During the day, Pinehaven Farm hosts an annual fall festival with a pumpkin patch and all sorts of safe, family-friendly attractions. For more than 20 years, this farm just outside of the Twin Cities has been a destination for families.
But after the sun goes down, the horrors are unleashed for the Dead End Hayride haunted house. 2016 was its 6th year, and it gets stronger each season. The Dead End Hayride takes full advantage of the farm’s 150 acres to create larger-than-life horrors.
Our Favorite Parts
The Dead End Hayride is the core of the attractions, taking up 40 acres of the farm. The pitch dark forest closes in on the hayride on either side, blocking the view and creating a creepy ambience at the same time. There’s a sensation that anything could come out of the darkness—and it does. Not limited to a specific theme, the scenes the scaremasters come up with cover almost every horror you can think of. Monsters, undead, psychotic murderers, and more. If it can scare you, it’s probably here.
Best of all, there’s no problematic bleed between the settings. Many haunted houses have limited space that shoves the scares together. Dead End Hayride has space to spare, so there’s no overlap and every scare is given its full atmospheric weight. Even though the audience might be a little farther away, every last detail gets the respect it deserves. Coupled with exceptional animatronic work, the result is incredibly realistic scenes that are truly terrifying.
After venturing out to the farthest edges of the farm, you’re left deep in the woods at the start of the Departed Oaks Haunted Trail. The only way back to safety is to follow this trail through more horrors—only this time, you’re on foot. You’ll find an even greater level of realism all along the trail in every chilling scene. From the makeup to animatronics to special effects to costumes, everything is given that extra bit of detail.
Sunnyvale Asylum is located along the haunted trail. The attraction trades open spaces for tight confines where forgotten mental patients run wild. The asylum takes advantage of the enclosed space to have scares coming from every angle. You’ll find the same level of detail and realism here as everywhere else—in fact, many of the props (including the large iron gate) are from an actual closed asylum.
The final hurdle before getting back safely is the Site 66 haunted corn maze. The corn maze has been around for about five years now, and every year it gets a makeover with new terrors. Corn mazes are creepy enough in the middle of a dark rural setting, but Dead End Hayride doesn’t stop there. They build on the creepy atmosphere with pulse-pounding, in-your-face scares. Horrific scenes and terrifying monsters wait around every corner. 2016 saw the addition of chainsaw-wielding horrors that stalk through the maze, their revving sounds stabbing through the corn.
Best of all, every single attraction is interactive, adding that extra level of terror.
What We’re Excited About for 2017
It’s hard to believe that Dead End Hayride only started in 2010, since they have a lot more scares, realism, and expertise than you’d normally expect from such a young haunted house. A big part of that is because they are constantly adding new things every year, like the chainsaws in the Site 66 maze or the Sunnyvale Asylum itself.
They’ve got all-new additions in 2017 to the favorite attractions, and a few more surprises in store.
Know Before You Go
With the exception of Sunnyvale Asylum, the entire haunted house is outside in rural Minnesota. Dress and plan accordingly.
You’ll find bonfires, food, and drink vendors at the exit, not to mention ATMs. Credit cards are also accepted.
You can buy FastPass tickets online, which is a good idea especially late in the season. Tickets are cheaper for Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and the lines are better on those days.