Yes, it Can Be Done!
There was no question about it when I was a child: we went trick-or-treatin’. But, understandably, many parents today want to have parties for their children instead. And, when you come to think about it, in my day it wasn’t all that different. Sure, we went trick-or-treatin’ on Halloween night, but we had parties, usually sponsored by some church group, believe it or not, the weekend before Halloween.
Those parties always included a hay ride. No one ever thought about hay rides being dangerous. I know I never heard of a hay ride wagon ever getting hit by a car or anyone ever falling off the wagon. People just were safer in those days I guess. We’d ride the wagon, usually pulled by a tractor and jammed full of hay, to a park where some adults were setting up food for a weenie roast. We’d eat, we’d play, and then we’d ride it back. It was loads of fun. (watch out if you’re doing this with older children – this is how many of them get their first kiss!)
As I sat deliberating this I thought, why can’t kids do this today? The way it is done would, of course, need modifying since there are seat belt laws now, but it could be done. Many city parks have large driving areas, so you need never go out on the city streets for the hay ride procession. (actually, part of the fun is having people see you ride by, so having it in a park would be perfect). Enlist a few people with pickup trucks, put a few bales of hay in the back, break up one bale of hay and toss it around to give the truck a more country – like feel, and voila! You’ve got the equivalent of a couple of hayracks. You can drive around the park a couple of times, let the kids whoop and holler a bit, then take them to where ever in the park you have the food being prepared. After the kids eat, you can play a few games, and by then it is dark which, of course, the children love. Give them all flashlights at this point! Safety first! When all the food is gone and the games are completed you put them back on the trucks and take them to the point in the park where their parents are waiting. Those kids will sleep good that night!
I wouldn’t do a hayride, however, for children under the age of eight under any circumstances and ten is pushing it. I also suggest that you contact the park authorities and your local police before attempting this party. One or the other might throw a fit. But I rather doubt it, especially if you present it to them as wanting to preserve some of yesteryear. The park might even like the idea so well that they want to start sponsoring their own hay rides. And the police might even agree to patrol the park a few extra times that night.
So, unless you live in a place where it’s so large that you know it just isn’t possible, why don’t you consider giving a hayride a try for this year’s Halloween party? I promise you, it will give those children, and maybe even the adult sponsors, something they’ll never forget. I know I never did.