Haunted Trails

greenspun.com : LUSENET : CountrySide Family : One Thread

I have seriously thought about(two years now)building a haunted trail for halloween on the homestead for added cash flow.Have any scary ideals?

-- David R In W. Tn. (srimmer@charter.net), September 21, 2002


One of the farms near me has a haunted corn maze each year. They seem to do quite a business from the second week in OCT until Halloween. The one thing I would suggest is liability insurance if you decide to do anything where the public is using your place. Normal homeowners or farm insurance usually doesn't cover any liability claims if it was business related. You could incorporate a weekend craft sale with the haunted trail- rent spaces to crafters(you could even approve what type of crafts were allowed). Also you could contact the preschools & daycare centers if you're having a less scary version during the day-maybe give them a group rate. Do you have any local bands around- live music brings in people too. If you told us more about what your concept of the haunted trail is, it might help us come up with ideas. Will it geared more toward adults, kids or families?

-- Kathy Aldridge (beckoningwinds@yahoo.com), September 21, 2002.

Hi Kathy,I have a long trail in the woods going near a small pond,two small wooden buildings,a bridge over a ravine ending at an old barn.At first probably be geared for kids but could change.Need ideals to make this scene Spooky!Or kinda unique for Halloween.

-- David R In W. Tn. (srimmer@charter.net), September 22, 2002.

That trail sounds so nice and perfect for what you're planning. Hmmmm... now I will have to think about scary things. We've used some of these for Halloween parties so maybe you could adjust them for your haunted trail. Some would be better for dusk than full daylight viewing. Drop down spiders(highlighted with black light sensitive pain)t held in place by monofilament line over tree branches. Area was lit by black lights bought at www.spencergifts.com Cauldrons with dry ice 'fog' rising-put fine mesh/screening over the cauldron top to prevent inquisitive hands from getting frost bit. Small Bowls/buckets of eyeballs( peeled grapes) Gravestones (OSB cut to shape & painted with stone look spraypaint) highlight with clear black light sensitive paint. David,this sounds like fun and a possible money maker. I'll think about it and post some more tomorrow.

-- Kathy Aldridge (beckoningwinds@yahoo.com), September 22, 2002.

A place near us does haunted hayrides, they have someone dressed as the headless horseman chase the wagon through the woods and you're not safe until you get across the bridge.

-- Sherri C (CeltiaSkye@aol.com), September 23, 2002.

Gee, every haunted trail needs a group of live ghouls along the trail, maybe your local high school drama club could help, set up specific scenes, such as outer space with a space ship and aliens, using a spot light will really help with the effect as well as music for each specific scene, try digging a hole and putting in an old mattress or box spring covered for a special effect while walking the trail, use rows of christmas lines to line the trail on one or both sides, look around for prop potential items, I just picked up two deer targets used for bow shooting from a neighbors garbage, with some red paint (blood) these will be an added feature to my yard this year, I will probably had a "berserk, mad hunter" chasing my trick or treaters also!! Let me know if this is the type of ideals you're looking for and I can go on and on and on........ I Love Halloween.

-- L. Rogers (baycoast@accnorwalk.com), September 24, 2002.

You need to have people go through the buildings by themselves in the dark. Hire people to jump out and scare them, dump water on them, have dry ice and fog. Set up fake cotton spider webs for them to run in to. Let the barn lights flicker... and suddendly go out. Then, when they are done walking through the barns by themselves, have somebody start chasing them on the trail. They will be terrorized.

-- Lindsey (luckylinlin@aol.com), October 04, 2002.

I am fifteen and my family and I have been doing a halloween party for two years now. We have a dj come, there's lots of food and a haunted hayride. It a family event and there are about 2 or 3 hundred people that show up. We've created a spider web for the entrace of the trail for the hay rack to go through. We've placed spiders that drop down from the web. We've also created a graveyard with mummies that pop up with dri ice throughout the grave site. We added a space ship behind some bushes that looks like aliens have landed. We also put up a doctors hut, placed a white shit in front of the doctors table and a light behind that making an awesome effect of the shadow of the doctor chopping up his patients. We toilet paper part of our yard (about 3 to 4 acres)and put up lights through the whole place. Black lights come in handy and looking on websites or through magazines helped with cool food ideas. We have little skits that they can watch that are put on by some of the witches who are located at a small shack in the woods. We have people chained and sitting in a witches pot as they dance around saying little chants. We take our lawn mower and chase the hay rack with that. People are pretty spoked afterwards and everything is pretty fun. Have any more ideas?

-- Bo J. Anderson (boanderson23@hotmail.com), October 15, 2002.

i had the same problem.All i did was just look at some creative ideas online and that gave me some ideas. But it is hard trying to find they spookest ideas online. So it might take a while for you to find ideas.

-- densie smith (lilprep4eva@aol.com), April 21, 2003.

The cub scouts are have a haunted trail this year and I commeted to find some ideas, but I have not found any yet this is about the 5th site I have looked at. If you could give me some ideas we have a lot of wooded areas.

-- Cheril (puppies744@yahoo.com), October 04, 2003.

Hey everyone! My wife and I host a Halloween/Fall Fest party every October, and we have put on a haunted trail the last couple of years. One of the things that really helps us is that we have an OLD cemetary on our property, but if you aren't as fortunate, here are some things we have put together that might help you!

We have our trail go through the woods up to our cemetary, and give the group a white paper bag with sand and a candle in it as the only light they have. We also let them have two matches, in case the light goes out. This prevents the group from rushing through the trail.

We have people along the trail do the scaring--jumping out from behind trees and off the ground. This year, we are going to have people jump from OUT of the ground (out of some holes I have dug). I also get twine from a store (it is cheap) and run it through the woods to branches and stuff. This does a wonderful job at three important aspects. Firstly, it allows a person to do more than one thing from one place. Secondly, it makes the people wonder if there are more people out to get them. Thirdly, it acts as a distraction tactic, which is a VERY IMPORTANT strategy. It makes the group look in the direction of the distraction--allowing a person to jump at them from the back!

We use tiki torches as a scene for a cultish activity, and hang a body from the tree. Last year in this scene, we had a person with a chain saw scare the group. Of course, he took his chain off for safety.

Sounds in the distance can be a great tactic too...especially if the group doesn't know for sure the direction they are going in. We are thinking about having someone scream and then have a gun shot go off this year. Of course for safety's sake, the gun would shoot off blanks. Whatever you chose, a scary scene in the distance is effective!

I have rigged up a line going down and across the path that has a stuffed body (clothes that have pin stuffed and sewn together) on a pulley. Attached to the pulley was another line to pull the body back up when the group has passed. I have one of my "spooks" let go of the body at the right time, and watch the group jump as it comes coasting by them! To keep the haunted trail fresh, I am going to have the body fall from a tree high above the trail this year. (You have to rotate every year to keep them guessing. There is nothing worse than recycled ideas at the same place every year!!)

I always have one of my spooks follow the group. For one, they act as a distraction (which I have already made clear its great use), and secondly, they do a fine job at keeping the group together.

We line the trail with boomboxes that have spooky sounds. You can get the spooky sounds on a CD at any dollar store this time of the year, and I just burn several copies for the several boom boxes. By the way, go ahead and pony up to rechargeable batteries. You will save in the long run.

We get cardboard from department and grocery stores and make put spooky sayings on them. Do they scare the people? No, but they add to the ambience and act as another great distraction.

It is a good idea to hang things--simple things--like washers, clothes hangers, noodles...ANYTHING!...on monofilament line where the people will walk through. It just adds to the spoke factor. Try spider webs from a can too! Be sure to put up a sign before it though saying something like, "Arachnophobics beware!"

A few other tips we can offer...We give the spooks acorns, walnuts, and other small natural things to toss while the group is coming. Keeps the group guessing and promotes forestation in one fling of the wrist! To make sure everyone knows when groups are coming and going, we give the "spooks" on the trail walky-talkies to keep in touch. We give the group a flashlight to get back to the start when they are finished for safety sake...plus, it lets them look "behind the scenes" of all the work we did for them.

If you have any other ideas we haven't thought of, please email them to me!!! We would love to make our haunted trail even better! Good luck with yours and keep Halloween a GREAT GREAT holiday!

-- tory-kale! schulz (tory@hotmail.com), October 11, 2003.

Hi all.

This was my first year taking part in a spook trail. It was a lot of fun, we thought we would scare the crap out of them (kids 6-12). We didn't do everything we thought of because we didn't want to scare them too much. Some ideas that we put together with little time and expense was built a 20 foot tall guilitine (squashing a carved out pumpkin). Mike Myeres is a great till, especially walking through stobe lights. We tried using dry ice to create a fog effect in our makeshift cemetary, but it didn't work at all...not sure why. We also did the chainsaw (with blade off ofcourse!) idea and it worked well. We started the night off with a "true" story about the history of the house we did this at and the woods we set up in. We ran about 200 feet of extension cords for lighting and musical effects throughout the trail. We set up a few large speakers to create background noise abd startling noises upon them arriving to a certain point (IE Mike meyeres). We are looking for new ideas and scarier scences. Although good props and costumes can be rather expensive, most of it was put together by 6 people and 2 weeks of work. We built most of our tombstones and crosses, along with signs and a casket that opens. Next year we will try the creatures popping out of the ground (digging holes) and some new effects. A must is getting a better fog around certain parts of the trail. We are even thinking of trying to suspend a person from a tree using a harness making it look like they have hung themselves and have already perished. But when the kids get closer he will come to life. And I think another great idea would be having one of the kids in the group walking through the trail be part of the act and get whisped away by a creature. That will defiantly scare them. Oh, one more important thing.....if you are going to have someone guide the kids through the trail, make sure that the guide does not make everything sound like a joke.....they have to be sincere and act scared! Have fun everyone, hoped I helped....if you have any ideas for me please e-mail me.

-- Kevin C (kevin200227@aol.com), November 17, 2003.

I've never seen

-- Lala Fee Keith (Juonina at @Aol.com), January 31, 2004.

My Eagles Club ante'd up on my wanting to do a haunted hayride four years ago, and it gets better and better every year. Last year we had a real damper because downstate (MI) a kid at a "hanging" display actually did hang himself...a wagon watched him struggle and thought it was part of the scene, sadly. So I agree that insurance is a must and we NEVER let kids under 18 work at sites alone. As to the fun of putting it on, it can't be beat. We've done the guillotine (a fake head rigged to a real body/body put CLOSE ENOUGH to blade to appear like a beheading. When the wooden blade slammed down, the body pulled backward in death, and the velcro'ed head fell into a basket on the other side.), Dracula, Witches, Mummies (looked very cool in a visqueen black light tunnel), a giant bear, the chainsaw without the chain (A MUST HAVE FOR ANY HAYRIDE, and don't forget the hockey mask!), Cemetary with walking undead, Spider Lady, Witch Doctor, Mad Scientist/Frankenstein, "white lady" ghost (she was uplit and blond in a tattered wedding dress. She would rise slowly from a crouch position, lifting up two 5-foot pieces of wood draped in filmy white tattered fabric and sway them slowly back and forth before going back into a crouch as the light is extinguished. Very cool looking from a distance!), The "Dogman"--a popular radio tall tale around northern Michigan (he did grab a designated passenger "victim" off each wagon, but it was hard on his back!), Monster Cafe serving all sorts of nasty stuff (hard to see in the dim light), Freddy Kreuger, Aliens, Haunted Hunting Shack, Grim Reaper, Werewolf, Toxic Waste Dump, Pennywise the Clown from the movie "It", the ghost flying overhead on a pulley, and more. It's always trial and error and the first night is never the best-- you have to work out all the bugs! And, inevitably, we decide we need more "startles"...people they can't see grabbing at them, yelling, air horning. They are impressed with out sets, but get a kick out of the unseen/unexpected, so put people dressed in black wherever you can; in dead spots on the trail (pardon the pun!) AND right across from a "scene"--you can really get them when they are distracted by something on the other side of the wagon. Feel free to email me if you have any more great ideas. I hate to say it, but I'm running out!!

-- Amy Ellison (fearlesswhisper@hotmail.com), August 18, 2004.

Amy,,, its not a joke to talk about the DOGMAN,,,,, Im in Mich,, and the stories goa round and round every fall,,,,,,,,

Where are you in Mich? Your HAYRIDE seems like a blast

-- Stan (sopal@net-pert.com), August 18, 2004.

Black people are always the ones to scare,everytime we want to know when they coming we say its getting dark

-- (Jilli_Bean65@yahoo.com), September 29, 2004.

Our Jr. Rescue Squad as decided to do a Haunted Trail ride this year. There are only about 10 of them. 8 boys and 2 girls. Ages 8 - 17. We are looking for some ideas that we could make on our own that might not cost a whole lot, but will get the job done. We have just started up our little group and don't have a lot on funds. Any ideas or help will be greatlly apperciated. We have only 28 days left. Thanks

-- Rachel H in Ala. (Wildpanther3871@aol.com), September 30, 2004.

I have put on a hayride for 3yrs now it has been a blast. We always use the Chainsaw effect and is even cooler when you have multiple chainsaws.Another idea we've come up with is a falling tree. You wait for the hayride to pass and then push over a large dead tree. Also, a Paintball gun without the paintballs works well too. Next, you can have a parked car in a blind spot and then sound the horn and flash the bright lights on them. It is a good scare. Then, we also have had crazy Go-Karts(myself). It can seem scary if you have a Go-Kart driver weaving in and out of trees while still following the Trailer/Wagon. Lastly, we have a dummy attached to a Zipline a swing that into the rollbar off the Tractor. That adds some screams as well as "OOOHS". Well that's all for now and We will try some new Ideas this year.

-- Marshall M. (Mastermfm@aol.com), October 20, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ