Soldiers and Family Members of all ages enjoyed a frightfully good time as Family and Welfare, Morale and Recreation teamed up with Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes to host the eighth annual Haunted Hayride event Friday night.
The evening’s festivities began with activities at Magrath Sports Complex. There, guests were treated to snacks while they enjoyed scary movies on a large projector screen and children played in the bounce houses.
“We wanted to provide the Families with more activities to do while they are waiting to take the shuttles to Remington Park,” said Michelle Roden, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers senior program adviser.
Upon arriving at the park, guests were greeted by costumed performers and had an opportunity to enjoy games, candy, toys, hot drinks and tasty snacks. A photo area was provided for those who wished to keep a memento from the event.
Spirits, vampires and a wide variety of monsters roamed the grounds, and a graveyard full of zombies awaited those who ventured across the bridge.
Even more spooky surprises greeted those brave enough to take the hayride. The woods along the way were filled with scary clowns, goblins and even a flame-throwing tin man.
As guests waited for their turn to brave the haunted pavilion, a chainsaw-wielding serial killer left them deliciously frightened.
At the end of a maze full of deranged prison inmates and a plethora of creatures both dead and un-dead, attendees were treated to gifts and candy provided by AmeriCU credit union and hot chocolate and snacks provided by the Association of the United States Army. (Sponsorship does not imply endorsement.)
Mike Plummer, a longtime board member of AUSA, said that the Haunted Hayride event is one that he enjoys being a part of year after year.
“It’s focused on the kids,” Plummer said. “The kids make a lot of sacrifices when their fathers or mothers are deployed. So, when you can get Families together and give them a good time, then it’s something worthwhile.”
Gene Spencer, Parks and Recreation industrial complex manager, said the success of the event was due, in large part, to the contributions of Public Works personnel as well as Soldier volunteers.
“We got a lot of support from 2nd Brigade. They provided a 40-man detail and leadership to assist with the logistics of the whole week,” Spencer said.
Many Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team also purchased their own costumes and braved the frosty night air to provide an added thrill for guests.
Spc. Stuart Hilton said that he enjoyed seeing the reactions of those who participated in the hayride.
“It was scary, but I liked it,” said Marisol Rodas, who attended the event with her Family.
Her sister, Kyeria Rodas, added that she liked being scared by the performers who jumped out at her, but she enjoyed the cookies at the end even more.