In 2011, Oak Brook Park District added an ADA-accessible haunted maze to the featured events at its annual Haunted Forest. This year’s maze is larger than ever, measuring in at more than 13,000 square feet, and winds its way into a forested area.
“Our staff is brilliant when it comes to the design and creation of this feature,” said Jessica Cannaday, marketing manager for the Oak Brook Park District. “They have spent their own time researching the psychology behind what makes people want to turn a certain direction, and how they react when they feel lost. Each year, they design a course that is incredibly effective.”
Although the maze is littered with scary scenes and actors lurking around every corner, according to Cannaday, the creepiest aspect is the psychological effect. Oak Brook Park District staff estimate that only 60 percent of those who have entered the maze actually make it all the way through.
“We lose about 30 to 35 percent, (with) people requesting exit at the first checkpoint and another 5 to 10 percent at the second checkpoint,” Cannaday explained.
According to the Park District, the shortest, most accurate path through the maze is a quarter mile long. However, staff estimates that the typical maze-goer will walk about a half mile, and take anywhere from 15 to 27 minutes to get all the way through.
New this year is a maze preview from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10.
“It will still be light outside, which makes the feature less scary and more accessible to families with small kids,” Cannaday said.
While the scary scenes will be in place, there won’t be any actors jumping out to startle people off track. For $5, participants will be able to walk through the maze as many times as they’d like from 4 to 6 p.m.
The full Haunted Forest will be open rain or shine from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11 and 12, at 1450 Forest Gate Road. The maze is only a small part of the event. There will be hay rides through Central Park, a pumpkin patch, crafts, bounce house, fireside stories, children’s games and face painting.
Admission is free, and many of the family activities are free.
It's an indoor-outdoor event, with concessions available for purchase.
Tickets cost $1 each or 25 for $20.
• Haunted Maze: 5 tickets
• Hayride: 3 tickets
• Pumpkins: 1-5 tickets (depending on size)
• Face Painting: 2 tickets
Candy in the Haystack, crafts, bounce house and fireside storytelling are free.
For more information, visit www.obparks.org/hauntedforest or call 630-990-4233.