A haunted hayride is a perfect way to capture the sights, frights and spooky spirit of Halloween. Wait until it's completely dark to begin the ride. If possible, have it go past an old graveyard and through a wooded area. If you can't pass through an actual graveyard, you can create your own gravestones by cutting up and painting cardboard boxes. To add a personal haunted feel, find out the names of the passengers and use a sound system to call them out in chilling tones.
To keep everyone full of anticipation, have the person driving the tractor or horse-drawn hay cart dressed as a ghostly or haunted character. Before the ride starts, he can tell a scary story, matching the setting of the hayride. If you're going past a graveyard, or created your own, he can tell a chilling story about waking the dead, or a story about the haunted land they're about to pass through.
To create a haunted graveyard, drop dry ice into bowls of warm water and turn on a fog machine for a foggy scene that evokes eeriness and apprehension. As the hayride goes quietly by, have people dressed in dirty, tattered clothes jump up out of the graves and walk towards the wagon. Use sound effects like screams and moans to enhance the feel. Let the "ghosts" touch the hay riders while saying things like "Come with me" or "Take me with you."
Have scary monsters with bloody chainsaws and axes chase after the hayride. To create anticipation, pretend that the wagon gets stuck in the mud as the chaser approaches. Let witches chase after the hayride and throw a bucket full of plastic spiders into the trailer with the riders. As the hayride continues, have spooky figures run out of the woods and jump onto the sides of the trailer.
As the hayride stops under trees, have items drop down over the trailer. You can suspend plastic, mutilated bodies, fluttering bats and snakes from the trees. This effect works well if the driver stops to tell another scary story. Be sure to use sound effects and spotlights to add to the thrills.