LA’s annual haunted hayride lacks scare factor


The pumpkins at the entrance of the hayride were one of many Halloween transformations throughout Griffith Park. Photo Credit: Jorge Guzman/ Contributor

Pete D. Camarillo

Photo Courtesy of Ten Thirty One Productions
Photo Courtesy of Ten Thirty One Productions

Upon arrival at Griffith Park’s Annual Haunted Hayride, guests are greeted by an array of gruesome characters highlighted by a red glow that remains consistent throughout the event.

While many attendees clung to their friends and significant others, I found it hard to be scared by these fictional creatures projected by this year’s apocalyptic theme.

As anticipated hayride goers wait in line, they are welcomed by a band playing music using trash cans as drums and other Halloween props as instruments.

Mad zebras, satanic clowns, baby faced witches, mutants, aliens, Nazi zombies and tree people are among the highlights of ghouls and monsters awaiting riders in the “Echos from the Rift,” apocalyptic themed hayride.

Patrons steadily load up in a trailer of hay as anticipation builds during the slow take-off of the 25-minute hayride. As the hayride continues through parts of the allegedly haunted “The Old Zoo,”  it makes several stops, each having a different set of visuals and creatures to scare riders.

The natural eerie feeling of The Old Zoo on a foggy night had riders on the edge of their seats. Despite the transformation into apocalyptic scenes, you can still recognize the old cages and platforms of a zoo that once was.

As riders sit shoulder to shoulder in the hay bed, anticipation builds as they ride into the darkness waiting to be scared.

Those seeking the most frights should sit at the front of the bed, as most of the creatures approach from the rear to surprise those at the front.

At one point during the ride, twelve-foot tall tree-figures move unexpectedly scaring the hayriders.

While the intriguing acrobats, the scarecrows rock on tiny poles above the hayride and the mad zebras growled on monkey bars, the audience did not seem frightened.

Huge robotic monsters move and pop out to scare attendees at various times throughout the ride. Large dinosaurs, evil pumpkins and demons appear realistic enough to catch your attention even if they are not scary.

If guests feel unsatisfied with the scare-tactics of the hayride, there are several other options to indulge in.

Creatures can be found wandering in The Purgatory, a new addition to the hayride event. This interactive event located on the main-stage offers guests an extra scare when they become a part of the show.

The Purgatory village also features a skeleton carousel ride, along with free entertainment filled with psychic readers, musical acts and the “Death Row” photo room offering plenty of props for great Halloween photos with several stages out of classic horror tales.

The Griffith Park attraction also offers the “House of the Horsemen” and the “Seven Sins Sideshow.”

Photo Courtesy of Ten Thirty One Productions
Photo Courtesy of Ten Thirty One Productions

The “House of the Horsemen,” set attendees up for judgement day where each room embodies the four apocalyptic terrors; pestilence, war, famine and death. The inmates inhabiting the house serve as unholy vessels of the great horsemen.

Guests may want to hold off on indulging in the food and beverages offered by the event before entering the “Seven Sins Sideshow.” This sideshow paints a disgusting picture of stomach-churning visuals which include eye-gorging crows, and carnivorous entities that feed off human flesh.

The “In Between Dark Maze,” said to be one of the scariest features this year. Within the maze, guests are guided by a low-voltage lantern throughout the darkness. Demons and maniacs who use the lack of light to their advantage frighten guests.

Photo Courtesy of Ten Thirty One Productions
Photo Courtesy of Ten Thirty One Productions

As you progress further into the maze, the surprising encounters with the creatures can be too much for some goers. In this case, guests are able to opt out of the maze by pulling a ripchord, signaling the hayride staff to escort them out.

A general admission ticket costs about $30 and gives patrons access to the Haunted Hayride and also The Purgatory queue section.