With the Season of the Witch only days away, we’ll start taking a look at the popular culture and history behind some of our favorite halloween traditions and haunt themes. Tonight’s Haunt profile takes a look at a classic fall tradition and haunt favorite, the haunted hayride.
A hayride is a pleasure ride in an open truck, wagon or sleigh which has been decorated with hay or straw and similar farm life paraphernalia. In modern times it is usually organized commercially and takes place at night.In colloquial English, the term “hayride” has taken on connotations of “good, clean fun” but also of nostalgia, hence the popular expressions “… is no hayride” or “… ain’t no hayride”. The peak time for hayrides is between September and December. While the history of how hayrides started is uncertain, it’s easy to guess that it had something to do with harvesting the hay during fall.
An autumn tradition for centuries, countless kids and adults look forward with great anticipation to the coming of fall so they can participate in this time-honored activity. Why? Because hayrides are more than just sitting atop dried grass while you’re pulled along a dusty, dirt road. Like a country version of a New York City carriage ride through Central Park, hayrides offer a time to snuggle close, enjoy the outdoor scenery, chat and have some fun.
As Haunt Season approaches hayrides take on a more sinister type of nostalgia as they become vehicles to transport hapless victims into dark woods filled with maniacs and ghouls. The experience of vulnerability is amplified as your confined space gets invaded by the creatures of the night. Riding on the open wagon, there’s nowhere to hide as scares descend upon you and your fellow riders from every possible angle, they can even come from up above.
In our Haunt Stalking we’ve found that some of the most elaborate and intense Haunted Hayrides are based on the east coast, in Pennsylvania and New York in particular. Here’s a look at what we’ve found – some we’ve even experienced can truthfully testify that they are the best Haunted Hayrides in America.
America’s Best Haunted Hayrides
2. Bates Motel, Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania
3. Shocktoberfest, Reading, Pennsylvania
4. Field of Screams, Mountville, Pennsylvania
5. Jason’s Woods, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Scare Zone is looking forward to our upcoming East Coast Haunt tour where we plan to experience one of our all time favorites Headless Horseman, and for the first time ever, Bates Motel. Look for our Haunt Review… if we survive.
Hayride Terror Tips:
1) Take an allergy pill if you’re allergic to grass, straw, hay, etc. – it’s real.
2) Don’t wear your Sunday’s best as you’ll inevitability be covered in hay
3) Check the weather forecast and dress warmly as the air can be deathly chill on autumn evenings
4) For the best experience and scares try to sit on the back edge of the wagon. Chickens can find minimal comfort sitting up closer to the tractor
5) Arrive when they open as lines for hayrides can get long and move slowly as they typically only send out wagons every 5-10 minutes apart.