Michigan offers an abundance of activities during the spooky month of October. Hayrides, pumpkin patches, apple orchards and haunted houses all come to mind when the leaves begin to change. But for those seeking the best corn maze in the state during this brisk Halloween season, look no further than Williamston’s own BestMaze Corn Maze.
BestMaze, a family-owned, family-friendly business coming up on its 20-year anniversary of fun and spooks serves as a staple within both the maze-fanatic community and the Williamston community.
“There are people that tell us they’ve been coming for 18 years,” said Mark Benjamin, farmer and co-owner of BestMaze. “We have a picture-taking place, and people will take their pictures when they were little kids and now they’re at MSU. That’s a huge thing, it draws a lot of families.”
The Maze opened its doors on Sep. 13 to a crowd of people of all ages, and will be closing for the season on Nov. 2.
With the end of a BestMaze season comes reflection of this fall’s highlights and excitement for future seasons.
“It’s been a great year as far as people loving the haunted trail and the maze,” said Benjamin. “We had maze junkies who came all the way from Utah. They like to do a lot of mazes, and they say this is the best one they’ve ever been in.”
BestMaze was recognized as the best corn maze in southern Michigan by WILX News and by a 97.5 FM poll taken during the fall.
BestMaze is not only known for its scare-factor and its confusing twists and turns. It’s family-friendly and it’s doable for all ages and all abilities.
“The maze is a lot of fun,” said Luke Thelen, who completed the maze with his wife and children in a little over an hour. “The kids enjoyed it. There’s a lot of turnarounds, it was a good time.”
With the maze offering smooth, dry trails, it’s handicap accessible to those with wheelchairs and it offers peace of mind to those concerned about losing their footing. There are even watch dogs on duty stationed in overlook towers within the maze to assist anyone who gets lost or to help locate a lost child.
“It’s a family friendly place. This is our second time coming and I’m sure we’ll come back,” said Dana Thelen.
“We’ll even get Grandma out here with her grandkids on the weekend. The maze is inexpensive, everybody can do it,” said Benjamin.
Maze admission is $7 per person and Trail of Terror admission is $20 per person. BestMaze also offers a $25 maze and Trail of Terror combo deal.
Hands-on preparation for the maze begins in July. Benjamin brings his maze designs to life in the field, smoothes the paths over and plans new spooks and turnarounds to ensure that each year’s maze experience will be different than the last.
“We hand-rake three miles of trails every year,” said Benjamin. “So when you’re at the lake next July, just think of me out here smoothing these trails up.”
Adjacent to the infamous corn maze is BestMaze’s Trail of Terror, a long, winding trip through the corn with turns, fog, shacks, a spinning vortex tunnel, and more. This year, BestMaze even hosted a celebrity appearance in the Trail of Terror.
“You ever heard of Freaky the Scary Snowman,” asked Benjamin. “He’s in a snowman costume – he goes around the country – he stands on sidewalks, and when people walk by they think he’s just a decoration, ‘til he moves! He made a guest appearance in our Trail of Terror, and he’s doing a 10-minute documentary on us that he’s releasing on Halloween.”
BestMaze workers have made adjustments to the scares to ensure a safe and fun experience for all visitors. They majorly cut down strobe lights, added gluten-free treats and beverages and…
“No clowns,” said Benjamin. “So many people are afraid of clowns. So we decided to get rid of them. We accommodate to the different needs of the people.”
BestMaze also plans to expand the Trail of Terror into the woods beyond the maze, upping the experience for Williamston’s thrill seekers. Other exciting additions and expansions have been kept confidential to ensure genuine spooks in the coming Halloween seasons.
“Since we’ve been doing this for 19 years, word has spread across the nation and it’s known as the best in Michigan. I’ll flat out tell anyone, ‘I’ve got the best maze in Michigan,’” said Benjamin.
As for future BestMaze visitors, Benjamin offers some expert advice.
“The longer you look at the map, the longer you’re going to be in the maze,” said Benjamin. “Do it off intuition and just keep walking.”