LINNEUS, Maine — If spooky scenes of horror and things that go bump in the night are your cup of tea, then the Linneus Haunted Hayride is the place for you.
Now in its 13th year, the Haunted Hayride has grown dramatically over the years. The event began as a short ride with one wagon through the fields of Linneus. Two additional wagons have been added, but demand is still such that patrons are encouraged to arrive early to ensure they get a chance to see the show.
Last year, the ride drew about 3,000 people over three weekends and netted nearly $9,000. On its first weekend this year, one of the two nights was canceled due to the weather, but the event still managed to pull in 743 people.
Portions of the proceeds go to the Linneus Recreation Department, while other funds go to the student classes that participate each year. This year, actors from Hodgdon High School sophomore and junior classes and Houlton High School’s, and senior classes are participating in the event.
“We have different groups each year who want to participate,” said Carrie Palmer of Linneus, one of the event organizers. “We try to spread it around as much as we can. We give a donation to their class for their efforts.”
The 26-minute ride is nearly a mile in length, covering almost six acres, and features roughly 40 different horror scenes. Scenes range from startling sounds coming from the dark forest to full-blown actor presentations of famous horror movies, including chainsaw-wielding maniacs, witches flying overhead and plenty of blood and gore.
“We allow the kids to have a little bit of creative freedom with what they do,” Palmer said. “It’s interesting to see what they come up with.”
Among the new scenes found this year are a human jack-in-the-box and a “Children of the Corn” scene, as well as a hangman’s gallows, complete with a live actor dropped from a noose.
Linneus recreation director Mike Lane said each year they get about 20-30 new people who volunteer to spend time in the woods for three weekends. Those new people often bring in new ideas.
“You have to have all of the usual stuff,” Lane said. “There has to be cemeteries and psycho clowns and the undead. Then there are the other odd things people bring to the table.”
“All of the students who come out here have to have an adviser with them,” added Estella Lane, a volunteer for the event. “There also has to be an adult chaperone for every three students.”
Roughly 150 volunteers helped put the event together this year. Volunteer duties range from actors for the various scenes to make-up specialists to wagon drivers. Over the past two years, the Haunted Hayride has pumped $8,500 into the town’s Little League field, sponsored Little League teams and funded a donation to Camp Kieve.
The Linneus Haunted Hayride has two remaining nights of shows scheduled on Friday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29. The first wagon leaves at 6:30 p.m. Organizers stop selling tickets at 9 p.m. The ride costs $5 per person and is not recommended for small children due to the graphic nature of some of the scenes. Refreshments are also available inside the Linneus Sno Club. For more information, visit the Linneus Haunted Hayride page on Facebook.