Hayrides have been a staple of autumn harvest celebrations for thousands of years. They were popular in rural America at least as far back to the 17th Century, when early English settlers enjoyed their successful farm season with music, dancing and food.
As poets and songwriters have emphasized over the centuries, the wagon full of young men and women each harvest season signaled romantic hayrides through the countryside. Of course, the custom is almost, but not quite as enjoyable for children and everyone of every age.
The rules, if there really are any, are very simple, and you should have no problems in thoroughly enjoying yourself after making some basic preparations.
1. Dress for the ride: If the event calls for special costumes, be sure to check about how to dress with the organizers. For example: An Old West theme would encourage cowboy and cowgirl clothing, hats and boots.
2. Dress warm: Although the winter weather doesn’t usually begin until a month or so after autumn harvest time, hayrides can be a bit chilly, especially those that are planned for nights. If you start off lightly dressed in the warm sunset, bring jackets along for later. Blankets are helpful as the night gets cooler, and are excellent snuggling wraps for those who require close encounters in the hay.
3. Take necessary items: A flashlight can always come in handy, especially if the night is very dark and you want to identify the person next to you before things go any further. Cell phones are useful for contact with the outside world, if you really want to miss one moment of the hayride.
4. Of course, you shouldn’t have matches nor lighted cigarettes in that very easily flammable wagon full of hay and people. If there’s a campfire and cooking planned for a stop some time during the event, be sure all participants know the area’s rules and restrictions about fires and strictly obey them.
5. Still or video cameras, including those included as part of your cell phone equipment, can be very useful. You may want to see the photos and videos after several decades, bringing memories when you two met for the first time in the back of a hay wagon.
6. Bring along large-type (for seeing in the dark) printed lyrics of old favorite songs. Just a very few examples are Shine on Harvest Moon, Autumn Leaves, I Walk the Line, Stand By Your Man and My Bonnie. Of course, what hayride would dare to venture out without everyone singing Kum Ba Ya?
These are just a very few ideas about how to enjoy a hayride. There’s no doubt that almost anyone can come up with better plans to originate a much more creative ride.