Around 2,400 are expected to traverse through three haunted corn mazes during the 2019 Field of Screams at the Historic O’Keefe Ranch this October. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Three screams for North Okanagan’s haunted corn mazes

Field of Screams dress rehearsal had international students, media jumping out of skin

Tensions are high as you wind your way through three corn mazes in the pitch black at the historic O’Keefe Ranch. Hairs rise on the back of your neck as you anticipate the worst is lurking around every corner.

Knock, knock, bang! Fists sounding on plywood, sending you straight out of your skin. The corn stalks rustle in the cold, is it the wind? Or is it something worse? You round a corner and come upon a house. A gingerbread house, like out of a fairy tale. Those stories might bring you comfort before bed but it’s clear there is something different about this house.

The bone-chilling Field of Screams returns to turn your nightmares into a reality with Once Upon a Nightmare. And on Wednesday (Oct. 2), the actors behind the horrifying creatures, including Alice, the Madhatter, Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs, had the opportunity to practice scaring the pants off of close to 300 international students—plus a few members of the media. The terror opens to the public Friday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. (one of 16 nights before closing Oct. 30).

Field of Screams, the brainchild of Matt Brown, began in 2013 and has been growing ever year; both conceptually, in attendance and now, in locations.

“This year we’ve added two nights and another location in Kamloops,” Ominiss Productions spokesperson Carmen Thompson said.

Being bigger and better every year is “like chasing the dragon for every artist,” Brown, the creative director said.

Planning is the secret behind the horrifying 14-day event, Brown said. And that planning starts as early as February. The maze is cut in late May or early June and then “it’s a 40-hour work week from there.”

Brown said more than 200 people are involved in the project from conceptional art through to showtime. The effort and labour are evident in the set designs, decor, makeup and costuming and overall experience.

More than 2,400 will take a terrifying stroll through the corn maze on any given night, Thompson said. Last year, Field of Screams had a total of 25,000 people traverse the maze.

“We’re expecting 30,000 this year,” she said.

Luckily, for those who aren’t fond of waiting in lines, Ominiss is selling tickets online for the 2019 Field of Screams for $15.

For those who want a double-dose of fear, the Carnival Freakshow will take place at the Sunset Valley Farm in Kamloops.

While people are running from creatures in the dark this month, the creative director is already looking ahead to the future.

“I’ve think I’ve got the next two years planned out in my head already,” Brown said. “No rest for the wicked.”

READ MORE: Nightmares will come to life at Vernon’s Field of Screams

READ MORE: Face your darkest nightmares this October at O’Keefe Ranch


@caitleerach
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Field of Screams started back in 2013 and is the brain child of creative director Matt Brown. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

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