While the world’s first mazes were actually labyrinths designed to serve as spiritual journeys, over time they gave way to serving a more fun-filled purpose: To see who will find their way out first.
Smithsonian.com reports that the first labyrinth was recorded in Egypt in the 5th century B.C., while one of the most famous was the Cretan Labyrinth, which housed the terrifying Minotaur at its center.
Garden mazes later appeared across European castles and palaces as an amusement for visitors in the late 1600s, and by the 18th century hedge mazes were popular across England and Europe.
The fad of mazes was first officially recorded in the United States in the 1990s, taking form as a corn maze.
Today, many corn mazes aren’t quite made of corn. In the borderland, for example, the El Paso Corn Maze uses milo or grain sorghum for its maze, while La Union Maze uses a derivative of sugar cane. The Mesilla Valley Maze still uses corn stalks.
But no matter what they’re made of, the mazes are a great fall tradition. Here’s a breakdown of this year’s corn maze festivities.
THE GREAT PUMPKIN
Although botanically a fruit because it has seeds, pumpkins are considered vegetables in the culinary world and are a type of squash from the gourd family, which includes melons, cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchinis and cucumbers
Here’s how to pick the perfect pumpkin:
Color: Should be completely orange
Size: Medium for carving; small for cooking; large for décor
Stem: It’s not a handle; stem will break
Ripeness: Press thumb to bottom of fruit and check the shell is hard and doesn’t dent or scratch easily; avoid pumpkins with soft spots, cracks or splits
Bugs: Look for bugs or small holes that could mean insect problems