Whether it’s to celebrate a birthday, Halloween, or harvest, a hayride treats kids to a rolling adventure in the crisp, autumn air. From haunted hayride ideas to ways to celebrate a birthday, check out these tips for celebrating with a hayride party.
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 to look like a ticket or insert a separate ticket into the envelope along with the invitation. A boarding pass is another idea that can be made to 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.
Haunted Hayride Ideas
If it is close to Halloween, you may want to haunt your hayride. Cobwebs draped over the trailer and bats hanging from the rails are simple ways to amp up the spook factor. Ask the driver, adult attendants, and guests to come dressed in Halloween costumes.
A haunted hayride doesn't have to be limited to just the wagon decor. Plot the course ahead of time and hang decorations such as ghosts and witches from tree branches, or tie them to fence posts along the way.
Have other adults or teens dress in costumes and jump out at the hayride at different points on the trail.
Another haunted hayride idea is to play spooky music or tell a ghost story during the ride.
Adding music to any hayride can set the tone for a good time. You can have kids sing a few of their favorite, well-known songs, or hand out the lyrics to songs that suit the theme of your party. Other ideas for a sing-along hayride include an acoustic guitar player to lead the chorus, a tambourine to pass around and harmonicas for guests to play along to the music. Remember to include “Happy Birthday” to the song list if you’re celebrating a birthday.
When the hayride is done, let the party continue with some traditional autumn activities. An adult-supervised bonfire is a warm place to gather to roast marshmallows and tell stories or continue the sing-along fun. Other ideas for hayride party activities include:
- Pumpkin or apple picking.
- Corn maze: If your hayride party is at a farm with a corn maze, you can add to the adventure by hiding things inside ahead of time so the kids can enjoy a corn maze scavenger hunt. Hand the kids a list of things to collect as they make their way through the maze. A haunted hayride celebration may also include costumed characters jumping out to spook the kids at various points in the maze.
- A game of musical hay bales: Set up hay bales to play just as you would musical chairs.
- Wheelbarrow races.
- Hay tossing or jumping: Set up a large pile of hay in an area where kids can simply enjoy tossing the hay in the air and jumping in the pile.
- Harvest party games.
Hot cocoa and cookies make a nice snack for the ride itself, but hayrides can be bumpy, so consider portable cups with secure lids. Sandwiches and boxed drinks are other items that can either be enjoyed on the ride or saved for an after-hayride, picnic-style meal. If you plan a bonfire, marshmallows, hot dogs, and s'mores are fun to roast on site. Campfire cupcakes are another fun, portable treat for guests on a hayride.
If you gave out harmonicas on the hayride, kids can take them home as their party favors. More ideas for hayride party favors include:
- Straw hats.
- Toy tractors.
- Toy farm animals.
- S'mores ingredients.
- Hobo stick favor bags (bandannas filled with autumn candy, such as candy corn and marshmallow pumpkins, and then tied to the ends of sticks).