If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Carmen Ensinger
Roodhouse has often been called a scary place, but at Halloween they take that as a compliment.
In fact, they work harder every year to make sure they live up to that title and with now two major haunting attractions to boast about – they just might be the Scare Capital of Illinois or at least of Greene County, but, hey, think big.
The event is put on entirely by volunteers and those who do all of the work is the Roodhouse Rez crew. Mike McCartney has been helping that crew build the scenery and is the unofficial spokesperson for the crew.
This is the second year for the event and McCartney said it is going to be well worth the $5 entry fee.
“This year is going to be a lot better than last year’s event,” he said. “They have worked every night for the past three months putting this together and bought a lot more material and props to make it a better experience this year as opposed to last year.”
In referring to “they” McCartney is referencing the caretaker of the Rez, Ralph Riley and his two sons, Jim Bob and Drew.
“The Riley boys are all really big into Halloween so they started this last year,” McCartney said. “People seemed to like it, so this year, they went all out and made it a lot bigger and a lot better.”
Just to get an idea of what to expect when one goes out there for the hayride. There will be a concession stand with food, so come hungry. Should there be a line, there will be a scary Halloween movie playing on a big screen television to keep everyone occupied until it is their turn on the hayride.
Once on the wagon, the wagon will go down behind the rez through a 60-foot tunnel. On the other side of this tunnel, one will get off and walk through a cemetery of the dead, or maybe the not-so-dead. Next is a large haunted house filled with mazes to weave through as well as five or six rooms filled with ghoulish surprises that just might leave one with wet pants as they get back on the wagon.
The wagon then heads back to the tunnel on its way back, but the fun isn’t over yet. We won’t divulge anymore lest we should spoil the fun. But it’s a pretty good scare for $5.
The hayride is only open on Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 7 p.m. and ending, as McCarthy said, “when there is nobody left to get on the wagon.”
With the popularity of Halloween growing exponentially over the years, and the fact that they are only open two days a week, McCartney was asked if he thought they would be able to accommodate everyone.
“The wagon we have will hold about 20 to 25 people so there shouldn’t be too long of a wait like there was last year,” he said. “Last year, in between trips, the walls were mainly plastic sheeting so when one group would come through, before the next group they would have to go in there and staple it back up and it took time.”
But, this year there is no need to do that.
“Like I said, they have spent a lot of money and done a lot of construction on these sets this year,” he said. “Instead of being plastic, the haunted house has painted plywood for walls and they have extended the tunnel out to be 60 feet so they have made it a lot longer as well.”
As for the wait time, McCartney said if they have to, they can bring out a second wagon.
“We are just still kind of working on the logistics of when to start the second batch so they won’t run into one another,” he said. “We haven’t quite gotten that worked out yet.”
For those with little ones who think they might be too young for the regular version, there will be a Friendly Monster Night on Oct. 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission on this night is one can of dog or cat food or a toy, per person, with all proceeds going to Mandy’s Whine and Bark.
For those who really like a scare, there will be one night called “Lights Out.”
“On this night, all you get to go through the haunted house is a single glow stick,” McCartney said. “They have some very dim lights in the rooms, but on this night, those lights will be off so the rooms will be in total darkness and you have just the glow stick to find your way through it.”
Above it was mentioned that there were two haunting events in Roodhouse. The other event is, of course 217 Terror, located in the heart of Roodhouse. They open on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. as well.
“We want to promote them as well as our own event,” McCartney said. “People should go to both of them while they are in town, but they should check their website because they are on a different schedule than we are on some nights.”
The Haunted Hayride has a website as well: rezhauntedhayride.com or they can be found on Facebook.
“It is just unbelievable how much work they have put into this this year,” McCartney said. “I think you are going to walk away more than satisfied. Just remember that everyone out here is a volunteer – no one is getting paid – so be kind.”