COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Although not everyone celebrating Halloween celebrates the Autumn Harvest, hayrides are still a Halloween tradition that has lasted more than a century.
The tradition of hayrides started when farmhands would carry hay wagons to and from barns.
In the 19th century, tourism and vacations became prevalent which allowed urban families to visit the country. Local farmers then started organizing commercial hayrides for extra profit.
Hayrides are typically pulled by tractors or trucks, most routes feature Fall landscapes of a pumpkin patch, scarecrows, farm-land and other autumnal scenes.
While these trips are not as commercialized as amusement park rides, it is still advised to keep all hands, feet, arms, and legs inside the ride at all times.
Hayrides have evolved since the 19th century, shifting from sitting atop a 15-20 foot hay bale to a flat surface lined with straw or hay.
Now, most people don’t know they are not sitting on actual hay. Instead straw is used on many of these Fall excursions.
Hay is grown specifically to feed cattle, horses, and other animals.
Hay can be a legume, grassy hay, orchardgrass, Timothy or clover. Different types of hay offer differing nutritional values, largely the region where the crops are grown affects the animal diet as well. Typically, hay bales will range from $35 to $60 per bale.
It is harvested before the plants produce seeds adding to its nutritional value creating a more nutrient and digestible product for livestock.
Straw is a byproduct of a grain crop. When items like wheat, rice, oat, barley, rye, and buckweat are farmed the straw is a byproduct of the farming. These bales typically range between $4-$5 a piece.
It is recycled after grain crops are harvested, using the stems that were left behind in the harvesting process.
What most people are sitting on during a traditional hayride is grown as bedding for livestock, true to the activity. Hay is grown to to feed livestock, and would be much too expensive to serve as bedding during the Fall activity.