Too many Halloween hayrides these days are “haunted.” You know the ones, it’s late at night, you’re riding on the back of a hay wagon pulled by a tractor on a desolate dirt road winding through a farmer’s field or maybe through the woods – often nicknamed things like “Ghoulish Grove” or “Phantom Forest” – and actors dressed in creepy costumes jump out from all directions leaving you a nervous, if entertained, wreck.
Well this vintage postcard harkens back to a simpler, and less horror-obsessed, time. It actually reminds me of the hayrides of my youth. My family went to a spot called Terhune Orchards in Princeton, NJ. The hayride was about being together; about enjoying the clean, crisp, chilly autumn air; and about picking the perfect pumpkin along the way, the pumpkin that would become the jack-o-lantern that would light your doorstep on Halloween. Yeah, it smelled like the manure of various farm animals, but that only added to the “atmosphere.”
The folks on this postcard seem to be having a ball. Everyone’s smiling. Everyone’s dressed up in stylish clothes and hats. One woman seems to be tooting a party horn, or drinking from an oddly shaped bottle, either way she’s having fun. Let’s remember to stay in touch with these simpler times. Leave the Ghoulish Grove behind and find yourself a Tranquil Trail.