How to Get Lost in a Corn Maze
Every fall, the Solano County Sheriff's Office receives at least one 911 call from within the world's largest corn maze in Dixon, California. That's because people can't help but get lost (literally) in the popular fall activity. When they do, sometimes getting out of it takes a little help.
But not every corn maze stretches across more than 60 acres of farmland or takes more than two hours to complete. Keeping in mind that many smaller corn mazes aren’t quite this challenging, we devised a few foolproof ways to make sure you have no idea where you are. Oh, and we also included some tips to help you find your way out again—without calling the police.
Try the Corn Maze at Night
If finding your way to the exit proves too easy during the day, wait until the field is covered in darkness and try the maze at night. Many local mazes offer nighttime entry, and not being able to follow the sun’s directions will make it that much more challenging to navigate.
How to find your way out: Draw a map as you walk. If you bring along a pen and paper, you can simply trace your steps. That way, you’ll be able to tell if you’re about to walk in circles or the path ahead is a new one.
Difficulty: Challenging, though less so if you remember your GPS.
Walk Through the Stalks Blindfolded
If you can’t find a farm that’s friendly to night owls, try the next best thing: wear a blindfold. By covering your eyes and walking through the maze at random for a few minutes, you’ll lose sight of both the entrance and the exit. After you remove the blindfold, every turn will be a surprise.
How to find your way out: Choose one hand—right or left, it doesn’t matter—and keep it on the wall at all times. Simply follow the path along that wall; no matter where it goes, it will eventually lead to an exit.
Difficulty: Moderate. Though be warned: walking while blindfolded is harder than it looks.
Pack a Magic 8-Ball
Every time you reach a fork in the road, pull out your magic 8-ball and ask it a simple question like “Should I go left?” or “Am I lost?” Then, reap the pearls of wisdom and follow them wherever they might take you. If you keep your eyes glued to the fortune-telling device and not to the path ahead, you’ll get lost in no time.
How to find your way out: Consult a more reliable guide: the sun. Depending on the time of day, you should be able to figure out cardinal directions based on its position in the sky. Just make sure you check whether the exit is to the north or south before you enter.
Difficulty: Challenging. Especially if you end up looking at the sun a little too closely.
Follow Every Wrong Turn
Lots of people have a built-in intuition when it comes to directions. Maybe you’re one of these people, in which case, congratulations. Ignore that. Instead, stubbornly wander down every dead end. Circle a neverending loop a few times. Generally speaking, just try to make the incorrect choice at every fork in the road.
How to find your way out: Bring along a child (preferably your own child). Kids learn quickly and have enough energy to investigate every possible turn. When you’re tired of hunting, you can turn to your tiny human compass to find the nearest exit.
Difficulty: Easy enough, if you have unlimited time to explore dead ends.
Stephanie McDaniel is a political theorist-turned-novelist from South Carolina. On the rare occasion she’s not writing, she spends her time folk dancing, singing, and adding sea salt to Lake Michigan.