View Full Version : Hayride or Trail or both possible?

02-28-2012, 08:31 PM
Greetings all... we just received some good news, that is we have been given pretty much a green light to do a haunted hayride or trail and here's the kicker it's on a golf course, or part of it I should say. I'm actually good friends with the operator/leasor and just never crossed my mind to ask them.

I've been on the forums for a few years now, and digested most of the topics but would like some advice or input if possible. (1) can you get higher throughput on a haunted trail (depends on how long) vs a hay ride? I know there's upteen factors here, but, my guess is higher with a trail. Then, I thought why not offer both... having roped path for the trail along side the hayride road path. Those going to the trail would have to wear bright green vest, like those construction workers wear. Good bad idea? As long as customers keep off the hayride path, which think just use roping. Any thoughts, sure this has been contemplated many times over. I just think the trail would be scary and longer for those desiring. I know the sets would need to be designed for dual purpose of trail and hayride then.

Next hurdles, I can get car batteries for about $25 a pop that I could use for LED lighting in the scenes and recharge as necessary. This would power some of the scences where generator unable to reach. Good/Bad idea? I do know about the dew and water issues with props and resetting up things each night...etc

I do know about the hayride trailer weight req's and loading/unloading customers can be a problem.

How much idle time between scences is too much/not enough, aka (is 1 min too much)? or, what's the rule of thumb here for hay rides. I know everything must be timed out for the best results. Of top of head, thinking every 30sec to 1min or so.

There's several lakes on the course we could incorporate into the show, maybe an ultrasonic pond misters...etc. Sunken ship... any must do's anybody can think of using the ponds?

We'll been attending the Transworld and going to the Insane Shane's party so we'll have to catch up with some of yas!


02-28-2012, 08:46 PM
The thought of hay wagons full of patrons driving across a golf course makes me think of pure destruction to the course.
If it has rained heavily the wagons will be leaving ruts in the course. This could cause major damage to the course which your friend might require you to repair costing you thousands.
If it were anywhere else I would say go for the wagons and come see us at TW (booth 341 Zombie Safari paintball Hayride). Its been our experience even if you rope off the wagon areas you will have customers going under the ropes to try and scare or jump on the wagons.
This can be dangerous if someone slips and gets ran over by the wagons.
I might have misunderstood your plans for the wagons and you might have an alternate route for the wagons besides the golf course itself.
I dont mean to be a downer, just know the damage a heavy trailer can cause going through a field not prepared for them.
Come see us at our booth and we can talk about your options.


02-28-2012, 09:02 PM
Greg... good point on tearing up the grass parts, for the most part we'd be following sections of the golf cart paths (blacktoped or concreted paths forget which) I know these are only about 5 ft wide so trailers would likely tear up one side or the other. I did think about this momentarily, but, now that you mentioned we'll have to put more thought into it. I don't know if putting down limestone along the existing golf cart paths is possible yet (hopefully so).

There's probably no good way around doing both trail and hayride along same paths as you mentioned those going off the designated trail onto the trailer path, and a single rope isn't going to prevent that. The paths would have to be far enough apart.... welp, these are the exact answers I'm looking for !

Sure, we'll stop by!

02-28-2012, 10:30 PM
You can't count on a peice of rope keeping patrons out of an area for safety reasons. If you have a walking and hayride attraction that close it will be an issue. And did you mean to have every patron wear reflective vests? Depends on your throughput, but if you only have 10 scenes, and have 8 patrons at each scene, with one group taking off vests and one putting on vests, you have a lot of work and at least 100 vests to have on hand.

You definately need to look into what kind of wagons, what is pulling them, and how they handle. Even with another 2 feet on either side of a golf path I am not sure a trailer that can be used for a hayride can manuver along a golf cart path. And yeah, with the tractor pulling them, the grip it needs, and the added weight on full trailers, anything that is not a paved road or dirt road will get creamed even in good weather. At best, the stone idea on the golf cart paths would become a permament feature to the course.

Being a first year, not having the hayride elements in place, you might bet better off just working on a trail. You can probally budget time and building materials better on a trail if you have never done a hayride. They both are very different rountines for actor training and prop placement.

As for the car batteries, maybe that will work. Led, halogen, and low voltage lighting are your friends, but you also need to consider sound and write off any fog machines or animatronics for thoes scenes.

02-28-2012, 10:50 PM
You don't need a tractor to traverse a golf cart path either. Look at a tram rental.

02-28-2012, 11:19 PM
The idea behind the bright vests was so the tractor lights would shine and illuminate where if any folks are in the way, but, it would add
possible problems doing both it sounds. I know the wagons would have to have the proper weight tonage, decent tires..etc and the
tractors are bad boys, plenty of horses.

We're pretty fortunate, as we've been told we can use their 3 tractors and trailers without cost
like I said, I'm a good friend of owner, and tractors or trailers wouldn't cost anything. Although, I haven't seen all the trailers and
might need to add another 4th or 5th of each. The only cost incurred is building structures, props, sound, electrical generator(s) as the
use of land is essentially free, they've somewhat agreed to the profit of food, beverages...etc as payment, but, it won't be much maybe 5-8% at the most. We're very lucky so far.

However, I think limestone on sides of cart parth and any cut thru's would have to happen. Sounds as though it will be torn to heck.
Yeah, I don't know if it's possible from a scene timeline to construct trail and hayride alongside each other... still pondering that. Probably
too much of a liablity, have to ask Ken D from Westland Ins for assistance on this...

I do like car battery idea, low voltage always big plus, but, yes, pnuematics and fog would hardly be possible. However, I think I can
pull of sound with 12v. Or, perhaps, do like the Bates Haunted Hayride and have it built into the tractor/trailer combo.

Another thought, I could use wiper motors with some of these scenes with car batteries... just thinking out loud here.

scary bill
02-29-2012, 07:19 PM
I would suggest just a trail. We do a haunted train ride and have limited throughput. With a hayride, figure maybe 20 per wagon, 5 wagons, a 20 minute ride, then 10 minutes for load-unload. That is 100 people per round, 2 rounds per hour, total 200 people per hour. With a trail, how many can walk in an hour? Gasoline for tractors would add up, five tractors, 1 gal hr, open 5 hrs a night, at $4.00/gal. Thats a hundred a night min. Plus the added operators. Plus it is easier to scare form the ground walking vs the wagon. The wagon gives a disconnect from the scene, and the scares. It give a comfort zone for the customer, when you want them on the edge. Just my thoughts, either way, best of luck to you.

02-29-2012, 08:01 PM
hey Bill... I figured about 220 per hr, so very close, I didn't realize load/unload time would be 10min for each cycle - thats alot of time added up by end of nite. Depending on crowd size, we'd only run additional tractors when necessary but the gas is something we'd deal with and not a substantial amount in the big scheme. The reason I'm trying to justify and hayride over a trail is because the course is located in a heavily populated area with thousands of families and so I think we can get whole families to bite vs. just the kids and capitalize on the aspect. I do know it's not quite as scary and is somewhat of a buffer, but, I think overall we could get more folks with a hayride and competition is nill to say the least where regular haunts we'd have some competition. I was thinking make it half hayride and half trail and might be more intriguing to customers...best of both worlds, less gas...etc. A Hayride would be something new to the area whereas there's a few trails. I think Hayride just rings louder in the community hear and we can target the parents, maybe even have family packages..etc I have to remember the overhead is much more with a ride vs trail, so we'll have to really talk this over. Do Appreciate the feedback !!

03-01-2012, 12:13 AM
Haunted Trail is cheaper to operate but might be more expensive to build because you have keep people contained to a certain path where as on a hayride you can control what they see and what you decorate. In the end I think a hayride is more popular than a trail but at the same time they are not as scary. There are pros and cons to everything.

If you can do both.


03-01-2012, 11:48 AM
Larry.... I'm 100% with you on this as far as hayrides being "favored", it seems like the more fun alternative but with lower scare factor. I think several factors make it so (1) they see it as something comparable to a ride at Disney World or you local roller coaster park (2) lets be honest, you don't have to do anything (lazy factor) you jump in trailer and essentially the scares come to you or you could say the customer feels more entitled and catered to (3) folks feel safer and appears to be more controlled environment, (4) Being on a wagon with 25 people is more like a party, fear, laughter and fun are more contagious. In the end, the fun factor beats out the scare factor to a certain degree.

I think Larry's partially right about the cost, hayride scenes need to be bigger but you can get away with less scenes. Whereas, a trail you would likely need to double the scenes..however, majority would be smaller. The scene design/buildout might in the end actually average out to about the same cost. The additional killer expenses are the tractors and trailers and gas. I recounted the number last night and I accounted for delays..etc and amazingly for a 25/30 minute event both the hayride and haunted trail are quite equal in throughput, give or take 10-25 folks total for each. I couldn't believe this.... it's very hard to manage the departures times of guests and with a trail you have more likelihood of bottleneck/congo line issues because of lack of crowd control vs. hayride as referring to what Larry said, you have more control of your customers with a hayride.

Here are some more facts, with a hayride you'd have nearly 7-8x less prop activations and human live scares that need to happen. For instance, using 5 trailers/wagons you can manage about 5-6 departures per hr x 5hrs = 25+ departures total for 1 evening. As compared to trail, you'll have 200+ departues/activations/human-live scares... so bottom line hayrides are much easier on your props and actors by almost 8 fold. This was pretty interesting fact I never thought much about, less pneumatic capacity req's also with hayrides. Quality control would be much easier, although, on the flip side each scene needs to be stellar to be impactfull.

In the end, a hayride has the potential to have a higher throughput that is (if you care not too do congo lines thru your haunted trail) here's the catch you're limited by managing your departure times and load/unload sequences. You would have to have at minimum 9 tractor/trailers being pulled and have divided customer lines (9) with min. of 20-25 guest each. This might be kind of hard to pull off, but, the idea is to be able to load/unload multiple wagons at the same time as this would maximize your throughput and utilize the clock the most efficiently. This would almost ensure 9-10 trailers per hour say for 5 hrs, so around 1000+ guest per evening with avg. of 22 guest per wagon. There's no way hardly with a trail you could achive these numbers in 5hr span without serious bottlenecks/congo lines, you'd have to have departures each 30 seconds which is almost guarantee of congo lines. Now, if you don't care, this would avg. about 160-200 guest per hr x 5hr = 1000+ guest per evening. Only if you had 9 hayride trailers could you compete with these numbers of haunted trail. Realistically, a trail with evenly split 30 sec departures won't happen you'd create a large congo line and piss off your guests, that's why, the hayride in the end really has more potential for higher throughput with the ability to more tightly control and manage the clock. I love to hear from anyone, and maybe I'm wrong on some calculations and missing something, but, challenge me here... maybe it's too hard to manage 9-10 hayride trailers and in turn would increase delays that reduces throughput ??? anyone?


03-01-2012, 09:33 PM
Jim, lets make it simple. YOU NEED THESE! Come see me at TW booth 341 ZOMBIE SAFARI PAINTBALL ATTRACTIONS12281

03-02-2012, 10:16 PM
Overall, Hayrides and trails are different animals. You need to pick what best fits your needs. You need to take into consideration everything that you will have to construct, what you can leave and what you will have to set and re-set from year to year. For the long-term, you'll find yourself more room to grow with a walk thru haunt, and you will find the capacity of a hayride is limiting vs. a trail. Coordinating a hayride is much more complicated then a walk-thru too.

Food for thought - is this golf course the BEST location for your business? Just because something is free and convenient, doesn't necessarily mean it is the best decision to start a business. Look around at a few other locations just to get a different perspective on things and affirm that the golf course is the best available location. Don't commit something for you to have to set up and take down every night, you'll kill youself and/or crew.

I absolutely believe that you can put more customers through per hour in a walk-thru haunt.

I believe to start-up a hayride will be more expensive than a trail. (tractors, wagons, and fuel are just a drop in the bucket)

I am happy to discuss this with you at TW further.


03-03-2012, 12:16 PM
Yeah, I think the cooridination of hayride creates alot more overhead than realizing. Good point about free usage not being the best critia to judge location by, I think this is something I need to reconsider, it's a bit awkward to think of making one onto a golf course, but, it does have it's benefits in many ways. The biggest factor is there's literally about thousand homes within walking distance and they have all the contact and email information of the residents already, that they send fliers out. With so many families around I thought the hayride might be the best way to start and then follow up with a trail the following year. The comment about having more diverse building options with your huant trail (excellant point!). But, even so... it's must be a good fit for both parties as I agree very much so with what you're saying. Sounds good brother, we'll catch up this week at Transworld....


03-03-2012, 04:35 PM
I don't want to shoot you down on the spot, I don't know the area or the course... I am just suggesting that you want to explore your options before you jump in feet first. Once you pick your spot to start, you can always move... If you choose to build your haunt on space that isn't designated for your business all the time, it will be hard to grow. There are many great haunts that set up and take down every year, or even some that operate hayrides on public roads and bring in every set at night. If you were given a section of woods that could be secluded from the rest of the course and you could keep everything up year-round, then you'll be in much better shape.

I guess what you have to ask yourself is, how big do you want this thing to be at its best. Is this something you want to do for a living (somewhere down the road) or a hobby to supplement your income. Next, do you want to entertain parents and kids? Or teens and young adults?

I don't want to give any unsolicited advice, nor do I want to do anything to distort your vision.


scary bill
03-03-2012, 06:37 PM
spookjj, one thing about the hayride is you can target younger kids and parents/grandparents. I find most of our income is from the older groups. another thing to think about is sound. We have a sound system on the train for background and for scares. That was a huge upgrade on the ride when we did it, you might consider that. An advantage to the ride is that you control the ride speed. Also you have some effects you could not with a trail (flash pots, flame thrower).
Good luck on your choices.

03-04-2012, 09:39 AM
How did you design your sound system? We used 1000w power inverters to power 550w 120v Behringer self powered, full range PA speakers. This route has just proved to be too unreliable for us to this point. I would like to go with a 12v surround system. Just curious to see what others use.

scary bill
03-04-2012, 04:01 PM
Here is our set-up. It was my design so take it for what its worth. We have a train with two 40' long cars. I use 3 sets of speakers in each car evenly spaced. To power it i use a 600watt car stereo amp. The speakers are form best buy, indoor/outdoor, about 6x9 in size. I run the sysem on 4 channels, 2 for each car. It is wired in parrallel(this is for ohms). The amp can go down to 2 ohms(thant would be 4 speakers in parrallel). We use 2 deep cycle bateries wired together in parrallel. I think I have a 3000 watt inverter used on it. The amp is 12 volt, but i run sound off my lap-top computor(120vac). I also have 20 electronic fire crackers that are hooked up also(these are under the seats, nice effect. I run audacity for the background track, and the idle track. For this i spliced together some good background clips. our ride is between 16 and 19 minutes, so my track is 22 min long. Then I also use windows audio player for individule scare tracks. I ride in the car and run it. Hope this helps. I want to do the indiviules clips on powerpoint as slides so i can just push a button at each scare. I is not possible to set it as the speed varies .

I came up with this 3 years ago, not a single problem(not counting operator), the customers thought this was the best improvement we made on the event.

Rock River Thresheree "TRAIN OF TERROR"

03-04-2012, 06:59 PM
scary bill... quick recap, you have 2 heavy duty 12 volt car batteries connected together (doesn't that add up to 24v ?) or not sure what you mean by parallel :( and connected to you tractor's alternator, or, just recharge with chargers daily? Then these power your 600watt car stereo amp which your laptop audio out runs to...correct? Do you power your laptop from the inverter or just run off laptop battery? would think former

Patrick.. are you having problems with sound going off (think fautly inverter?) or just inconsistancies with inverter performing the 12v to 110v? I've never used inverter yet, so unsure of the issues at hand. But, as mentioned, going to 12v all the way around might be the most reliable.

scary bill
03-04-2012, 07:24 PM
spooky, I run the laptop off of the inverter. As far as the other, you could just hook the stereo and inverter to the tractor battery. You would only need a small inverter for the lap-top(400watt is fine). We use the batteries because we have a steam powered locomotive,( it doesnt have an alternator or battery). Hooking to the tractor would make it easy.

03-04-2012, 07:43 PM
So now that this is about sound I am SO in on the CONVO!

Behringer= yuck! Mackie = yay!

All this inverter talk and whatnot is overkill guys!

Depending on your setup your sound situation will vary GREATLY.

When at all possible send that sound from above, one speaker on each end should do you fine!

For ease of use purposes, use PASSIVE speakers. That way you wont need to plug each speaker in, just run a 1/4" or XLR cable into the back of the speaker, and a poweactualr amp near ou to control the volume. Now as far as music goes, download Virtual DJ, unlike Sedative, you can run it without a controller, its a two channel mixer so you can easily and seamlessly play whatever you whenever you want and can even set hot cues! That's the best way to go in my opinion. You will only need to power the amp so there's only one thing to plug in other than your laptop and you can literally run those speaker cables anywhere invisibly! That and passive speaker's tend to be harder to break than.active speakers and are far less expensive! :)

scary bill
03-04-2012, 08:24 PM
scream, we use 3 sets per car, it works good. we have scenes set up on both sides so i use individule sides for the scene sounds and stereo of the background track. pretty much what you say is how we are set up. running speaker wires and hiding them is easy

03-04-2012, 10:10 PM
Yeah I figured but I like talking about sound and lighting Haha. And it wwas more for Jim since he hasn't put his together yet lol.

03-05-2012, 04:55 AM
Behringer= yuck! Mackie = yay! Agreed. It's only money.

We're going the 12v route on the ride this year. BTW it is much more expensive to properly outfit the wagons 12v than 110v w/ inverters. But... you get what you pay for. We've gotten 2 years out of this system, its time for a change.

Thanks for the info Bill and scream


03-05-2012, 08:58 AM
Yeah it is, and I'm not a big fan of inverters in the least bit, I'm a big friend of kiss, keep it simple stupid! Once you throw all that extra stuff in there it becomes a bigger hassle than you need.


Is the free version for anyone to try out, it eliminates the need for an external mixer and there's even an iPad app for anyone that has an iPad, it's one of the more user friendly DJ softwares out there. =)

03-05-2012, 11:21 AM
So here's the question I should have asked earlier, what about subwoofers on trailers... has anyone done so ? I'm actually very technical, but, smart enough to know that learning from others mistakes is better :) There's plenty a number of touch screen juke box software out there that would do the job, also, you can buy touch screen kits on ebay for reasonable to convert say a small 12" laptop that would likely work fine. I like the idea of pimping out the trailers and then you have this dash board on the tractor/train...where you control everything mostly, sounds like more fun that one should ever have, lol

Scarybill... dying to see some pictures of you train? I was wondering if you could pick up a old school bus and convert to a long trailer and pull with a tractor (lots of welding). Probably cheaper finding a long trailer... but the thought is interesting.

I still didn't understand hooking 2 batteries in parallel means as I would think this gives you 24volts, unless you place some resistors to lower to 12v and thus this would give you longer charge in the end.

How do fog machines run off inverters, if running sound has issues wondering if even worth effort of trying fog machines...etc