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Hi,

My husband and I have a Christmas tree farm. We also grow pumpkins in the fall. We would like to do a haunted hayride this year and would appreciate any help you can offer. We are retired from the real world and just farm now and love it. Of course we work harder now than we ever did on our careers. Some of the questions we have 1. how long should it be? 2. how many venues? 3 what are your favorite scary things? Thanks
 

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I think you should stick with anywhere from 10-15 minutes at first, that should be long enough for a first haunt that you can fit enough scenes in without being too overwhelmed.
 

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How very exciting first of all!!! When I went to cut my Christmas tree this year, I thought "what a great place for a haunted hayride" I have done haunts for 10 years and it is so much work, but a total passion and joy. With trees you have an incredible advantage of places for actors to hide. Here are my thoughts on your questions;
1. how long should it be - no less than 20 minutes, 45 is a nice start, depending on how many stops/venues you have
2. how many venues - minimum of 5. since you're just starting out, you may want to start small, get a year of experience and then expand. With all of my haunts we have skits that last 1-3 minutes at each venue
3. Favorite scary things - I have never failed with a chainsaw :) Works every time. 2 years ago my partners talked me out of the chainsaw (they said it was over used) so we replaced it with a semi truck parked on the side of a building where the hay wagon was coming around. OH YEA that was effective! As the hay wagon came around the corner of the building, the truck driver hit the lights and the horn. The hay wagon occupants would literally jump to the other side of the wagon :). Of course not everyone has a semi laying around :) The more startles you have, the better, we have had zombies and other ghouls jumping at/on the hay wagon. Check out videos from the "big guys" - go to hauntworld.com and click on the links to some of the top rated haunts across the country. I've been to Nightmare New England the last 2 years, what my favorite things are is the attention to detail in their sets, the cemetery there is superb.

food for thought - you might do a theme where a crazy tree farmer has gone mad with a chainsaw and is looking for new "victims" :)

have fun....make them scream, make them smile. Keep posting here with updates :) - Vthorrorqueen
 

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Not trying to put a damper on your plans but be sure to check into insurance and make sure you're covered in the event of an accident. There were several incidents last season around the country where hayride trailers tipped over and people got hurt. ;)
 
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