One of the top ten haunted hayride party ideasContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

Hayrides are fine for the 3 to 5 year old crowd; meandering your way through a field of pumpkins and other assorted gourds.

But to really capture the spirit of Halloween, you need to put a fright into the folks. So, let’s take the nice, friendly hayride and haunt it up a bit. How so, you may ask. Aha!

Here are my top haunted hayride party ideas for the industrious Halloweenie:

10. Fog

One of the top ten haunted hayride party ideas

All good haunts begin with setting the mood. Quickly getting hayriders primed for a good scare is a key to a successful haunted hayride. Fog. Fog evokes eerie images of Jack the Ripper, Ichabod Crane and other assorted lovelies. All it takes is a little dry ice and the appropriately directed fog machine to set the stage for the remainder of our list of items.

9. Gore

One of the top ten haunted hayride party ideas

Severed legs, slashed bodies and other assorted gooey, gory props may not send them running for home (that comes later), but it will help promote the right disposition. In other words; Yuck! Disgusting! Gross! And all the other appropriate adjectives required for a good hayride through the moors.

8. Noise

One of the top ten haunted hayride party ideas

Loud, obtrusive noises breaking an otherwise silent or relatively calm ride will get a jump, guaranteed. I’d suggest the use of a chainsaw; there’s just something about them, clowns and Lady Gaga that frighten the most hardened of Halloween toughies. A saw hoisted over the head by a hockey mask-wearing creepazoid will add that little something extra.

7. Tree hangers

One of the top ten haunted hayride party ideas

All good haunted hayrides follow a course through at least some wooded terrain. The trees are our friends on this particular evening, in more ways than one. The perfectly timed, dropping mannequin on a noose, or a big old nasty spider or better still both of the above, stopping a few feet above the heads of riders will send the less worthy screaming for their Mothers.

6. Hitchcock stop

One of the top ten haunted hayrides party ideas

What, pray tell, is a “Hitchcock Stop?” It goes like this: best done at night, dim all lights if any are used at a particular spot on the hayride trail. The anticipation will be high, awaiting the next fright. Alas, nothing and the ride continues unencumbered. Then, after giving the riders time to get re-acclimated, you spring a major scare on ‘em; most any of the haunted hayride list items will do. Hitchcock was famous for building up to a big scare, letting the audience down and then ZING! Just when they thought it was safe to go back in the water (or shower in his case).

5. Fake dead human

One of the top ten haunted hayrides party ideas

Is she fake, or is she real? Using the same premise as a wax museum figure, placing a properly duded up (read gory and disgusting) scary lady poised on the side of the path will get ‘em primed for sure. To get the max from this one, have a few of these throughout the ride, but only one is a real person ready to pounce. They’ll be sweating her all the way home.

4. Hayride chasers

One of the top ten haunted hayride party ideas

Just when the riders thought they’d made it through a particular section of the haunted hayride is when the chaser pounces from behind. As they’re attention is focused forward, prepping themselves for the next haunt, a maniacal ghoul or zombie attacks from the rear. With scares up front and ghouls in the back, the riders will look to each other for safety; and to see which will be sacrificed to buy time to get the heck out of there!

3. Ground attack

One of the top ten haunted hayride party ideas

Hayriders tend to keep their attention front and center, and sometimes above, especially if they’ve already experience item #7 on the haunted hayride list. Now it’s time to hit ‘em where they ain’t. A large monster or other nasty Halloween-like creature that pops up from below and to the side should do the trick nicely.

2. Haunted story

One of the top ten haunted hayrides party ideas

Now, this one takes some doing; Hollywood style. A good script must be memorized, along with the appropriately attired Ichabod Crane storyteller guy driving the tractor or horse-drawn hay cart. A good, scary story throughout the hayride, especially if it coincides with the haunts, will leave them breathless. When done properly, this will ratchet up the other scares to never before seen levels.

1. Haunted graveyard

One of the top ten haunted hayride party ideas

This is #1 on the list in large part because of all the variations that come from when a haunted hayride ambles through a graveyard. Ghouls and zombies climbing out of graves, spooky noises will take on a whole new significance and as the rider’s attention is on the grave, this opens to the door to several of our other list items to be successfully employed.

Now that you have successfully snatched the Halloween pebble from my hand young, haunted grasshopper, it is time for you to leave…and go scare the bajesus out of your fellow human this Halloween!