The people behind the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride have brought their event back another year and I just got back from attending the second of its seventeen nights in operation. The event offers one walk-through maze, the titular hayride experience, and the “Purgatory” side show grounds with psychics, food/drink booth, a few and stage areas where various acts entertain throughout the night.

The hayride portion of the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is simply exceptional. The course goes around the Old Zoo location at Griffith Park, which is genuinely creepy even when it isn’t a haunted event, and is a great setting for the hayride. Guests cattle onto a stretched trailer with a soft flooring of loose hay being towed by a traditional farm tractor. In concept, this is a traditional haunted hayride made popular in – the tractor pulls the hay wagon around a course setup with scary things along the way. At the LA Haunted Hayride, however, the traditional hayride concept is taken to “11” with enthusiastic monsters, great sets, and surprises galore.

There five or so big sets the tractor will stop (or drive through) and each provides a different gimmick or scare experience. Each was very cool save for one of the sets which just didn’t work for me. The whole ride seems to last for about twenty minutes or so and is just a great time. Please note: Plastic ponchos are provided for this attraction and I HIGHLY recommend you use them. Trust us.

Tickets are sold for the hayride alone or along with the walk-through maze called the “In-Between”. Additionally, you can get VIP passes which get you into the front of the line for each attraction. All passes grant guests access to the “Purgatory” side show area where the stages, psychics, house of mirrors, and “scary-go-round” are located. Just note to the allergic: The LA Haunted Hayride is, you guessed it, full of hay and dust. Bring your allergy meds appropriately should you require them. Additionally, the food and drink vendor at the event is perfect – selling favorites like popcorn, candied apples, and hot cocoa.

Speaking of their walk-through maze, the “In-Between”, it is a perfect example of a haunted maze done right. At the front of this maze, you are offered little battery-operated lanterns which glow a dim, flashing red light. Take them! As many as they will give your group, as a matter of fact, as that will be your primary light source in navigating this haunted maze. This maze features some really cool effects, several dead ends which lends a level of interactivity to the whole thing, and some great monsters. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of excellence this maze achieves being that I presumed most of the event’s focus would have been on the hayride.

The biggest thing that the LA Haunted Hayride can improve on is signage. There is a lack of signage around the event telling guests where things are located. When my fellow reporter and I arrived, we ended up waiting in a line we were not supposed to be in. Looking for restrooms? You will need to ask an attendant. Much of the confusion as to the layout would be fixed with a few sign posts.

Overall, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is an amazing Halloween experience with a very enjoyable atmosphere and a thrilling hayride. It is the closest thing you can get to a Midwest Halloween Carnival (albeit with a lot more production value) without booking a trip to Evansville. This event should be a “must-visit” stop on your Halloween 2012 itinerary – in fact, this is the most fun event of the season to date for me. Additionally, there is a lot of open space available at the park should the event wish to expand. I hope our readers will patron this event and help give them a reason to do so.

You can get ticket information and more over at their official website.

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com