Inside the creation of a Halloween corn maze at Schuyler Farms

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SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – This Halloween season, Schuyler Farms is overrun with spiders.

Don’t worry, though; they like it that way.

This year, the 7-acre corn maze that the farm boasts annually is in the shape of a spider’s web, with some spiders dotting the corners across the network of paths that families come far and wide to visit every year.

schuyler farm spider web maze
Schuyler Farms’ 2021 corn maze (Photo: Schuyler Farms)

“Everybody seems to make it through,” said co-owner Ken Macica, who was outside parking cars on Sunday morning. “We haven’t lost anybody yet.”

The maze is open all day and into the night on weekends in October, with after-dark frights running as late as 10 p.m. on Saturdays. On average, it takes around 45 minutes to get through.

The maze is adorned with scary characters, skeletons in cages and more. And at night, visitors navigating by flashlight may meet ghouls, chainsaw-carrying slashers and a host of other costumed characters.

schuyler farms corn maze
One of the many creepy characters inside Schuyler Farms’ corn maze in Schuylerville, N.Y. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

The goal for the Macicas is to make the corn maze fun by day, and frightening by night. However, the art of the scare isn’t one-size-fits-all.

“We try to gauge the person as they’re walking through the maze,” said Jerry Macica, Ken’s brother, who plays a large role in planning and managing the corn maze every year. “Some people you can see are going to be horrified; some people are just out there having fun.”

If someone does get too scared, the family members and volunteers who don costumes and haunt the field are quick to help them, and get them out if they need it.

schuyler farms
The corn maze at Schuyler Farms in Schuylerville, N.Y. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

From the corn maze to the cider donuts, petting zoo and pumpkin patch onsite, Schuyler Farms and all of its attractions are a family business. They harvest their corn in May, meaning that by June, it’s planning time.

If your mental image involves the family gathering around a table every summer to start scribbling out ideas for the next maze, Jerry Macica says you’ve essentially hit the ghoul right on the head.

“Usually around June we start panicking about what our theme’s going to be, because in July we start cutting it,” he explained. “We come up with a theme, and my one brother is a pretty good artist, so he starts drawing it up.”

Past themes have included Pac-Man and alien crop circles. Those are just a couple from the 20-year tradition.

Planning becomes an annual season of chaos, even before a season of scares. This year, whatever panic may have been in Macica minds was amplified by a wet, rainy summer growing season.

Ken Macica, the brother in charge of the harvest, said it was the wettest growing weather he can remember. And Jerry agreed.

When the soil in the cornfield stays wet into the fall, there are a couple of different fixes the Macicas can employ. They cover some pathways in gravel to separate feet from muddy ground, or block paths off when the terrain is too dangerous.

“We’ve dealt with this before,” said Jerry. “Not quite this bad, and not quite this early in the season, but we’re managing it.”

On Sunday, the family watched a busy Columbus Day weekend draw to a close, with families coming to pick pumpkins and explore the corn by the dozen.

“People have been desperate for things to do,” said Ken, waving a family van into the farm’s parking area. “And this is one of the best things you can do.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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