Subverting expectations, that’s what I would say about the Haunted Field of Screams in Thornton, Colorado. I have seen a number of corn maze haunted attractions this year, so I went into this experience believing I knew what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised within moments of entering.
The drive to the Haunted Field of Screams was pretty standard, though it runs along what is considered the most haunted road in Colorado: Riverdale road. This road is rumored to have phantom cars, jogging ghosts that chase you, actual demons, and apparently gates to hell. It may lend itself to the overall eeriness that surrounds this corn maze.
Parking was a breeze, and I managed to grab tickets online - the only issue being I could only get to their ticketing options through Firefox, and not Google Chrome. This could be a personal issue though, as maybe my browser doesn’t have the correct settings. They offer different ticket prices based on what day of the week you go, however, on weekends a general admission pass costs $40, and a VIP Fast pass is $55.
You will also be required to select a time slot for when you wish to go through the haunt. You need to be in line during that time slot - otherwise you may miss out, as tickets for each time slot can and will sell out. Upon speaking to a manager, I learned this is to help them with the crowds they expect to see throughout the busier times of the season.
The line for this attraction is extremely long, and you get the sense of JUST how many people they are expecting. Once we hit the actual line, we were only in it for about 20 minutes, though this was early in October. It's also good to mention that this is mostly an outdoor haunt, which means if they get rain or snow, the ground will reflect it. With that in mind, if weather is bad, chances of the haunt closing increase. When we went through, it was a couple days after a major rain storm, and while the ground wasn’t muddy, it was definitely soft. I highly recommend good shoes for this attraction.
When we got to the front of the line, I was confused at first why they were grouping us together with other patrons in these “chutes.” It became very apparent though when we were all put on an open-air trailer pulled by a tractor, or bus situation. If you have mobility issues, keep in mind this haunt requires getting on and off the trailer, along with a lengthy stroll through the woods and corn fields.
There were a wide range of actors and experiences, and all did a very good job within their scenes. I honestly wished the first section with the trailer was longer, as it was something I had never experienced before. The characters actually had me cowering as monsters and creepy crawlies got on and off, spooking both my group and the groups around us. I ended up laughing so hard at some of their reactions. Here, you could also tell the experience of some of the actors, because of just HOW close they got to us. There were several moments where I swore I should have knocked heads with someone, but they were aware enough to move out of the way before that accident happened.
Once off the trailer, we were ushered through another queue-like line into what would be the rest of our experience. We assumed we were just stuck in a group with the teens we were put on the trailer with, however, what we didn’t realize is that actors were purposefully trying to separate us so we could all have a unique adventure. This eventually worked, and we lost the teens ahead of us, and while we never actually saw the group behind us, we did hear them absolutely losing their minds in terror.
Before I go into highlighting some of the acts we saw throughout our trip, I absolutely need to give a major shoutout to their looks department. I learned from one of the managers that the 60+ actors were wearing costumes created by their very own costume designer. She also informed me that they have teams of artists who work on looks for specific areas every night. Man, did this show. Even when we weren’t directly scared by the fiends lurking in the corn, we were able to marvel at their looks. For instance, we accidentally got a little too close to a shambling corpse in a mausoleum and I had to get my group's attention to look at their burlap styled mask. It gave it a whole new grungy feel that I wasn’t anticipating. BRAVO!! I didn’t notice one item of clothing or prop that is repetitive to other haunted houses in Colorado thus far.
Now onto some highlights:
All of the actors along the trailer ride displayed an insane amount of energy that made the entire thing just a beautiful theatrical scene. I was even freaked out by the actors who boarded with us and went along for the ride.
If you don’t like clowns, just know this place seemed to be crawling with them. One even offered us “treats” which two of us in my group gladly accepted. We later returned these corn kernels to the maze, but it was a great first-of-many personalized interactions we would experience.
We also made note of several drop windows in use throughout our walk. I personally haven’t seen any in use so far this season at other locations; the actors in charge of these windows made great use of them, even double scaring our group with a funny quip when they inevitably made me jump.
There was a group of clowns in one area of the corn that had our whole group cracking up. If you can’t scare them- entertain them right? This did start off with one of the clowns making me jump - then questioning why I was leaving her. Every clown after that acted incredibly upset with us for hurting that clown's feelings, and called for “Bubbles” to come and well… “take care” of our group.
Later on a posse of three clowns surrounded the youngest member of our group, who is notoriously hard to scare. When she didn’t react, one followed her mimicking a funny dance-walk she began doing. The rest of us started laughing so hard, and others joined in on the dance. It was FANTASTIC improv, and it was obvious these actors were having fun.
Lastly, I need to give props to the entire section right before the end. One clown got me to jump, called me out on jumping, and had a great dialog with me as I nearly tripped over my own feet. She mocked me saying “You’re so clumsy! Careful! You could break your collarbone!” Which honestly is a great way to say “be careful” with a disturbing edge to it.
This is when our youngest member got scared and nearly ran face first into another clown. This clown did a great job of staying within an uncomfortable distance of us, and kept up a great dialog with us as well. We had completely lost the other groups around us at this point, so several clowns in this section took it upon themselves to extend our stay a bit by getting us lost in their own miniature maze. They even had us participate in “limbo”, and when I cheated, they made sure to call me out on it.
Overall, the Haunted Field of Screams is massive, and between the bus ride and the walk, it spans several miles. For us, we were in the haunt for a little over half an hour. When we got out, it was easy to find a manager, Ryan, who helped answer our questions. He also got us to other managers who could better assist us. They were extremely professional and I sincerely appreciate their willingness to help me when it came to questions for this article.
In all sincerity, if you want an experience that breaks from the norm, puts you in eerie, unpredictable and sometimes uncomfortable situations, this is the haunt for you. Even when we weren’t directly scared, we had plenty to absorb through their costuming and makeup and beyond that, walking through these fields felt very disorienting. I can honestly say this is someplace I want to attend again in the future.