’d come out of the corn with tales of wild-life encounters (usually raccoons, but occasionally skunks). These corn field “moments” spent sitting on a wheel well overlooking the corn tassels as they waved in the wind were mind-numbingly boring but also occasionally meditative as a farm girl. It was a rule to never get lost in a corn field…never to wander into the corn field without knowing how to get out. And so never in all my time spent in or at the edge of a corn field did I think, “hey, maybe I’ll go in there and try to get lost.” I still have a hard time fully understanding the allure of a corn maze on account of my upbringing.
On the other hand, pumpkin fields were a much rarer sight in Nebraska. You just didn’t see them very often. And I suppose that’s probably why at Halloween, Nebraskans pursue pumpkin patches more enthusiastically than corn mazes while Coloradoans, on the other hand, especially those who live in the urban and mountainous areas, are all about the corn mazes in Colorado.
Before we started doing Halloween attractions as a business, I was a consumer just like everyone else, and our little family would go to corn mazes in Nebraska or Halloween places in Colorado (since we lived on the border) to try to entertain ourselves and our daughter. I never realized how people’s tastes for Halloween festival entertainment changed with the geography of a place. In Nebraska, there are at least 20 different corn mazes while in Colorado, there are only 3 biggies east of Denver: Fritzler Corn Maze in La Salle, Co, Anderson Farms in Erie, Co, and Jack Lantern’s Northern Colorado Corn Maze in Fort Collins, CO. The relative lack of corn mazes in Colorado makes the demand for them higher. In Nebraska corn mazes are a-dime-a-dozen and something like 1 out of every 3 people grew up on a grain farm that raised corn. But Nebraskans, though they won’t search as enthusiastically for a corn maze, will get excited about a pumpkin patch…those plump orange balls dotting the landscape just seem so otherworldly to them.
As with all great Nebraska haunted attractions, we DO have a corn maze at School District 13 Haunted Attraction. And not so long ago, we had Armstrong’s Pumpkin Patch just down the road from us, but alas, their pumpkins didn’t make it. Maybe someday this Nebraska pumpkin patch will make a comeback to round out our Halloween celebration in Brule, but in the meantime, we’ll be busy working on developing Halloween activities that are less common, like our interactive Halloween city and Photo Op Forest. Because after all, a person can only pick so many pumpkins. And if there are corn mazes around every corner, people won’t travel far to come see mine. Since School District 13 Haunted Attraction is located in Brule on the Nebraska-Colorado border in the middle-of-nowhere, our attraction has to be different than the dime-a-dozen corn mazes and pumpkin patches in Nebraska…we can’t be just a typical haunted house like the haunted houses in Denver or Omaha. School District 13 is different, but we appeal to the corn maze people as well as the pumpkin patch people (click here for more info on fun Halloween places if you’re a corn maze or pumpkin patch person). And we appeal to people who don’t want to be scared as well as those that do. It doesn’t matter whether you’re from Nebraska or Colorado, Wyoming, or Kansas, School District 13 is worth the drive because our haunted attraction isn’t like the other haunted attractions, corn mazes, or pumpkin patches catering to the Halloween party crowd. We’re different…which is why it’s worth it to make The Great Halloween Road Trip to come see us.