No announcement yet.

suggestions on hay rides....

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • suggestions on hay rides....

    Are there any scares that work really well on a hayride?
    Scaring 30-40 people at one time is not the same as a small group..

    Any suggestions from people who have been running one a while?

    examples.. Is it a good idea to have a loading area raised to the height of the wagon? or just make them step up? Covered wagon? Fire? Electricity/ generators/ battery?

    I will keep this thread going all year.. so feel free to post photos/ suggestions when you can.

    thank you!!
    Fables Studios
    Your Home For Horror

  • #2
    I prefer to work in the realm of a haunted hayride and I have years of experience with haunted hayrides, a few quick thoughts I have regarding your questions are:

    I believe that there are a number of scares that can work well on a hayride, however, as with all scares, regardless of the setting, in my opinion, it boils down to this; to what extent are you willing to go to in order to get a good quality scare? In other words, you'll get out of it, what you put into it. if you want a hayride that doesn't choose to go out and create big sets or builds, or go into the finer details or add pneumatics/animatronics or any number of other effects, or quality costuming and good actor instruction, then you've just limited your hayride and the results it will or could bring.* So the answer is yes, there are scares that will not only work very well for hayrides but many of them are also ideal for hayrides, as long as you are willing to invest into them.

    No matter how big or detailed a hayride might be, it can be difficult to scare 20 to 30 people on a hayride for a few reasons, two of those top reasons are simple, first: there is strength in numbers. Secondly: no two people are alike. Now add in to the mix that a hayride lacks what many walk through haunts offer, in which its guests must often navigate their way through pitch black, close quarters for an overall feeling of claustrophobia, while brushing past creepy characters, which of course a hayride would not offer any of those indoor advantages, however, a hayride in autumn out on a dark trail has its own advantages that simply can not be replicated indoors, so therefore it's smart to use those things to your benefit and play to that strength. My thought when I design sets/scenes for a hayride is this; I know I can't scare them all but I can entertain them all!

    As for the raised loading area, I have worked with and without a raised loading dock (as I call it) and based on both of my experiences, I will take a raised loading dock every time and here's why I say that; A raised loading dock eliminates some negatives or concerns right from the start, a raised loading dock, with a plank like system and hand rail seems to give the guests a more comfortable, safer and may I say, a more even way to board the wagon. Without a raised loading dock, I have seen people run around the wagon throwing caution to the wind, I've seen some slip and fall from moist ground in an over zealousness to get the "best seat." With their enthusiasm to board, I have even seen some run in between the wagon and tractor, hopping/tripping over the hitch (put a stop to that immediately!)* So in my opinion, a raised loading dock offers a safer, quicker and surer way to get your guests boarded and situated. I also recommend a raised dock for disembarkation.

    In regards to a covered wagon, fire, electricity and so on, I would be happy to offer my thoughts on all, So feel free to send me a message if you'd like.

    I want to mention that I have a few hayride themes which might be called, true productions. I have spent endless hours in developing, the story line, scares, characters and more, all of which are truly original and unique, very detailed with the target goal being to make the hayride guests feel as though they traversed through a movie that was taking place around them! It is my hope to make these hayride themes a reality, so if you might have an interest in this, I'd welcome the chance to speak further with you about that as well. Best of luck with your hayride endeavors.


    • #3
      I had the opportunity to visit Cheesmans Fright Farm this season. It's a hayride with a pretty cool corn maze going on. They had a big ass diesel tractor come flying up on the trailer we were in, looking like it was going to smash into us. Shot flames out, etc. It was very nicely done. Give them a shout, see if they'll give you some input
      Like a midget at a urinal, you gotta be on your toes


      • #4
        Thank you!!

        I try to check this as often as I can.. Sorry for the delay. Thank you for the advice/suggestions.

        Peter T
        Fables Studios
        Your Home For Horror


        • #5
          Greetings all,* Each time I look in on the forum I do so with the anticipation of seeing additional comments regarding this particular post, I notice that*the reads or view count continually grows upward despite a lack of new or further observations which would in the very least indicate*some interest in the topic of Haunted Hayrides!

          If you meander over to the Haunted Hayride section on Hauntworld you'd find*a nice*introduction*that is than followed by a listing of approximately 32 haunts which are said to feature a Haunted Hayride as a whole or part of their attraction. Since Haunted Hayrides are my favored type of haunt to be a part of, I had hopes that Fables Studios/Peter's initial post would open a door to uncovering various insights for*these unique and thrilling territorial type haunts.
          It is my*ambition that this far too wordy return of mine will get the ball rolling or rather the wagon wheels turning.

          In my first response I didn't give any*specific scare ideas,*however, being a "for hire haunter" I always try to bring in new and creative ways to deliver scares*for*each Haunted Hayride I'm a part of,*I prefer to*base my scares*around the rides storyline.*Though as I previously stated*there are a number of ways to garner generalized startles and scares on a Haunted Hayride.*To be more definitive a few "standard"*scare techniques are; Objects that appear to drop down or*tip/fall forward over the top of or along the sides of the passing wagon.*Actor operated shutters or doors on buildings that*slam downward causing loud bangs always work well since*people expect shutters and doors to open/swing outward not*slam downward, the door fall is especially effective when accompanied by a raised porch or deck. Air cannons can create a nice unexpected startle scare when used directly overhead or out of sight at leg/feet level, never*aim an air cannon at head or face level. The misdirection*of a well placed pneumatic prop or pyrotechnic effect can give your live actor the opportunity to get in a good scare. Sometimes something as simplistic as having a hidden actor softly toss a few tiny plastic spiders or a*dollar store rubber rodent which you wrap in faux fur onto the passing wagon*can be*just two of the many*little tricks you can do to create some*wonderfully unexpected, truly simplistic yet*welcomingly*affordable*scares.*Of course the chainsaw is a must and remains the centerpiece of scares on a Haunted Hayride, unlike a chainsaw used in other environments, the guests on a Hayride can not escape*the saw wielding maniac by running away! These are*just a few and simpler but effective and fun scare ideas that can be used on a Haunted Hayride.

          You asked about covered wagons, I'm sure there are supporters for covered wagons, though I "cut my teeth" on "old school" flatbed/wood deck,*side-less Haywagons and these are still my preferred type/style of wagons to use today! However, I must be honest and say that I have never been involved with a Haunted Hayride that ran covered wagons, so I can't present any tried and true testimonial on the subject, so the following is my opinion, which could be debatable, but with that said, here goes: If you asked about covered wagons with the mindset being that a covered wagon may benefit your Hayride operations during inclement weather, my*thought would be this, if it's too wet for guests to be on a Haywagon, than its likely too wet to have*a Hayride open! Again, this is my opinion and*I base it on these following*facts, unless you have a covered queue line and ways to keep your actors, props, pneumatics, lighting and various other effects/scenic elements protected from heavily wet weather, along with a way to prevent the Hayride trail from becoming a muddy mess, than covered wagons, won't make much of a difference,*for keeping operations running,*that is "if" weather was the only*basis for*your covered wagon*inquiry?* Though while on the subject of wagons, here are a few additional thoughts I'd like to mention. First, I have never been in favor of a Hayride running tandem trailers. I would rather add a few more tractors and wagons then pull doubles. Secondly, Regardless of which type of wagon you use its key to run wagons that can adequately accommodate the number of guests you wish to bored per ride. One of the top complaints I read*from guests pertaining to the experience*they've had*on their Hayride, is that they felt as though they were packed like sardines on the ride. Lastly, there are a number of wagon options out there to select from, though a Landscapers trailer should not be among those selections, in my opinion.

          Fire was also something you had*mentioned, so I'm going to assume you meant pyrotechnic fire effects or fire displays, such as propane cannons, flame throwers/shooters or fire bursts? My thoughts on the subject are these: As long as safety is a top priority and all safety procedures are followed, as well as taking nightly wind conditions into consideration then fire displays or pyrotechnics can be an ideal addition to a Haunted Hayride. Furthermore, if you wish to compete with some of the larger Haunted Hayrides then fire displays and pyrotechnics are almost a must! Though fire effects have become quite common today, from football games to mice on ice shows, a well timed, properly placed fire burst will still get a rousing response almost every time.

          Next was electricity followed by generators,*(Disclaimer: I am not an electrician,*therefore I am basing*these comments*on my*observations and limited*learning's*of the*subject)*I'll*start by covering electric and generators*together*as the purpose of both*would be*to power your trail,*though there is no need to weigh the pros and cons between the two and*I*am fairy certain that a Hayride would select electric over generators for multiple reasons if given the choice.*I will assume*that you own*the property which your Hayride will take place on, as this would likely be a determining factor when it comes*to proceeding forward on an undertaking*such as*this.*Another consideration might be*to get one to two years of Hayride operations under*your belt before*taking on the work and costs of running electric out*onto the trail, this would*give you the chance to see*if*there is indeed a market for your Hayride, prior to investing the*extra expenditures*that accompany this type of addition. However, if you would like to*go the electrical route right away, than a few things to consider are; most Hayrides (or at least those that I have been a part of) tend to run*buried electric over aerial. Of course each state has its own set of rules/regulations that need to be followed but the least amount of depth that*an*electric cable*can be buried is 18". The most common and least expensive method is direct burial of UF type electrical cable, ran through certified pipe. Again, I am not an electrician, I am merely passing along info based on what I have encountered*while working*on*Haunted Hayrides, so let me be sure to say one more time that no matter where you are, you will need to follow all local regulations as well as those that are set in place by NEC.*A plus side*on*electric,*is that most*service providing companies*will allow you to*set up your account as "Seasonal services" though a minimal disconnect/reconnect fee will apply,*however,*"if" your service is disconnected for longer then six months at a time, some companies may require you to be re-inspected.*On a negative side*pertaining to*generators,*keep in mind that they need to be secured,*this*usually means you'll be lugging in a number of*these beasts each night.*The topic of electric*allows me to*bring up two additional*related points, first*is lighting, many Haunted Hayrides are simply under lit, in order to help with this*circumstance a number of Haunted Hayrides will add/use tiki torch lights, every time I see these in use I*cringe since it only takes a gust of wind or an overzealous actor to cause a problem! Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't use them, (I won't use them) but if you should choose to use them, please do so with caution. Second, make sure ALL extension cords are heavy duty UL outdoor approved AND properly weather protected, I*still see*an occasional Hayride out there using lightweight extension cords, laying out in the wet/dewy ground/grass with out a bit of* precaution*being*taken to weather proof them!

          Here are a*few thoughts you didn't ask about, though should be contemplated when considering a start up Haunted Hayride:

          Location: In a perfect world every Haunted Hayride would have a trail*enveloped by an*ambiance equal to that of*the darkest, most*twisted, foreboding fairytale imaginable, however, reality can so often be a cruel mistress, which translates to this, we get what we get and we work with it the best we can, I still think I might be the only one who's ever built a Haunted Hayride in a parking lot? We know we can't always have ideal settings to work in and most often its*out of our control, though a principle we need to follow is this, regardless of what you'll be working with, when it comes to laying out/designing the pathway for your trail, there should be an emphasis in*mind to do all that you can to*give*each one of your Hayride guests the best view and as equal of a ride as possible. Each guest pays the same price for their ticket, there are no Haunted Hayrides that I know of who sell "restricted or limited view" seating!*So I'm confounded when I see some Haunted Hayrides running*limited views*or one sided only*point of view rides, which means on a Hayride like that, only half of the guests are actually seeing the show! Granted there are times when the location will dictate what we can and can not do, some locations simply don't have equal spacing on each side of the trail, in*environments*like those it is key to attempt to divide up*as much as you can, when and where you can,*by doing this,*each side of every Hayride wagon will have then had*the same or equally similar things to see and scares to experience regardless of where your seated on the wagon!

          Safety: To quote Hauntworld, "Hayrides are a fun and exciting way to celebrate the Halloween season" this sentiment to me, could not be more accurate, though in spite of all of the enchanting attributes a Haunted Hayride offers, it can surely present some unfamiliar quandaries. A*Haunted Hayride brings with it the added responsibility of transporting the general public, some of whom may have special needs, aside from that, newfound duty, you must also safeguard your actors and support staff from moving vehicles that will pass by them a countless number of times each night in low light settings. It is essential to hire drivers that are mature, conduct themselves in a professional manner, posses a clean driving record, committed to safety and will operate their vehicles completely unimpaired. Your drivers should also have someone that they are accountable to, meaning that a few times each evening, someone on your staff checks in with each driver to see that he/she is alert and lucid. No matter if your Hayride is in its first year or its umpteenth year, come up with a set of guidelines that your staff is required to know and follow. Stress it over and over that an actor should NEVER cross in front of the tractor or hop in between the wagon hitch tongue, instruct your drivers or narrators to report either of these offenses to you immediately and address it at once! Be sure your fleet is in top notch working order, there is nothing more maddening than a call about a tractor breaking*down on the trail. In regards to your fleet, it is imperative that you use the proper equipment, towing and braking capacities should always exceed your needs, any farm equipment rental company will be able to assist you with this matter. After reading this it might not seem as though Haunted Hayrides are all that fun and exciting but with a good set of guidelines in place and being followed, Haunted Hayrides are that and more and unless your riding on a broomstick, there's no better way to experience the allure of a fall night under an Autumn moon.

          Securement: At the end of the night an indoor haunt locks its doors, truly a wonderful benefit that is not available to a Haunted Hayride. So what do you do to secure your Hayride at nights end. Well, you can post "Keep Out, No Trespassing and Private Property" signs but Youtube is filled with videos of adventure seeking explorers who ignore such signs to tour various places that are "supposedly" off limits, so, so much for that! There's always the option of hiring a security guard but there is simply no way that a single security guard can watch X amount of acres - sets - equipment and in some cases buildings, so how about a security service, surely that option would offer multiple sets of eyes but that might not be the end to this quandary as you would see by watching a video I stumbled upon on Youtube titled "Found a lion at abandoned zoo !!! posted by No biggie TV" (should you chose to watch it, fast forward up*to the four minute mark and begin the video there) Though to any haunt that hires security with the mindset that the place is " being secured", this video may*give you some second thoughts. Granted the location of the Hayride in the background of the*video is located on grounds that would attract some looky loo's but with*security*that is as welcoming as the one in the video, one can't help but to wonder what purpose they serve? Another Haunted Hayride in the Midwest became so distraught over*the continued level of pilferage and vandalism that they eventually ceased the operation of their Hayride altogether. Now, unfortunately I do not have the answer that would guarantee the safekeeping of a Haunted Hayride. I have been a part of many Haunted Hayrides in many states over the years and other than taking basic safety precautions such as the tarping of pneumatics, bringing in generators, as well as certain/some props, there isn't much*more that one can do. Perhaps or "hopefully" someone might be able to provide more help/insight on this subject then I but it is something you should be aware of, since signage or security services are not an automatic*guarantee that a Haunted Hayride will be spared from thievery or deliberate damage.

          Monitoring your Hayride actors: Since no one can be everywhere and you can only "walk" the trail so many times a night, it can be difficult to properly monitor the actors you have out on a Hayride trail. In my experience I have found that in some instances the open area of an outdoor haunt can sometimes tend to give "certain" actors a sense that they are out there on their own and because of that, some will take advantage of it. You can motor down the trail on an ATV vehicle and though*doing that will assure you that you will indeed cover more ground quicker, unfortunately it is also a dead giveaway to the actors that you are approaching, which means* so much for a stealthy observation! You can bored a wagon and take the ride to get the perspective of your guests BUT that won't help you to see what is happening with your acing staff when there is not a wagon in*their scene, same rule applies for having the tractor driver/narrator keep you informed, as they too can only see what is happening as they pass by, as opposed to a "behind the scenes" view. It is my opinion that it is a bit more difficult to monitor Hayride actors then actors working in an indoor environment, I have had my share of managing indoor haunts, so therefore I realize that indoor or outdoor,*managing an acting staff*is never an easy assignment*but it is my opinion that*this task*is a bit more difficult and a bit more of a necessity*for an outdoor haunt,*so keep in mind that*a watchful eye can and will*make a difference, while helping to set a tone that you run and professional haunt and unprofessionalism is not acceptable.

          I*wish to again,*apologize for this far to long of a post,*however, the purpose for it, is to try and share some knowledge on Haunted Hayrides that I have*gathered during my*involvement with these types of haunts.*It is my hope that*other Haunted Hayride*enthusiasts*might be willing to share their thoughts and insights on the topics I attempted to cover or add in any other additional topics that pertain to Haunted Hayrides, as I am truly*interested in*all points of view, on all aspects and*I'm always eager to continue*my education and learn as much as I can*on the type of haunts that I*have been*so passionate about for so long.* Thank you for your time and long live the Haunted Hayride!
          Last edited by Ghost write 13; 02-10-2017, 12:30 AM.


          • #6
            Great information!

            Great information here, Ghost Write! I have been on this board for years and I think today is the first time I have looked at the Hayride section. I may have an opportunity to gain access to 70 acres with a couple ponds and about 1.3 acres of pre-existing trails that appear plenty wide enough for a tractor and hay wagon to travel on them. So I've started thinking about hayrides a lot. I've spent most of my time working on indoor attractions and the occasional forest here and there, but never a hayride, and never building one up from nothing.

            My main concerns right now revolve around things like how many tractors and wagons do I need? How many minutes should be between wagons heading out? Are there any techniques for managing a hayride where some trails may be a single track and you have multiple wagons traveling it (special turnouts for one wagon to wait for the other to pass, GPS-enabled tracking systems so all tractors know the location of all other tractors at all times, etc.)?

            I'll make sure to keep an eye on this thread, and I'm sure I'll have more questions if things start to progress.

            Chief Engineer/Co-Creative Director
            HUSH Haunted Attraction



            • #7
              Thank you eanderso13, I'm glad you found my post and I hope it was useful. The parcel of land you described sounds like an ideal setting for a Haunted Hayride and should you move forward with the endeavor I would be happy to assist you in any capacity.

              As for your initial questions, here are my thoughts; without knowing the location and it's demographics or what type of advertising campaign you might launch, I would say that four tractors and four wagons should be sufficient for an inaugural season.

              In reference to the departure times or spacing in between the rides, this is something that you will be able to determine and adjust while you're up and running. Though do keep in mind that your talent (actors) and animatronics, or tech activated gags/scares will all need time to properly re-set themselves before the next approaching tractor enters into the set. A helpful tip to assure a smooth rhythmic flow is; assign a person to the loading area who you believe would make a proficient controller, it's this controllers responsibility to maintain a safe, orderly, expeditious flow of the loading and leaving of each ride. A good controller who's astute will quickly develop a pattern and in time, can even learn to determine if a driver is traversing the trail too fast or too slow based on how quickly or slowly they're returning back to the loading area!

              Another tip that may seem small and unimportant (though it isn't) is this; if your controller makes the call to speed up the flow of wagon departures, your trail manager needs to quickly go to set to set to inform the talent that wagons will be rollin hard and heavy. These small things can be the difference between chaos and control.

              You brought up the subject of single track (trail) lanes for multiple vehicle passage. Being honest I do not have a clear understanding of this so I wouldn't want to give a wrong answer. However, and I am just "spit balling" here but as I was reading your message the first thing that came to my mind was a traffic roundabout or rotary! Something like that might be an option for you? In the very least it could be a Hayride first and if you built a raised set in the center of the roundabout your guests may not even realize they're stopped and waiting for trail clearance. A roundabout could be a Hayride version of "theatre in the round" haha.

              Though with the acreage you mentioned and the fact that you would be creating your Hayride from the ground up, I'm sure there would be enough space and options to create additional safe routes of passage. As for GPS devices, I would lean more towards some type of "portable" anti-collision devices instead but again, without having a complete comprehension of the situation I can only offer these few quick thoughts. Thank you again and feel free to contact me directly if you'd like. Happy Halloween.


              • #8
                Thanks for the input! I have to say, the roundabout idea is novel...I really like it. From looking at aerial photography and rough sketches of the trails I think that may actually be very feasible.

                For the flow and spacing, I was thinking maybe 6 minutes between wagons, and trying to hit 30 minutes for the ride, which I calculate at needing 6 wagons (5 on the trail and one loading up). But maybe that is too quick, or maybe 30 minutes for a 1.3 mile trail is not possible without driving painfully slow? But I guess your point is that first year we would not be running at full capacity most nights, if at all, so 4 wagons is probably sufficient to start with.

                Obviously, getting a system down for loading and launching the wagons is key. I would plan on getting a tractor/wagon setup ASAP and testing a few things out just to get some data and tweak it from there.

                And from what I am seeing at other "big" hayrides, many have a "narrator" onboard each wagon. You hvae any insight on the pros and cons of that and what the narrator should or should not be doing or be responsible for?

                Thanks again!
                Last edited by eanderso13; 10-12-2017, 11:40 AM.
                Chief Engineer/Co-Creative Director
                HUSH Haunted Attraction



                • #9
                  You're welcome. I'm glad you liked the roundabout idea and I'm happy to hear that you think it has possibilities, in the very least it could be a unique feature for a hayride.

                  Indeed that was my point, there's no harm in having high expectations. Though, for a first year hayride I really do feel that four tractor and wagons rigs would be sufficient, it's enough to achieve a nightly rhythm of rides, while keeping it all nice and manageable. I respect your calculations but unfortunately "most" calculations regarding a hayride can go down the drain rather quickly. For example: I've been with hayrides that take reservations which were said to have been calculated but by the time our sixth or seventh ride of the night was boarding, those guaranteed ride times were already off target, so hayride calculations tend to end up as being more like approximations.

                  Thank you for asking about the narrator, I think this subject tends to rank low on the Haunted Hayride priority list, so I'm happy to pass along a few of my thoughts on the topic. In my opinion, I believe that the narrator (some hayrides refer to the position as Storyteller or Guide) is a key component in helping to set the ambience for the ride. Sadly, the narrator is often an afterthought which is a mistake since the narrator is the one who will establish some type of rapport with each guest who boards the hayride. It's the narrator who can turn a fair ride into a very good ride and of course this can go the other way as well, so choose your talent for this position wisely!

                  My list of pros and cons on the narrator would have far more pros but to be fair, I will address a few of each.
                  1) Good narrators can capture your guests through the art of storytelling
                  2) Skillful narrators can make wonderful representatives for your hayride
                  3) Sometimes the presence of a narrator can be a deterrent to someone who may be ill-intentioned

                  1) Using a narrator requires a sound system on each wagon
                  2) If left unscripted and uninstructed many narrators will turn to satire
                  3) Though very rare, sometimes a narrator will need to be reminded that they are part of the team and not above the talent behind the masks

                  As for what the narrator should or should not be doing or responsible for; Since the narrator will be seen up close and for a longer period of time than any of your monsters would be, they need to project a professional image, therefore, a narrator should be in Good Quality/Matching costumes which have a connection to the theme of the hayride. They should present themselves as an omniscient being that is there to pass on a story without becoming a part of it! Some humor and ad-lib should be added to their narration, while knowing when, where and how to insert it. It takes a special breed to be a narrator, its not an easy position. Some wagons will be very receptive and enjoy everything, while the next wagon might be completely detached and could care less. The narrator can't take that personally, while remembering that each wagon brings with it a new challenge.

                  Sometime ago I made up a list of things that a narrator is responsible for. This is a copy of the exact list which I include in each narrator pack it. I think it should be insightful with what the responsibility of a narrator is.

                  1) Welcome guests onto the wagon
                  2) Make sure guests are safely boarded and seated
                  3) Explain the rules of the ride
                  4) Report disorderly, obnoxious or intoxicated guests to security
                  5) During the ride, observe guests to ensure they are following the guidelines and in no danger
                  6) In case of emergency, assist guests with de-boarding
                  7) Be personable, interact with the guests
                  8) Monitor our monsters, report any unprofessional or dangerous behavior
                  9) After guests have de-boarded, check wagon and clean up any debris that may have been left
                  10) Be Lively-Witty-Creative-Entertaining-Upbeat and Outgoing, you are a narrator, not a stand up comedian

                  Remember, you represent us, now bring us your lambs, we'll be waiting for them out in the woods...

                  These are a few of my own thoughts on the Haunted Hayride narrator, I hope you will find them interesting. Happy Friday the 13th