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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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
- Petaluma: Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, open daily until October 31.
- Petaluma: Pumpkins on Pikes, not a maze, but you get to carve a pumpkin and set it on a pike in the cornfield at dusk, October 28, 2pm-10pm.
- Fremont: Perry Family Pumpkin Patch, has a kids corn maze, open daily until October 31.
- Livermore: G&M Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, the six acre maze is open daily until October 31.
- Livermore: Joan’s Farm Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, open daily until October 31.
- San Francisco: Zootopia in the San Francisco Zoo and gardens, a hay bale maze but a maze just the same, open on weekends until October 29.
- Santa Clara: Great Pumpkin Fest, a kids hay bale maze, open weekends until October 29.
- San Jose: Pumpkin Polooza for families, obstacle course and Harvest maze, October 28, 5pm to 8pm.