Events, Horror, Interviews, Review

An Interview With CEO Melissa Carbone as The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride Celebrates 10 Years of Terror

This isn’t your typical hayride.

I’m taking a step away from third-person speak to write this review and interview, because there’s really no other way for me to properly convey the feelings and visit unless I write candidly.

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of returning to The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride after 5 years. Back in 2012, it was the LA Haunted Hayride that provided me my first United States haunt experience and the opportunity to meet Elvira for the first time. I could spend hours expanding on the meet-and-greet, the Hayride with the Mistress of the Dark, and overall first-timer’s thoughts. Instead, we’re going to fast forward to the present.

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The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride has been in business for 10 years now!

For 10 years, visitors have walked through the entrance with no idea of what spooks and scares awaited their arrival. This October is no different from the rest in terms of incredible value and time put into each Hayride setup, character design, and miscellaneous attractions from tarot card readings to entertainment and more.

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CEO Melissa Carbone – Image via Medium.com

While my trip to Los Angeles was short, I was able to reach out to CEO Melissa Carbone to learn more about the origins of The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride.

“The LA Haunted Hayride became only the fourth Halloween attraction in town at the time we launched it.  I believed a market the size of Los Angeles was incredibly underserved for what appeared each year to be a growing fanatical group of fans,” Melissa shared. “Being from New England, I always missed the feeling of an East Coast small town Halloween Hayride, and after seeing how enthusiastic my neighbors were over my yard creations, my wife (at the time) and I decided to stop waiting for someone else to bring us small town Halloween and to do it ourselves.”

Nestled in Griffith Park, the Hayride offers plenty of entertainment for visitors of all ages and fear thresholds. Here are some of the highlighted attractions on location:

  • Purgatory – As a visitor of our haunted village, you get the privilege of entering through the gates of Purgatory. Our villagers have prepared their stomping grounds for the ultimate Halloween experience. Become a part of our interactive shows, take a ride on our beloved undead horses on the Scary-Go-Round, visit our wickedly insightful psychic and shop in our charming Bootique. Our haunted village is quite pleasant, but we have only mentioned what’s in store for you in Purgatory…
  • Haunted Hayride – Take a ride on our hay wagon as we transport you and your friends into the unknown. Legend has it, the haunted woods contain clowns waiting to unleash their bag of tricks on passersby. Are you ready to experience the thrill of the ride?
  • House of Shadows – From the moment you enter in to the House of Shadows, the darkness overcomes you. You will look for a light, but there is none. You are now the unsuspecting victim of the vicious souls that invited you in. You may feel out of your comfort zone, but to them, there is no place like home.
  • Trick or Treat – In this haunted village Halloween never ends, and trick-or-treating is a nightly activity. Explore the neighborhoods by going door to door to encounter its occupants and all their mischief. All you have to do is knock… 

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It was quite a treat to see how much the Hayride has grown since my last visit. The lines were longer and I feel like the body count tripled since 2012 at the very least. Being a horror and Halloween fan, it was even more exciting to see who makes up the interested community. I was in line for the Hayride behind an elderly couple, I heard the laughter of kids running around the grounds, and my own mother (who was originally opposed to going) was enjoying herself.

I suppose what I’m getting at is that this is an experience that allows you to create memories with friends, family, and at times strangers. With 10 years of coordinating, Melissa and her team have much to be proud of.

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“Celebrating our ten year anniversary this year is surreal.  I’m so proud and grateful that we’ve become a Hollywood Halloween Icon. That’s a tough thing to do in this town.  It’s such a little piece of magic and the characters, scenes and narratives we’ve created over the years have become the content that kids have grown up with. It’s the joy of my life.”

The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride concludes operations for the season on October 31st. For schedule information and tickets, please visit losangeleshauntedhayride.com. Follow The LA Haunted Hayride on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Can’t make it to the Hayride? Fear not.
Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group acquired The LA Haunted Hayride in January which means more premium quality attractions in more states! The Nashville Haunted Hayride debuted this year thanks to this merger. Additionally, there are haunted attractions in 15 markets across the US. From the CEO herself, we hear “they are all top notch, beautiful creations.” VIEW HAUNTS | VIEW YEAR-ROUND ATTRACTIONS
A huge thank you to CEO Melissa Carbone for interviewing with TheSuperghoul.com. You can follow her on Instagram here, and be sure to check out her book Ready, Fire, Aim: How I Turned a Hobby Into an Empire

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