Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: The Maize in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: The Maize in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City

Article excerpt

As gusts shake the stalks and rustle the leaves, even owner Rick Anderson gets spooked inside his Broken Arrow corn field.

"I don't like being out here when the lights aren't on," he said, walking the passages with his eight-year-old black Labrador, Kip the Corn Dog. "The corn's kind of creepy in itself. When the wind blows it makes noises, and your imagination is your own worst enemy. So at night I always want the lights on. I don't like wandering around in the dark, when I'm alone."

That's what makes his corn field perfect for The Maize, Anderson's eight-year-old Halloween theme park just a few miles east of town.

"Now when there's other people here, I'm one of the guys who likes scaring people," said Anderson, who's known as "the head kernel." He enjoys slipping into costume, grabbing his chainsaw and sneaking up on willing victims paying up to $8 a head. "But when I'm alone, it's...."

A subdued chuckle escaped his lips, the tone fading beneath the twitter of crickets, locusts and breezes.

"A lot of fun out here," he said, his grim smile fading as he finished that sentence. "Just from all the fake stuff I tell people, all the fibs and wives tales I tell people to kind of give them an eerie feeling, and then they start to grow on me, you know?"

Enamored by it all, the 27-year-old native of Provo, Utah, travels to Broken Arrow each fall to carve this attraction in corn. Not only do Anderson and hired hand Jack Schlekeway set up a nine- acre family puzzle and a six-acre "haunted" one, they oversee fire pits and picnic tables, the Hansen Hay Hop and other farm-oriented amusements, a concession stand and a grassy knoll for parking.

"It's really intense," said Anderson. "But you know what they say. The family that gets lost together stays together."

While it all offers fun through the first week of November, it's the namesake mazes that attract weekend crowds in the thousands. These monuments to "green" construction boast cornstalk walls up to eight feet tall, the eight miles of hallways and rooms cut by a John Deere mower guided by a global positioning system. …

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