The Haunted Hayride: A First Timer’s Guide

With its relative isolation, ties to the Earth, and status in American culture, the farm has been a long-time favorite setting for horror movies and ghost stories. From The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to The Conjuring, stories about countryside hauntings have captured the American imagination.

Today, there is a way to have your own farm horror story play out before your very eyes: the haunted hayride attraction.

What It Is

The haunted hayride is quickly becoming one of the most popular Halloween attractions in the country. Much like a haunted house or castle, a haunted hayride involves wandering through a haunted setting (in this case, a farm) and encountering various spooky characters.

In a haunted hayride, you get a ride on a tractor or cart through a countryside setting filled with scary situations along the way. It may be set on an actual piece of farmland, or in a large urban park, covered with bales of hay and farmhouse-like sets.

Typically, those who visit a haunted hayride do so dressed in Halloween costumes as well for the extra fun.

Before You Go

carved pumpkins for halloween

If you are interested in visiting a haunted hayride attraction, the first thing to do is to book your tickets right away as they can be quite in-demand near the Halloween season.

Plan your trip well. Because of its nature, most haunted hayrides do not admit very young children. It is also good to familiarize yourself with the location as it may be set quite a distance from the Downtown area.

At the haunted hayride itself, there are a few fun booths you could check out before heading in. Some sell Halloween-themed food and decors, while others are for games and activities, such as pumpkin carving.

The Hayride

The ride itself lasts for around 30–45 minutes. Similar to other haunted attractions, the ride will take you through various eerie scenes, such as seances, burnings, and zombie dances. While for some stops you just witness what is happening as an outsider, in others the monsters and creatures hop into the car.

You are then treated to up-close and personal encounters with zombies, monsters, and more. There are also exhibitions in the middle where some of the characters interact with you, speaking to you and making you a part of the show.

Throughout the ride, the sets are also decorated to give the impression of the haunted countryside. As the haunted hayride only takes place at night, it is quite easy to get disoriented during the ride, which means you will only be able to see the light emanating from any haunted scenes.

A big part of the spooky factor is also not being able to see the characters that are about to hop into the car to scare you, but that is also part of the fun.

After the Thrill

It’s always great to relax and unwind after such a harrowing experience. You could go for a quick game at one of the booths or grab something to eat.

If you are up for more spooky adventures, there are many other Halloween attractions, such as haunted mansions. You could also have some fun at a costume party, or if you choose to head home, you might encounter empty roads or buses, which can be an eerie sight in itself.

The haunted hayride is a unique attraction that combines two well-known aspects of American culture — farms and ghost stories. Don’t miss out on these thrills this Halloween season.