Oct 18, 2011
Chatham Jaycees Haunted Hayride is back – and so is the Sasquatch
By Jenn Pointer
Springfield – The State Journal-Register
CHATHAM – The Chatham Jaycees Haunted Hayride is back, and the organization says it is prepared to awaken the spirit of Halloween – and a few monsters – by resurrecting the old community tradition Saturday, Oct. 29, at Chatham Community Park.
Hayrides will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., with friendly rides available from 5 to 6 p.m. The route will begin and end at the main entrance of Chatham Community Park by the parking lot behind the baseball concession stands. The Park Street entrance will be closed.
The Chatham Jaycees Haunted Hayride will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at Chatham Community Park. The Jaycees will be setting up many “scare stations” and several monsters will be roaming in the park, including the mysterious Sasquatch who was last seen by the Jaycees Oct. 6 at Fulgenzi’s heading to Funilla Ice. Have you seen the Sasquatch since?
Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for children ages 3 to 12. Children ages 2 and younger ride free. Tickets will be sold until 9 p.m.
The Jaycees will be setting up many “scare stations” and several monsters will be roaming in the park, including the mysterious Sasquatch who was last seen by the Jaycees Oct. 6 at Fulgenzi’s heading to Funilla Ice.
There will be a bonfire and ghost stories by the Friends of the Library.
Hotdogs, bratwursts and a variety of fall treats will be sold, including Apple Barn cider and caramel apples. Popcorn, hot chocolate and baked goods will also available for purchase.
The Ancient Athletics, a unit of the St. Andrew’s Society of Central Illinois, will be setting up a scare station and donating the use of a party bus to provide tours for the elderly.
History of the event
The Haunted Hayride dates back to 1988 and was “the brainchild” of Chatham Jaycee Terry Burke according to longtime member John Moore.
The original route started at the village square, toured decorated neighborhoods west of Route 4 and south of Main St., and wove its way back to the square, where members of the Friends of the Library told ghost stories around a campfire.
Volunteers from the Chatham Fire Department towed the wagons and the Jaycees followed in chase cars.
Moore said the Jaycees and other groups set up displays and Halloween scenes along the route, which later led to the participation of residents.
“Residents who lived along the route during the early days of the event would often plan and execute scenes on their own. Some of these became very elaborate,” he said.
“Halloween parties took place in driveways and costumed guests got involved in scaring the hay riders.”
The Jaycees determined in the mid 1990s that public roads were too dangerous for hay riders, and the event was shelved.
The organization has held alternative Halloween events since, including an indoor event at the Chatham Community Building and a Halloween walk called the “Goblin Gathering.” Hayrides were brought back briefly beginning in the late 1990s during the construction of Chatham Community Park, but ended after a few years.
Moore said Chatham residents remember the tradition of the Haunted Hayride because of the amount of community participation and the creativity that was put into displaying “scare areas.”
This year, the Chatham Jaycees plan to present an event with the same atmosphere as the original haunted hayride, Moore said.
“While providing plenty of frights, the Jaycees always tried to add a little humor and kept the event very family friendly, too – fun and frights, not a lot of gore or violence.
“There will be something for everyone to enjoy, from the very young to grandparents.”
For more information, visit the Chatham Jaycees on Facebook.