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Slightly Haunted Hayride Is Superb Success




A wagonload of children and adults pass a witch surrounded by spiders and spider webs in Woodland Park during the Slightly Haunted Hayride, Sunday, Oct. 31, Halloween night. The program, put on by Archbold Parks & Recreation, replaced the Pumpkin Path that was held in Ruihley Park. Jennifer Kidder, Parks & Rec. director, estimated 350 guests went on the hayride.– photo by David Pugh

A wagonload of children and adults pass a witch surrounded by spiders and spider webs in Woodland Park during the Slightly Haunted Hayride, Sunday, Oct. 31, Halloween night. The program, put on by Archbold Parks & Recreation, replaced the Pumpkin Path that was held in Ruihley Park. Jennifer Kidder, Parks & Rec. director, estimated 350 guests went on the hayride.– photo by David Pugh

About 350 citizens traveled through Woodland Park, Sunday, Oct. 31, Halloween night, as part of the Archbold Parks & Recreation Slightly Haunted Hayride.

Two tractors pulled wagonloads of guests through the woods. They viewed Halloween themed scenes, and some masked high school boys jumped out at the wagonloads of people.

“They were (Archbold) High School students from student council and FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America),” said Jennifer Kidder, Archbold Parks & Recreation director.

“They were a huge asset. They did a great job scaring people,” she said.

Kidder said the wagons carried between 25 and 30 people per trip.

Each wagon went through the woods seven times for a minimum total of 350 (25 people per trip multiplied by 14 wagonloads equals 350).

Set Up

Kidder said a path big enough for the tractors and wagons was cut earlier.

Starting Saturday, the scenes were assembled in the woods.

There was a witch sur- rounded by cobwebs and spiders, two graveyards, a pumpkin patch, jail scene, and scarecrows.

Kidder said her car was parked in the woods and covered with leaves and branches to camouflage it; as the tractors and wagons drove by, someone would honk the horn and flash the headlights.

Portable generators were used in the woods to power display lights.

At one point, a line of possibly 100 or more people waited to board the wagons for the trip through the woods.

The Slightly Haunted Hayride was to end at 7 pm, but the event ran over so everyone in line could make a trip through the woods.

After it was over, everything was removed from the woods Saturday night, she said.

Low Cost

Kidder said she was able to do the whole project for less than $50 in terms of actual cash outlay.

There were many donations of equipment and supplies from area businesses. The Black Swamp Arts Council offered an arts and crafts table, while the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the giant inflatable toys.

Most of the decorations used for the scenes in the woods came from a large discount store, which cleared out its leftover Halloween stock last year. Some was given to Archbold, while more went to Wauseon.

Kidder said she borrowed Wauseon’s Halloween decorations for the displays.

“I only bought two pink spiders, and they were $5 each,” she said.

There were labor costs involved, but to compensate her employees, she said she gave them a day off this week.

Bigger, Better

Plans are already underway to make next year’s event bigger and better.

Kidder said she’s already learned some lessons.

“Next year, we won’t start while it’s still light outside.”

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