It’s pitch black except for a tiny sliver of moon tinged orange by smoke, and you’ve entered a corn field. Cut into the field is a pathway. You know you’d be lost in the tall stalks, so you must follow the trail. It is eerily quiet as you reach a fork in the path. Thinking a moment, you decide to take a chance and go right. Rounding a bend, you come face to face with a wall of the tall, dry corn. It’s a dead end. You hear a small snap behind you. You turn and come face to face with a murderous clown! Running past it, you head toward the lights of a small, run-down shack. Looking behind you, the clown is still in pursuit, stalking you with murderous intent. Reaching the shack, the clown has disappeared. You head inside, hoping for somewhere to hide, and a ghostly ticket taker greets you. You step inside and a pounding from inside the walls begins as a chainsaw revs in the distance.
That, my friends, is a little taste of what it is like inside the ‘Field of Screams’ corn maze at O’Keefe Ranch in the Okanagan.
This is the 6th annual corn maze, but it’s the first year that I’ve attended. The website promises scares, and strongly urges people not to bring their children. During the day, the historic ranch features a family-friendly maze for the kiddos, but I guarantee you that this one is not for the little ones. There are a total of three mazes, and while we waited we saw more than a few parties retreat, some with kids who were clearly not having it. We even saw a couple of people in tears, so I can say that this is not for the faint of heart.
The set up is elaborate but well-organized. The mazes don’t overlap with each other, so you get a unique experience out of each one. The theme this year was ‘Three Ring Mayhem,’ so clowns in abundance. Each path contains many actors ready to scare the daylights out of you by popping out from the corn, as well as at least one structure, such as a building or underground tunnel. The actors and costumes were phenomenal. What also makes this an interesting experience is the build-up during the wait for each maze. The line up is right in the middle of the three, and because the entrance is built right into the field, you can hear screams, laughter, and other sounds from the attraction, really ramping up the anticipation to explore.
I will say that if you attend this event, be prepared to wait. My fiancé and I had never been, and weren’t sure how popular it would be. We also went on the second night, but I don’t see something like this slowing down as it gets closer to Halloween. The gates open at 6pm, so we got there around 630 and grabbed some food while we waited. We hopped into the line when we noticed it starting to really grow at about 645pm. They started selling tickets and letting people into the maze at 7pm. We were in line to pay and then for the first maze until 830pm (yes, you read that correctly – a total of 90 minutes from ticket sale time). While this was irritating to say the least, once we went through the first maze, we got it. The pacing of letting groups in is deliberately slow. It ensures that there aren’t a lot of other customers around you, which really adds to the feeling that you are alone in a dark, isolated cornfield, and makes the wait worth it.
Going back through the other two mazes was quicker as you don’t wait in the payment line again. This was a good thing, as the line to pay was easily twice as long at 9pm. By the time we got through the last maze, it was 10pm. Word of mouth has been good to this event, and I see it only continuing to grow. My suggestion is to make a night of it. Go at 6pm, grab some warm mini donuts and coffee or hot chocolate and hop in the line early. And don’t forget to dress warmly! This was a great event and had the bonus of being a fun date night. Walking a haunted corn maze in the dark arm in arm with your partner while you both have the crap scared out of you – can’t get more romantic than that for a horror fan!
This is one event that I will definitely be attending again! ‘Field of Screams’ runs 7pm-10pm, gates open at 6pm. See the O’Keefe Ranch website below for dates and further information.