Haunted Hayride offers scary fun for all ages
October 31, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The roar of a chainsaw, the moan of ghouls and the cackle of evil witches greeted those brave enough to ride the Haunted Hayride on Friday at Remington Park.
The annual event is one of the largest Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation offers each year, and a lot of planning and manpower goes into organizing the festivities to ensure it is a success, according to Murray Averill, Remington Park manager.
From the gory and macabre, to sweet treats and friendly faces, the event appeals to all ages.
Visitors had the choice of staying on the Family-friendly side of the pond where participants could grab a snack, sip hot chocolate and roast marshmallows, or riding the spooky trolley to a gruesome haunted house. Some of the other activities included an outdoor Halloween movie showing and a Family photo opportunity. Patrons also could handle creepy creatures from the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, Watertown.
"It's a really popular event because it hits all different age groups," Averill said, adding that he has been assisting with the Haunted Hayride for five years. "I like to see the kids having a good time. It's fun to watch their reactions -- some will cry, some will laugh, some will run and for some, it doesn't bother them at all."
This year, about 3,000 Soldiers and Family Members attended the event, according to Donna Orvis, FMWR Marketing.
"FMWR provides these types of events to continue to build community synergy in a safe and inviting atmosphere," she said. "FMWR appreciates everyone's support in attending that annual event.
Planning for next year's Haunted Hayride will begin soon, Averill explained.
"We have meetings throughout the year to get everybody's ideas and opinions," he said. "We've really changed it up this year. It's bigger, and things are located in different places."
Averill and FMWR staff members were not the only ones helping with the event. Averill added that the Directorate of Public Works' electrical shop is one of the main reasons this event is such a success every year. Also, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers and volunteers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team dressed up to scare those in attendance.
"The weather was perfect, the moon set the mood, the screaming in the woods gave you chills -- all in all the event went great," said Michelle Roden, BOSS senior program adviser. "BOSS helped with setting up and tearing down equipment, and staffing. BOSS representatives put on costumes and scared the guests who went through the hayride."
"FMWR and PW put a lot of hard work into this event, and we love putting on (the Haunted Hayride) for our Soldiers and their Families," she added.
Staff Sgt. James Williams, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT, was dressed as a creepy clown during the event.
"We're here to create an ambiance of terror and scare people at the Haunted Hayride who dare to come our way," he said.
"We're volunteering for FMWR, because they help the Soldiers. It's nice to give back to those who help you," Williams added. "We've been prepping for this night since Monday, and I think we are fully prepared to make sure this is the best one yet."
One of the Fort Drum Families who came to the event was the Hincka Family. Cammy Hincka said her Family had been watching scary movies all day Friday to prepare for the hayride.
"We're looking for a good time, Family fun and a good scare," she said, adding that they had a great time at the Haunted Hayride and they appreciated the support that FMWR provides to Fort Drum Families.
Hincka's husband, Pfc. Jake Hincka, redeployed with 7th Engineer Battalion only days earlier.
"I just got back on Oct. 22, so this is the first outing for us," Jake Hincka said, adding that this was the first Halloween his Family has spent together in five years. "I'm having fun, but I'm really looking forward to spending some time with my Family."