9 Secrets of Corn Maze Designers

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It’s almost Halloween, so you’re probably out looking for fun activities to do with your wee ones on those crisp fall Saturdays (around football games, of course). Between pumpkin patches, costume shopping, haunted houses, and apple picking, you’ve likely got things covered – but don’t forget to throw in a bonfire, hayride, and corn maze into the mix!

If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll probably think these 9 secrets of corn maze designers pretty interesting!

#9. A good maze can take all day to solve.

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The average maze takes about 20 minutes to get through, but some of the bigger ones take between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Some can take much longer, if people aren’t exactly motivated.

#8. A background in art or theatre can be helpful.

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For corn-maze employees and/or owners Jimmy Golub, Megan Hurd-Dean, and Don Frantz, designing and executing the corn maze has always been a creative endeavor. Jimmy compares his cornfield to a blank canvas and his maze to a painting, while Amazing Maize Maze founder Frantz began his career on Broadway before moving to drawing and designing corn mazes all over the world.

#7. Mazes are a branding opportunity.

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Many farms feature aerial photos of their mazes on marketing materials and postcards, so designers need to keep in mind what it will look like from the sky.

#6. It can get technical.

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After sketching out the designs on graph paper, the designers need to bring some math into the equation to calculate how many rows of corn each block comes out to and then recreate the shape into a field with a tractor or by hand.

They sometimes use tools like a GPS-guided mower to ensure everything ends up in the right place.

#5. Most shy away from designs that are too complex.

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Seasoned designers try to talk farmers out of asking for a balls-to-the-wall design. Not only are they difficult to execute, they also don’t pop as much in those fancy aerial photos that could help sell the next event.

#4. They think about interactive elements.

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It’s commonplace nowadays to make mazes as interactive as possible in order to keep guests engaged, whether by elements like colored flags, boxes with messages, or tubes guests can use to talk to people in different parts of the maze.

Basically, mazes are like everything else these days, and people expect more than one element to hold their interest.

#3. They have to consider copyrights.

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There’s no specific copyright law that addresses corn maze images, but most will shy away from taking chances and ask permission beforehand. Most people will agree, though some will ask for a trademark to be included.

#2. Yes, they do deliberately try to trick you off the right path.

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If there’s a turn that seems obviously right, it probably is – and the designer has probably put something interesting or fun down an opposite (wrong) path in order to tempt people in an errant direction.

#1. The corn doesn’t always cooperate.

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After conceptualizing, graphing, and creating designs for the coming year, designers are often forced to adapt once they’re able to see how the corn crops turned out for the year. There are lots of last-minute changes that can present a challenge to the most experienced of designers.

Go get lost and have a happy Halloween!