One of our favorite Halloween attractions is the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, produced by the folks at Ten Thirtyone Productions. You may recall reading our interview with their COO, Melissa Meyers, from several weeks ago. Recently, we were invited to their black carpet event and media night where we would get to snap some pictures of celebrities walking a, you guessed it, black carpet as well as the chance to check out the hayride for ourselves. The night started well, with the black carpet event. Be sure to check out our image gallery at the end of this post to see the stars as well as images from the event itself.
This year’s LA Haunted Hayride features two new walkthrough mazes as well as a re-themed hayride. Subtitled “Echoes from the Rift”, this year’s hayride is a wonderful, eclectic mix of scenes and gags that will scare and entertain. There are some awesome performers on flexible poles that sway (I’ll not spoil where or what they are doing) and even a more thoughtful scene of military zombies from throughout history that hand letters addressed to loved ones to guests on the hay wagon as it passes by. I mention that scene in particular as, I had no idea what it was all about when we went through it. It was only after talking to one of the event managers after riding it that the explained it to me and it made tons more sense. We expected the zombies to be scaring us, but the meaning of the scene was far deeper than that.
The finale of the hayride was creative and well-executed, but I missed the humor of past incarnations. Last year, they ended the hayride on an awesome note, with what appeared to be a very morose and horror-filled scene being transformed quickly into an entertaining clown-fest. This year’s hayride is a far more serious ride. Not bad, mind you, just different – I prefer the humor scattered throughout the ride a little more.
The food has always been one of the best parts of the LA Haunted Hayride but unfortunately, this year, it took a step down a notch. While there is a wide array of food, many of the items are doused in a creamy mayo, chipotle sauce, or sour cream. Even the caramel apples were odd – instead of being an apple dipped in caramel, it was a sliced apple drizzled with runny caramel sauce (not the same as caramel) that just didn’t hit the spot. That being said, the deep-fried pumpkin spice doughnut hole/beignet thing was very tasty as was the burger.
During our evening at the LA Haunted Hayride, we were treated to the awesome percussion of Blood Drums. Blood Drums used to be over at Knott’s Scary Farm but that park unwisely chose not to have them back this year. Their loss is the LA Haunted Hayride’s gain as they continuously put on an energetic and lively show. The attraction’s “Purgatory” common area is also home to fortune tellers, a scary-go-round, pumpkin carving tent, and a cool photo booth attraction filled with various, torture scenes to insert yourselves into.
The LA Haunted Hayride’s two new walkthrough mazes, the “House of the Horsemen” and the “Seven Sins Sideshow” are both welcome additions – though on the night we attended, the cue lines for both were snail’s pace slow. I highly recommend you shell out the extra cash for the VIP/front of the line pass. It is well worth the money – even if only to get past the super-long line waiting to get on the hayride itself.
Overall, the 2014 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is still one of my favorite haunted attractions in the Southern California area. While I don’t think it was as successful, from the perspective of an overall experience, as it was last year, it is still an amazing time where you can spend all evening at the closest thing you will find in Southern California to a traditional, Midwest Halloween carnival.
The LA Haunted Hayride runs various nights from now until October 31st, so check out the event’s official website for full attraction and ticket details.