The Haunted Corn Maze at Paintball Paradise, west of Prince Albert off Highway 302, will be opening for the season this weekend and the venue hosted a special evening ahead of the season on Saturday.
The evening was a pre-Haunt Walkthrough for staff, their immediate families, a few VIP’s, and the media.
Owner George Lewko said it was a chance to let the staff enjoy the venue before the season begins on Oct. 13.
“(It) lets the staff get out, especially the new staff, to learn where everything is and then have VIP’s out,” he explained. “I’ve seen people do that in other places and everybody’s like, ‘you got such a cool place you need pictures of it,’ so come out, take your pictures, get it in your social media accounts, share it around.”
The season runs the last three weekends of October, beginning Oct. 13 and ending Oct. 29. Starting the season after Thanksgiving is deliberate, according to Lewko.
“We find Thanksgiving is such a hit and miss thing, especially with people traveling and stuff, so we didn’t start until after that,” he explained. “It also gives me a couple of weekends to get ready and then we get ready all year.”
In addition to the Haunted Corn Maze, this year’s event also features the Pumpkin Barn, where attendees can purchase pumpkins of all sizes.’
“We have been building shelves and putting pumpkins up and harvesting pumpkins for the last week or two and that’s all been really good. It’s turned out to look spectacular,” Lewko said.
“This is going to be a picture area too because it looks spectacular. There’s lots of different colours, small ones, big ones, weird looking ones…. I think we grew 26 different types of pumpkins this year, so these are all local.”
Lewko said that the Haunted Corn Maze attracted roughly 4,000 people during last year’s season. They’re hoping for even more this year, provided the weather stays good.
“We’re hoping that we’ll break a record again,” Lewko said. “We’ve actually staged it so that it’s a little cheaper in the first weekend and gets a little more expensive the next weekend.
“I see everybody’s doing that to even out the crowds because the first weekend we’re not very busy, so we’re hoping that will help with the crowds in the first weekend.”
Lewko said the Haunted Corn Maze has been around since 2013. He said it’s always been a popular fall attraction.
“It’s been good, people have done quite well and got out and it seems to keep growing if the weather is good. The only thing that slows us down is if we have a snow or it starts raining and turns to ice. That kind of ends things a little early.”
Saturday’s event included free Hot Chocolate and Popcorn. Shooting games were free with no prizes.
Props included pumpkin throne, the Pumpkin Barn, Haunted Church in the old Big Barn, the light up bunkers with rules and directions. 12’ skeleton man and 12’ pumpkin head king statues.
Lewko said they’re always trying to improve the experience.
“We’ve got a giant pumpkin head guy here. We haven’t got up yet, but that’s up there we got.
“We’re going to have some extra vendors this year. We got a tarot card reader, so that’s going to be something new and exciting that we haven’t had before.
“Everything we’re just trying to little bigger, a little better, tweak the little things here and there. we don’t want to change it too much, but we want to grow every year and yeah, so we’re going,” he said.
Hours are from from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday, 2 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The venue is Family Friendly in the afternoons 2 to 7 p.m. and scary after 7 p.m.