Local farm provides both tricks and treats

LIBERTY RIDGE FARM HOSTS their annual Halloween festival that featured a haunted house, maze, human-size hamster wheels, and other attractions.

When my sister and her boyfriend—Cheryl and Omar, who were stepping in for my parents on the west coast—arrived at RPI, we headed to the FestEvil haunted attractions at Schaghticoke’s Liberty Ridge Farm. We waited in the rain for what seemed like days, wondering when we would freeze to death. As we got closer to the building, we realized from the tantalizing scent wafting in the air that there would be an opportunity to purchase snacks before and after checking out the haunted attractions. Being the impulsive food addicts that we are, we couldn’t resist the temptation of buying donuts and cider, which totally had what I like to call the ramen factor. If you’ve ever been to a dining establishment where you had the privilege of waiting in a long line outside in the freezing cold, you know exactly what I’m talking about; it’s the misery of enduring the bite of winter makes the warm food that much more satisfying. That being said, the quality of the food itself was impressive.

The donuts were like the love children of churros, clouds, and foodgasms. They were fluffy, dusted, and not overbearingly sweet, but with just enough volume when it came down to the bite. There were little bits of what I assumed to be cinnamon or sugar, which added a nice contrast to an otherwise soft treat. In addition, we got them fresh out of the oven, and let. Me. Tell. You. It was better than fresh cookies. My first donut left me satisfied yet wanting more.

The apple cider was delicious as well, providing the perfect kick to balance out the aftertaste of the donuts. I also appreciated that it was warm but not hot, so I didn’t have to worry about burning myself. In my humble, cold, and food-craving opinion, the two were a match made in heaven, like twin baby food angels frolicking on my tongue. In fact, all three of us thought the experience was worth it (also helps that they weren’t overpriced, a donut for a dollar), so we returned for more after the attractions, and I even brought a box back for my fellow editors.

The line that trailed through the shop continued out the other end, where we waited, once again, for a trolley to take us to the the haunted attractions. But the trolley actually turned out to be one of my favorite parts, because as it made its way out to the fields, there was a generic Halloween voice playing over the speaker, imparting jewels of wisdom like, “We’re taking you into the bowels of the farm” and “if you don’t touch them, they won’t touch you.”

Our first stop was Fort Hunted: a maze with jarring knocking sounds, shooting sounds, and strobe lights. The maze went up to the peak, which signaled the midpoint of the maze, and back down. Then we came to a two-way junction, so we obviously chose the path where the strobe light was. The wobbling silhouettes of Cheryl and Omar looked like zombies, and I was excited to see where this path would take us—it’s not typical of a haunted attraction to show something like this. But once we passed the still soldier at the corner, he told us to turn around. In any case, it was still fun to bust some moves under the strobe lights like we were back in middle school.

Next, we made our way out and got in line for the haunted house. A man in black with a pale face greeted us and gave us 3D glasses, and told the couple before us “please wait while we dispose of the bodies from the previous visit.” Our turn came, and it was actually pretty trippy. It was really cool and pretty seeing everything through the glasses, but my eyes couldn’t handle it, so I kind of stared over my glasses like a granny. Cheryl walked past a still man; once she turned around, he screamed and we both jumped. We continued to do so for the rest of the haunted house.

In the next room, a man entered with a platter and asked us if we were ready for dinner: a bloody skeleton hand. We politely asked if we could help ourselves. He said that we couldn’t, but we could donate some for the next meal, since we have eight fingers. Confused, I asked, “don’t we have 10 fingers?” He then politely reminded me that humans have two thumbs (Go me!).

After that, we encountered a lady in a dress weeping. I asked if she was okay. In all honesty, she reminded me of Moaning Myrtle. That would explain her despicable trollish behavior, because when we reached the other end of the room, she ran toward us, screaming, “why are you here? You can’t be here!” We ran out screaming, and after that it was a jumbled mess of corridors, plant decorations, and two more jump scares. But the group of girls behind us caught up, and their screaming sufficiently distracted and amused us so that we were not very frightened at all. For once, thank you basic white girls!

The last attraction we went to was a human rat race, in which two people got into giant wooden hamster wheels and raced from end to end of a track. The novelty of it was wonderful, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of Cheryl and Omar pushing frantically. Afterwards, we headed for more donuts and cider, and called it a night. All in all, I would say that the Liberty Farms haunted attractions were enjoyable and worthwhile; the feelings of warmth, happiness, excitement, fear, and amusement all combined to create an excellent lead into the Halloween spirit.