For years, our family owned a haunted attraction in Grant, NE that included a haunted corn maze. As someone who grew up on a farm, I never completely understood the enthusiasm that our patrons had about getting lost in a field of corn. I’d spent so much time in and around corn fields that the mysticism surrounding them was completely gone for me. But I watched our patrons. And I tried to understand.
Every year, my husband John, Lydi, my daughter, and I travel overseas, usually to second or third world countries and we live in those places for several months. I’m sure a lot of people wonder why we’d want to do this too. I think the motives behind why people pay to get lost in haunted corn mazes in Nebraska and why our family pays to live in countries where the governments haven’t figure out waste management are similar though. I like not knowing exactly what to expect when I go to the grocery store just as our patrons like not knowing what to expect around the corner in our haunts at School District 13.
Getting lost and feeling scared can make a person feel alive. We live in a culture where everything is dulled down. We live in big houses. We spray the weeds in our lawns so we can’t walk barefoot outside. We pay someone to plant our flowers and mow the grass. We stuff ourselves into metal containers to travel from point-A to point-B and we never wander. Why bother? In the United States, everything is zoned neatly. There’s little chance of stumbling across something unexpected. Being lost forces a person to wander. And wandering can force a person to find things they otherwise would’ve missed. It’s hard to stay young and childlike, to feel wonder and excitement when you always know what to expect.
Fear and disorientation aren’t entirely bad as emotions. In the right context, they can be a lot of fun. My daughter Lydian and I often joke with each other that it’s fun to be lost as long as we’re not wet, cold, tired, or hungry. My husband likes to know where he is relative to home at all times, but he also acknowledges that we often find cool things when we don’t know where the hell we are. Our family laughed more together in Nepal and India than we ever had before in our lives, but we also spent a lot of time feeling disoriented, fearful and edgy in those countries too.
There are haunted attractions in North Platte, NE, but School District 13 in Brule, NE is worth driving to because we know that our patrons want to feel a little bit lost. They want to feel fear and excitement and curiosity. We haunt the whole town to really capture the essence of Halloween in Nebraska and give our patrons more than just a few minutes of fear. Our goal is to create an interactive community of scary but fun situations so that patrons can enjoy the experience of Not Knowing and the Excitement of Wondering What Will Happen Next in a safe environment.