12 Secrets of Corn Maze Designers

"Corn maze designer" isn't exactly a full-time job, but somebody's gotta do it! Many farmers have discovered that opening their land up to tourists and locals for fall festivals and harvest events is a great way to raise some cash in the fall. A well-designed corn maze can be an extremely lucrative feature of their autumn. Here are some tricks experienced corn maze designers have learned.

Corn maze designers want their mazes to be challenging—but not so challenging that it cuts into a family’s pumpkin-picking time. Frantz says that one way to turn guests off a maze is to make them feel dumb. "You don’t want to make the player feel like a fool, like he was taken advantage of." One way a designer might do this is by making a dead end too long. "If you walk too far to realize it’s a dead end, that’s just mean," Frantz says.

At Golub's farm, where mazes cater to a lot of younger school kids, fairness is also important. “People who come to our place don’t want to spend two hours in a corn maze,” Golub says. “We want the [school field trips] that come here to go straight through. We don’t want them to make any wrong turns because we have time constraints.”

At the Hurd Family Farm, guests have the choice of the larger, more difficult maze or a simpler mini maze within the maze. “We have such a mixed bag of people who come to the farm,” Hurd-Dean said. “We wanted to make it easier for people.” And if for some reason guests still get lost, there are employees stationed around the maze they can call to for help.

In fact, the urge to make ever-bigger corn mazes caused a backlash in recent years. Read about that, and other secrets of corn maze design at Mental Floss.

(Image credit: jim williams)

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