CARTERVILLE - A Carterville Halloween tradition offers family fun for all of Southern Illinois. The Carterville Lions Club hosted its 28th annual Haunted Hayride on Thursday.
Dale Poiter, Lions Club member and chairman of the Haunted Hayride, said the club hosts the event to offer a fun activity for the community and to raise money for a good cause. Poiter said the hayride runs through Saturday night and will likely draw about 3,000 people over three nights.
The hayride begins at James Street Park and winds through a haunted forest featuring multiple Halloween scenes. Poiter said the club keeps the cost of the hayride low so that everyone in the community can afford to participate.
"The Lions Club does it for the community, for this whole part of Illinois," he said. "We're an organization for that reason to help the community, to work with the community. That's what we're all about.
Poiter said the money raised during the Haunted Hayride, which is one of the club's biggest fundraisers for the year, goes toward providing eyeglasses and hearing aids for people in need.
Larry Motsinger, a volunteer who drives tractors for the hayride, said he's been volunteering for 13 years. He said the event is good for the community of Carterville and the surrounding towns and is gaining popularity.
"We usually run four tractors," he said. "But it's so busy right now we had to add the fifth tractor. As long as it stays busy we'll keep them going and keep scaring them. I just love all the kids screaming."
Krista Elliott and her son, Brandon Best, said they enjoyed the hayride. Elliott said this is her third year coming to the event and enjoys the experience.
"I like the fall weather," she said. "I like hayrides more so than enclosed haunted houses."
Best said he was startled by the chain saw-wielding, masked men on the ride.
"One's being scared, two's a panic attack," he said. "If you listen to my heart, you can still hear it thumping."