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This article by Aaron Thayer was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
October 20, 1999. All rights reserved.
In Season: Haunted Horrors
The wagon wheels groaned as they rolled over the bumpy
road. The tractor in front hummed as we plodded down the dark, windswept
path. The air was thick with anticipation. The people around me grew
quiet in the knowledge that something was coming.
Suddenly the roar of a diesel engine boomed above us, bright lights
burst open like menacing eyes to reveal the deadly whirling blades
of a combine harvester just 15 feet ahead of us. You could hear the
gears grind as it lurched toward us, the cutting blades spinning wildly
in the air. With clumsy mechanical movements, the machine moved left
and then right as if the unseen reaper could not decide who to massacre
Children screamed, people in front fell frantically over one another
in their effort to escape. Terror flew wildly all around us.
Suddenly the lights illuminated what we had not seen before, a barrier
of safety planted between us and our doom. We all began to smile,
laughter broke out, and that was the point. It was, after all, only
a haunted hayride.
It’s October and haunted houses and spooky hayrides fall into our
listings like leaves off a tree. Shady Brook Farm in Yardley —
the scene of the horror described above — offers an elaborate
Halloween ride, the Hayride of Horror, which runs roughly 30 minutes.
The ride that seemed to please my fellow passengers of all ages boasts
evocative sets and an element of surprise that works its magic. The
ride includes a cast of perhaps 50 costumed characters populating
the spooky scenery. Although you know it’s all fake, none of us could
deny the authenticity of the fear.
Shady Brook also offers carnival style booths selling typical fairground
food, from corn dogs to cotton candy, as well as a more modern Rainforest
Cafe tent. Bonfires are lit for nighttime visitors to warm by, or
watch one of the music groups performing on a sound stage. Karioke
is another entertainment choice.
A fairly typical haunted house, the Barn of Horror, is another attraction,
as well as Alien Landing, a deviation from the standard fare. Set
in a barn furnished with all types of ghoulish scenery, Alien Landing
features the actors in freakish suits that create a convincing illusion
of 10-foot-tall aliens, bound to scare the tears out of most children.
For smaller children there is also a pumpkin patch, pony ride, Moon
Bounce, and Barn of Horror Junior. The Moonlight Maze is a big, complicated
cornfield maze that takes a good deal of time to find your way out.
Not recommended for the claustrophobic, I found it fun. And if you’re
looking for a way to tire out the kids before you go home, the maze
will definitely do it.
— Aaron Thayer
Road, Yardley, 215-968-1670. Hayride of Horror, Barn of Horror, Alien
Invasion, and Moonlight Maze. Individual attractions $7 and up. Combination
two-attraction tickets, $14 & $16. General admission for all four
attractions, $22 & $24. Through October 30. 6 to 10 p.m.
Street, Newtown, 215-794-7407. Walk-through funeral home, house, and
graveyard; scary for all ages, $12. Through October 30. 7 to 10
woods and chambers, through October 31. $10.50 7 p.m.
West Windsor, 609-443-9379. Nighttime hayrides, Fridays through Sundays,
to October 31, $10. 7 to 10 p.m.
Davison roads, Cranbury, 609-799-2523. Spooky rides through Henry’s
haunted hollow, through October 31. 7:30, 8, and 8:30 p.m.
215-794-7407. Pumpkin Patch hayrides for families, $5 includes pumpkin,
ice cream, and hayride. Every weekend through October. 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m.
Ridge, 609-758-7817. Hayrides, Halloween scenes, and pumpkins, weekends
through October 30. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
picking, haunted barn, corn maze, and music. Saturday and Sunday, October 23 and 24, 9 a.m. to dusk.
Also Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and 31. 609-924-2310. http://www.terhuneorchards.com
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