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Spooky Stalks Survives Summer Drought

There was some worry whether the corn would grow tall enough at Milwaukee's only haunted cornfield, but a late rally preserved the attraction for 2012.

The fate of one of the more popular Halloween destinations, Spooky Stalks, was a little shaky late this summer.

An unprecedented drought throughout the summer stunted the growth of crops around the state – including the corn that’s essential to the maze at Spooky Stalks. Fortunately, Spooky Stalks co-owner Bruce Winter said a late rally fueled by healthy rains sustained most of the maze for 2012.

Spooky Stalks was founded in 1998 and started as a yard haunt, but quickly grew and became a full-blown haunted cornfield in 2005. It’s the only haunted cornfield in Milwaukee, and is just south of the Falls border at 12000 W. Appleton Ave.

“It’s affecting us to the extent that we can’t use the whole area that we normally do. Luckily, we have a wooded section that we can use as part of the trail,” Winter said. “We got later rains which helped it a lot. We planted a second time, but that didn’t get a chance to grow because of the early frost.”

Winter said they lost about 25 percent of the corn maze, which was better than what he expected in summer. Winter, like farmers across the state, was dealt a perfect storm of unfortunate weather this year. Frost came late in spring, rain was sparse, and a another frost came early in fall.

“This year it hasn’t been exactly the best for growing,” Winter said. “Frost has knocked the pumpkins out too. It’s also affected the vegetable farmers all over the area as well.”

Winter said they added some new features to the wooded section of the walk to make up for the lost space in the cornfield. They also redesigned the barn at the haunt.

There are only a limited number of weekends to visit Spooky Stalks since the calendar chopped a weekend out of October this year. The haunted cornfield will open for its first visitors from 7-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. They are also open during the same hours Oct. 19-20, and Oct. 26-27. Admission is $10.

To learn more, visit Spooky Stalks online, or enjoy our recap of the haunt from last year.

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