McCray’s Farm in South Hadley Offering Annual Haunted Halloween Hayride

MassLive, October 6, 2016, by Chris Dondoros

Nestled between the conclusion of The Big E and the start of leaf-peeping season lurks a darker Western Massachusetts tradition: McCray Farm’s Monster Mash Haunted Hayride in South Hadley.

According to the hayride’s organizers, this year’s Monster Mash Hayride will feature attractions both old and new, providing horror aficionados with a frightful – yet fun – experience.

“This year, we’ve listened a lot to what people were saying on different mediums. We’ve redesigned a lot of areas,” said Dan Augusto, owner of Tombstone Productions and designer of the hayride. “What’s old is new again. We’ve brought back several themes from throughout the years.”

Augusto, who has designed the hayride each year since 1991, said this year’s hayride would feature such attractions at the “Killbilly Trail” and the “wasteland,” a post-apocalyptic stretch Augusto said could have appeared in “Mad Max.” Augusto also said the hayride would feature time-honored “classics” such as witches and killer clowns.

“Every area has a ton of new stuff. We added a second mansion – the D.O.N. – an acronym for ‘Diagnostic Operational Nexus.’ It’s a genetic research facility where, of course, something went horribly wrong,” said Augusto. “It’s much more of a loud, intense and in-your-face type of experience.”

Augusto said this loud, intense, in-your-face experience for participants wouldn’t be possible without the aid of more than 100 cast and crew members, each of whom play an important role over the hayride’s month-long season.

“There’s only so much one person we can draw up. We’ve got an amazing cast and crew. So much comes down to the actors and actresses we have,” he said. “Some nights, we’re here until midnight or 1 a.m., but watching them, it’s hard not to stay motivated.”

For children and families, Steve McCray, owner of McCray’s Farm, said the farm also offers a pumpkin-picking hayride.

“The ride through the pumpkin patch is three dollars and we have about 40 acres of ‘pick your own pumpkins.,'” said McCray, who added that he began offering the hayride in the late 1980s.

“There’s about four acres we dedicate to school groups and two acres of gourds we bring to the front. The rest, we take people down on the trailer. Some of the pumpkins are big and some are small. Sometimes there are white pumpkins in the field, too,” he said.

McCray’s Farm is located at 55 Alvord St. in South Hadley.

The Monster Mash Haunted Hayride runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through Oct. 30.

Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children 52″ and under.