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Haunted Hayride Scares Up Another Year Of Spooky Fun
The IT themed scare site was eerie with clowns hanging around waiting for guests to roll through. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The headless horseman greeted the brave souls on the trailers this past weekend at the annual Haunted Hayride. The City of Riverbank’s Parks and Recreation Department pulled off the annual event although they didn’t have very many volunteers for scare sites. According to Parks and Recreation staff the weekend was a success, selling out on both Friday and Saturday nights.

The weather cooperated for this annual event with dry but cool temperatures on both nights. The lines started building a little before 7 p.m. and volunteers at the scare sites finished up last minute details before guests made their way into the backwoods of Jacob Myers Park.

“The Haunted Hayride went great,” stated Recreation Supervisor Julia Petit. “We ended up selling out of tickets both nights in the first hour. Many guests waited in line for their ride for quite a while.”

On Friday night iHeart Radio posted up at the park and played some tunes for guests waiting in line. Riverbank Youth Baseball Softball Association sold concessions and they also had a scarecrow contest to keep people busy as they were waiting for the ride. About the Face was also on the scene painting faces as guests made their way through the woods. Cool Hand Lukes had a table set up and they gave out a few freebies. For those that wanted a photo op they had a small pumpkin patch set up.

The Historical Society had a scarecrow that was decorated as a creepy witch, the Women’s Club had a very country scarecrow and flower for their display, Parks and Rec had a staff member scarecrow that looked a bit disgruntled, and Cool Hand Lukes had a very tall and very sinister scarecrow on display with red eyes.

“There were quite a few wonderful scare sites,” added Petit. “The Boy Scouts UFO scene was well thought out and very detailed. The dancing light stick people received many laughs, and I heard quite a few screams coming from our “IT” scene, Salem Witch Trial Scene, and Purge scene (featuring students from Riverbank High School). Of course, the Chain Saw scene also had a few guest hitting the floor of the trailers.”

Although some of the usual suspects were lurking throughout the ride there were also some new spooktacular characters like Jeepers Creepers, Purge personnel, La Llorona, witches, aliens and the walking dead. There was even a scene of truck and trailer that crashed giving guests an example of the terror that could occur, perhaps.

“We love the Haunted Hayride and want to continue to host it at Jacob Myers Park; however, the roadblock that we come to each year is volunteer support,” expressed Petit. “The event is only as good as the community involvement that we have. So, I would like to encourage all who want to see the Haunted Hayride continue to consider volunteering next year. Get a group together, come up with a theme, and join us the weekend before Halloween by putting on your own Scare Site.”

The Halloween tradition of the Haunted Hayride has been hosted by the city at the park for over 10 years. In the past there have been over 500 guests each night experiencing the chills and thrills as well as several scare sites along the way with great detail.

Riverbank High School Leadership led by Ana Jimenez were the first place winners with their Salem Witch Trial scene and received a $500 prize. Second place with a $200 prize was the Chain Saw scene presented by Steve and David Unruh. The third place winners were the Light Stick People hosted by Riverbank High School students led by Vanessa Argumedo that won a prize of $100. The Historical Society and the Women’s Club tied in the scarecrow contest.

This gruesome scene of a truck and trailer that crashed was in the beginning of the creepy trail that followed in the woods at the back of the park. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS
Although you can see these spooky characters at the cemetery clearly here, in the darkness it was a little more daunting during the Haunted Hayride at Jacob Myers Park this past weekend. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS