STORY WRITTEN BY MARGIE ROYAL
The Haunted Hayride at Arasapha Farm may be marking its 25th year, but it shows no sign of age or staleness. It is still packed with enough scares to get your blood moving on a chilly fall night. In fact, for the landmark anniversary, farm owner Randy Bates has added a few surprises which I won’t spoil for those who plan on attending.
I got a chance to preview this year’s ride recently and the 25-minute ride through the dark Glen Mills woodlands has plenty of seasonal creepiness that had me and everyone else on the wagon jumping and screaming a times. Suffice it to say, whatever monster you can imagine you’re likely to meet in the woods. Zombies, blood thirsty lunatics and other psychos from slasher movies, along with ghouls and legendary monsters — all are waiting to greet those brave enough to climb aboard the hay wagon. Don’t think you can brace yourself by listening to the screams from the wagon ahead of you – Randy Bates has timed the launching of the wagons so that there’s no warning to what awaits. And don’t fool yourself that sitting in any part of the hay wagon is “safer” than any other. FOR MORE ATTRACTIONS, CHECK HERE.
The detailed theatrical sets and special effects and the actors are extraordinary. It’s no wonder that The Hayride has been featured several times on the Travel Channel and has been rated as the Number 1 Haunted Attraction in America by Hauntworld Magazine, USA Today and many other national publications.
If you need even more seasonal spookiness, take a walk through the Bates Motel, or stroll through the Haunted Corn Trail with its new theme: The Revenge of the Scarecrow. Randy Bates said he begins work in February to plan for the Halloween season and, with the help of his family and many devoted staff members, changes each attraction every year to appeal to those that come year after year for their annual scare. You can buy combo tickets for all three experiences, or just pick one of your choosing. And for some more scary thrills, $5 Coffin Rides are available which give the experience of being shut alive inside a coffin as the hearse travels to the graveyard.
Also, be sure and check out the gift shop which has some really fun items, including syringe pens, Bates T-shirts and Halloween-themed Christmas ornaments and more.
There are 250 actors employed to make all the Halloween magic happen. Many arrive at 4:30 p.m. to get into costume and have their makeup applied by one of 15 professional make up artists. Randy Bates said many of his employees return year to year, so the start of each fall season is like a big reunion event.
Three years ago, Randy Bates bought a 1978 fire truck and this gleaming American-made beauty is on site for emergencies along with trained EMT staffers to insure a safe evening for all. Bates is a member of America Haunts, an association of more than 20 elite haunted attractions throughout the United States. This year, America Haunts has partnered with Vet Tix to donate $1 million worth of tickets to benefit veterans during the Halloween season. If you are a member of the military, call to ask for tickets to Military Appreciation Night at Arasapha Farm when tickets will be half price for you and your family. Visit thebatesmotel.com for more information.
IF YOU GO: On autumn evenings, events at Arasapha Farm are definitely meant to scare visitors, Sept. 25-Nov. 1 Sunday to Wednesday 6:30 to 9:30, Thursday to Saturday 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. But on weekends during the daylight hours, The Harvest Hayride, also open through Nov. 1 on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., offers non-scary seasonal fun for families with young children. Kids can shoot a corn cannon, visit the farm animals, take a train ride and adults can watch the little ones enjoy the Pumpkin Jump, Train rides, pillow bounce and more. And once Halloween is over, everyone is welcome come back to see Santa and his reindeer and take a holiday-themed hayride through the Glen Mills countryside. Call (610) 459-0647 or check http://thebatesmotel.com or www.arasaphafarm.com for more information. Arasapha Farm is at 1835 Middletown Road, Glen Mills.