“How scary is it, exactly?” asked Sadie.
“Not very,” I said. “It’s mainly for little kids, so it can’t be too scary.”
“But what about Jed?” she asked about her almost-three-year-old brother. “He does NOT like the dark.”
“He’ll be okay, because he’ll be with me and Daddy and you and Josie and Adelaide. It’ll be fun.”
“Well, okay, if you say so… but I don’t know about this.”
We were on our way to our first ever Haunted Hayride experience, and I think maybe 9-year-old Sadie (who is not overly fond of anything that’s weird or creepy) may have been inquiring about the scariness factor as much for her own sake as for her little brother’s.
Dressed in “doubles” (it snowed – in October! – the day before), all the kids waddled out to the car in 2 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of socks, 2 hats, coats, gloves, snow boots and scarves.
“I can’t put my arms down!” quipped Sadie. “Look, I’m Ralphie’s little brother.”
“MOM, it’s not that cold! I am burning up! I will die if I have to wear all of this!” moaned Josie (whose overly-dramatic 8-year-old tendencies have been driving me crazy this week.) “Are you SERIOUS? Two hats. Two HATS? I only have one head!”
“Just put them on and get in the car. Last year, everyone was sick the whole month of October and I do NOT want anyone to end up in the hospital with pneumonia again. Ever!”
After stuffing everyone in to their respective seat-belts, we finally made it to the hayride. We parked (along with a hundred other cars) amidst the dirt-covered snow hills from that morning’s plowing. “That dirty snow looks like Oreo crumbs!” said Adelaide. Then we picked our way through the crowded parking lot and wound ourselves through the muddy cattle-chute maze to take our place in the 7:30pm line. It was pretty cold as we stood there listening to Monster Mash (over and over) – but at least it wasn’t raining!
Jedidiah was excited to see that our wagon was being pulled by a big farm tractor. He does “love him a big ol’ tractor!” We loaded up – all six of us squished onto a wooden bench with Jed on one end and Sadie on the other. The ride itself was fun and it ended up being just the right mix of spooky and funny. Sadie especially enjoyed the corny jokes along the way: why didn’t the skeleton cross the road? Because it didn’t have any guts!
We liked the cage full of dancing skeletons, the King Kong, the Monster Thrift Store, the scary pirate ship and the alien scenes set up throughout the woods. Sadie and I jumped when a “ghost” jumped out at us from the bushes and we all laughed our way through one of the little haunted mazes (well, Adelaide laughed until we came out and then she decided she hadn’t liked it after all…so she cried.)
Josie gave her little sister a piggyback ride to make her feel better, then sat down to rest on a bench next to a stuffed scarecrow – or so she thought. She yelled then laughed when the scarecrow turned and looked right at her!
The kids all stuck close when we walked through the creepy graveyard, and Josie was the only one willing to go into the haunted house (aka tent) with her dad. Everyone else decided we had had enough thrills and chills for one night.
We finished the evening by watching the Glow Stick Dancers (dressed all in black and lit up only by glow sticks – it sounds weird, but it was pretty cool) while we devoured some delicious hot mini-donuts dipped in maple glaze.
On the way out, we barely made it through four pony rides before the cold rain started. We lost one hat and one mitten on our dash to the car, but that was a small sacrifice to pay for a great night of family fun.
“Too scary?” I asked Sadie, once we were all tucked in to the warm car.
“Nope,” she said. “I think that was just about right.”