Fun Hayride Ideas for Parties

Autumn scene with pumpkins, hay, and wagon wheel
Danielle Donders / Getty Images

Whether celebrating a birthday, Halloween, or harvest, a hayride treats kids to a rolling adventure in the crisp autumn air. But to throw a special hayride party, you need more than just a wagon full of hay. From the snacks and party favors to haunted hayride ideas, check out these tips for celebrating with a hayride party.

Invitations

When inviting guests to your hayride party, one fun idea is to include some kind of ticket that kids can exchange for entry onto the hayride. You can make the invitation look like a ticket or insert a separate ticket into the envelope along with the invitation. A boarding pass is another idea that can include the names and even photos of the guests. Ask parents ahead of time to send a digital image of their child that you can use to create the passes.

Food

Hot cocoa and cookies make a nice snack for the ride itself. But remember that hayrides can be bumpy, so consider portable cups with secure lids. Sandwiches, boxed drinks, and cupcakes are other items that either can be enjoyed on the ride or saved for an after-hayride, picnic-style meal. Plus, if your hayride party will have a bonfire, hot dogs and s'mores are fun to roast after the ride is over.

Music

Adding music to a hayride can set the tone for a good time. Have kids sing a few of their favorite songs. Or hand out lyrics to songs that suit the theme of your party and lead the kids in singing them. If you know someone who plays guitar, it can be fun to have them join the hayride and lead the music. You also can pass out small instruments, such as a tambourine and harmonicas, for the kids to play. Remember to include "Happy Birthday" on the song list if your party is celebrating someone's birthday.

Hayride Party Activities

Before and after the hayride, plan some traditional autumn activities for your guests. For instance, an adult-supervised bonfire can be a warm place to gather to tell stories, play music, and eat food. Other ideas for hayride party activities include:

  • Pumpkin or apple picking
  • Bobbing for apples
  • A corn maze
  • A scavenger hunt
  • A game of musical hay bales (like musical chairs but with hay bales)
  • Wheelbarrow races
  • Haystack treasure hunt where kids search for small candies and trinkets hidden in a haystack

Favors

If you gave out harmonicas on the hayride, kids can take them home as their party favors. More ideas for hayride party favors include:

  • Bandanas
  • Straw hats
  • Toy tractors
  • Toy farm animals
  • Pumpkins
  • S'mores ingredients
  • Autumn-inspired candy, such as candy corn and marshmallow pumpkins

Haunted Hayride

If it is close to Halloween, consider haunting your hayride. Ask the hayride driver, adult attendants, and guests to come dressed in Halloween costumes. Decorate the hayride vehicle with faux cobwebs, hanging bats, and other Halloween decorations. And have some spooky music to play while guests are on board.

Also, plot the course of your hayride ahead of time, and decorate the path. Hang Halloween decorations, such as ghosts, from trees or fence posts along the way. And have teens or adults dressed in costume waiting at different points on the path to jump out and spook the people on the hayride. During the hayride, you also can tell some scary (but age-appropriate) stories.