It's a SCREAM!

Prepare to be scared.

DeWitt's 20th annual Howling Hayride is frightfully ready to make you scream. The tractor-drawn wagon ride will trundle you through haunted woods and fields, linger in Maxwell Park for a 20-minute thrill at a haunted house, and upon return, will drop you off to embark on an eerie journey through a haunted maze.

"It's considered one of the 'scariest' hayrides in the area because there's something to scare every age group," said Karen Keast, director of parks and recreation. "It's most popular with ages 8 through 13, but we usually get a scream out of everybody."

Keast advises those who scare easily to watch out for the speeding ghost train and make sure you stay on the wagon.

"There have been lots of screams in the past," she said. "Many visitors from years past haunt the woods and fields."

Be that as it may, the brave and faint of heart are encouraged to enjoy a night of adventure sure to make your stomach growl for grub.

"Everyone is treated to a cup of cider and a donut," said Keast, adding the parks and recreation department will be selling popcorn and hot cocoa; Applebee's will be on hand for lovers of soup, chili and hot dogs. Commemorative 20th anniversary T-shirts will also be sold.

The Howling Hayride each year involves the entire full-time parks and recreation staff, 35 part-time staff and about a dozen volunteers in making the event run smoothly.

The fun begins at 7 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22 and 23 and from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28, 29 and 30. Tickets cost $8 at the gate; children 5 and under get in free. The hayride takes place at Maxwell Park on Badgley Road in East Syracuse.

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