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Riverside Park hosts zombies, vampires

By chirst
Oct. 26, 2012 at 5:26 a.m.
Updated Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:27 a.m.

Bobbie Jo Vasquez, 11, Joshua Vasquez, 6, Prince Johnson, 5, and Josie Vasquez scream during the Haunted Hay Ride at Riverside Park in Victoria.

The witch was scared.

"I'm scared of monsters; I think I'm gonna cry," the 8-year-old witch fretted, holding her mom's hand.

Marissa Gutierrez, a third-grader at Shields Elementary School, completed her witch look with a pointed, sparkly hat for the Haunted Hay Ride on Friday, but said her costume did not prepare her for the horrors lurking in Riverside Park.

"I love to do fun things with my kids," said Josie Vasquez, Marissa's mom. "And Halloween is my favorite time of year. It even goes past Christmas."

Vasquez came to the hay ride with her children, sister-in-law, nieces, nephews and friends.

Her nephew, Joshua Vasquez, 6, was convinced he could make it through the hay ride without screaming.

"I'm not scared," Joshua said. "I watch scary movies. 'Chucky' is my favorite, but I also watch 'Freddy Krueger,' 'Jeepers Creepers.'"

Danielle Williams, recreation specialist for Victoria Parks and Recreation, said she started the Haunted Hay Ride in 2011 in lieu of having a fall festival at the community center.

"I was driving through the park one day, and I thought it would be scary at night," Williams said about how she got the idea.

"It is different because there aren't a lot of places in the area that do a haunted hay ride," she said. "We wanted to do something different."

A volunteer scarer for the evening, Chelsie Richardson, 16, said she also worked the hay ride in 2011.

Dressed up as the bound woman from the movie "13 Ghosts," Chelsie said she had a purpose to her scaring.

"My goal is to scare a lot of people," Chelsie said. "There are always those kids that are like, 'You aren't scary. You aren't scary.' I want to get those kids."

Williams said they charged $1 per rider in 2011 and raised about $500. This year, they are hoping to have about 1,000 riders and charged $2 per rider. Williams said the charge just covers cost.

But she didn't just plan the event - Williams participated as a 1950s zombie housewife.

"I just wanted to go vintage, but I also wanted to be scary, so - zombie," she said, laughing, shrugging her shoulders.

Marissa huddled with a neighbor on the hay ride, but made it through without screaming - even when a city bus started flashing strobe lights and a zombie ran out from behind a tree, the scariest part, she said.

Still, she doesn't think she would like to go through it again.

Joshua gave his best scream at the end of the hay ride, when the tractor went over a speed bump.

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