Take your chances on a haunted hay ride

It has been said there will be a haunted hay ride at Old Mill Road in Chester County on Oct. 24 through Oct. 31. Great chugging tractors will labor their way across rocky dark trails where ghosts of the past hover and talk every year at this time.

Headless riders, mounted on strong, fearless steeds, will wend their way through mazes of tall majestic pines, where, behind each one, another thrill awaits the viewers.

Horses will speak to one another in the secretive language that only they understand, and cows in gentle pastures will watch and wait to see another scary event emerge.

Actors in proper costumes will wait on the hidden byways and mysterious paths to charge onto this grand Halloween stage and do what their role demands. They'll cause screams and frightful reactions, and when their appearance is over, the viewers will wonder for a minute if they really did see a headless man riding a grand chestnut horse -- or was it only an apparition?

All of this and much more can be enjoyed at the Down Home Farm and Riding Center, directed by Susan Gaston Bedford and her well-trained horses and her willing friends. There will be interesting and exciting episodes for the younger children, who will enjoy games and less frightening events.

Children 8 to adult can take the hocus-pocus trip that will include seeing the headless horseman ride right in front of them. Hear the legend of that very spirit and the famous Indian raid on settlers of the early years of our history. Find out about the chainsaw massacre and all that fellow did with his gasoline-powered weapon. It will be a night of scary events that will, for a time, seem like pure magic. The hours are 6:30 to 9 p.m. The cost of this audacious trip is $10.

Ten tickets to the events for younger children will be sold for $5. One of those tickets will allow entry in the "Pick Up Ducks" event, where the child, with his supplied cup in hand, can catch a little duck and discover the number painted on the bottom. If it is the winning number, he will be awarded a prize.

On to the "Ride a Horse" action: This will be tightly controlled by a seasoned equestrian holding the rein and walking with the child firmly perched on a very calm and trained steed around an enclosed ring. Safe and exciting to little children, the cost is two tickets.

Now to the horrifying "Graveyard Walk" through narrow paths marked by make-believe tombstones, along with strange sounds that will make that imaginative child turn and look back. The cost is two tickets.

Best of all, of course, is the historically wonderful "Cake Walk," where the children will walk on stones and other strange objects with a number printed clearly on the back. When the music stops, the participant will pick up his stepped-on piece. If he has the winning number, he'll win his very own cake made by the famous pastry maker, Cindy McCormick.

All of these exciting adventures will take place on Old Farm Road, easily reached if you leave from Rock Hill or any area that includes traveling on Interstate 77 South. Take Exit 68 to Route 9, then go 2 miles to S.C. 901. Take a right, and you'll see the sign for Old Mill Road. Take another right and follow that road until you see the signs for the Halloween Hay Ride.

If you are traveling from Chester take S.C. 97 south, go 8 1/2 miles to Brown Road on the left, go two-tenths of a mile and take a right on Old Mill Road. Just follow that road until you see the signs for the hay ride.

This is a new happening in our area and it is one that keeps our children safe. You know they will enjoy an exciting evening with folks such as Susan Bedford who have children of their own and who train their own horses and know how to drive the tractors. Farm fun in a wholesome and safe environment.