This maze isn’t your average, everyday corn maze. It’s a haunted corn maze filled with evil clowns, Michael Myers, guts and an angry farmer with a chainsaw — so enter at your own risk.
Travis Hume, UCM Farm manager and Agriculture Club advisor, started the haunted corn maze last year, sponsored by the Agriculture Club, to raise money for sending students to conferences. Hume plants the corn himself and mows through to create an intricate six-acre field maze at the University Farm along Mitchell Street.
“I set it up. I plant the corn and it’s a standard corn that anyone would farm anyway, but we have to plant it north and south and east and west because otherwise, people can see down the rows,” he said. “So I have to plant two different directions when I plant the field and then I just take a lawn mower and I go around and mow off the corn stalks in our maze.”
Hume said his student workers from the Agriculture Club help him maintain the maze and they are the ones who dress up and haunt the maze.
“It’s kind of a team effort between me and my student workers,” he said.
Hume said before the haunted corn maze, University Farm staff used to put on a haunted hay ride, but decided a maze would be better due to people “bailing off” the moving vehicle. This year was their second year doing the corn maze and Hume said the community enjoys it.
“They love it,” he said. “It’s a huge, huge deal. I mean, we (had) buses of students from high schools come. FFA chapters around the whole county bus the whole chapter in at once to go through it.”
Hume said planting the maze takes an hour or less, and then he waits two weeks for the maze to be tall enough to mow a design.
“There is no real planning for how the maze is going to look, I just run the mower through there and make a maze,” he said. “I know I have an entrance and I know I have an exit. Everything else in there is just kind of made up when I drive the mower through it.”
Hume said the Agriculture Club members dress up as all kinds of different characters to haunt the maze.
“They dress up however they feel dressing up,” he said. “They’ll go to Halloween stores and just buy some creepy masks or they’ll buy a bottle of paint and they’ll paint their faces. We’ve had girls that paint their stomach red and they get a…big bag of spaghetti or something and they’ll just throw guts on people and make it look like their guts are falling out.”
Hume said they use a chainsaw (with the chain off) to have an “angry farmer” character chase people out. He said they also have scary noises put in the maze such as crow noises, coyote calls, screaming and squealing.
“Last year one night, it rained a little bit. It got kinda muddy. Kids were running so quickly, there were seven pairs of shoes. They ran out of their shoes. Some kids would run in there and use their phone as a flashlight because they were scared. When they would scream, they throw their phone. We’d have to go in the maze and call phones.”
He said the maze is open to all ages, but he recommends ages 13 and up.
“If young kids come with the parents, we tell parents, ‘It’s scary; do it at your own risk,” he said. “I give them my cell phone number if they have young kids and if they have a problem, they call me and I’ll go get them. The characters know if the kids panic that bad that they take the mask off.”
Hume said the maze is scary enough for adults.
“We’ve had football players run out of the corn crying,” he said. “UCM football players.”
Hume said this year, the Agriculture Club made about $800 and had about 250-300 participants visit the haunted corn maze.
“It’s a good time,” he said. “I mean, it’s just fun for the them to go out there and scare the pants off of people and we make a pretty good chunk of change for the students to go out and network for jobs throughout the year.”
Hume said the maze will be open next year on Halloween at the University Farm. The other dates are not yet announced. The maze is $5 per person.