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(Corn) Mazed and Confused

Get lost at area corn mazes

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Once, the harvest season was an excuse to celebrate the bounty of the land as we prepared for the cold, dark days of winter. Now, it's an excuse to run around a cornfield and scare the bejesus out of ourselves like we're the college kids in a B-grade horror movie who wandered away from the rest of the group to make out.

That's never a good course of action in the movies--unless being chased by a monster/zombie/vengeful ghost/chainsaw-wielding killer is your thing. But put that whole scared-til-you-pee-yourself situation into a corn maze and substitute actors for actual fiends and you can get all the slightly twisted fun of fear without the unfortunate side effect of evisceration.

Enter the season of the corn maze--haunted or otherwise--when we can indulge our hankering for just the right amount of fear, safe in the knowledge that we'll make it home at the end of the night. Of course, fear comes in various doses--from the relatively harmless "crap, this corn all looks the same" kind of fear to the decidedly more thrilling "I want my mommy!" variety. Thankfully, the Treasure Valley is filled with enough harvest/horror options to appease every taste.

Take, for example, The Farmstead Corn Maze near the intersection of Eagle Road and I-84. The corn maze--cut in the form of a horse-riding cowboy this year--is carved into 18 acres. Most days, it's a pretty straight-laced corn maze with various activities to take part in while making your way through. There's even a kid's maze for the little ones, along with a pumpkin patch, jumping pillow, corn cannon and something called a "cow train" (which, as you might imagine, is a train of cow-shaped cars pulled by a tractor).

But come Friday and Saturday nights in October, a portion of the maze is transformed into the Field of Screams--which means you can expect more than just corn in the field. Tickets range between $8-$18, depending on what you want to do. Get more details at farmsteadfestival.com.

It's much the same story at Linder Farms, (7165 S. Linder Road, Meridian) where a 15-acre corn maze is joined by hay rides, a pumpkin patch, pony rides and a climbing wall, among other attractions. But after dark, the Trail of Terror and the Haunted Corn Trail offer more grown-up thrills. (The free game of laser tag or mechanical bull ride with admission is the odd cherry on top.) Admission ranges from $7-$14 and you can find more info at linderfarms.com.

Haunted World in Caldwell skips the "oh goodness" scares and goes for the jugular with three haunted areas: the 30-acre Haunted World outdoor haunt, Skullvania haunted asylum and a toned-down corn maze.

The attraction, at the corner of Northside and Chinden boulevards--opens after dusk Monday-Saturday and stays open until midnight. Tickets cost $20, and an extra $3 will put up at the front of the line. Check out hauntedworld.org for details.