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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

HorrorFest 1999, Shady Brook Farm, 931 Stony Hill

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.

Haunted House, Midnight Productions, 881 Highland

Street, Newtown, 215-794-7407. Walk-through funeral home, house, and

graveyard; scary for all ages, $12. Through October 30. 7 to 10


Hamilton Hauntings, Route 33, 609-586-1872. Tour the haunted

woods and chambers, through October 31. $10.50 7 p.m.

Haunted Hayrides, Windsor Farm, 1202 Windsor Road,

West Windsor, 609-443-9379. Nighttime hayrides, Fridays through Sundays,

to October 31, $10. 7 to 10 p.m.

Spooky Hayrides, Stults Farm, Cranbury Neck and George

Davison roads, Cranbury, 609-799-2523. Spooky rides through Henry’s

haunted hollow, through October 31. 7:30, 8, and 8:30 p.m.

Sleepy Hollow Hayrides, 881 Highland Street, Newtown,

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.

Sunny Acres Pumpkin Patch, Burlington Path Road, Cream

Ridge, 609-758-7817. Hayrides, Halloween scenes, and pumpkins, weekends

through October 30. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Halloween Party, Terhune Orchards, 330 Cold Soil Road. Pumpkin

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.

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