For more than a decade, the Hanson Haunted Barn in Mayer has been a Halloween staple in Western Carver County.
Until last year, that is, when work obligations made it to difficult for the Hanson family to take on the challenge of organizing the frightening fall festivities once more. The absence of the Hanson Haunted Barn was short lived, though, as the family is brining it back once again this year. The event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
According to Kris Hanson, the family decided to bring the event back this year for multiple reasons. For one, his parents had decided they were getting too old to take on the massive undertaking each year, but this year, the kids agreed to take on the challenge. Perhaps even more importantly, however, Hanson said the family didn’t want to let down the Watertown Friends For Life Food Shelf. In 2010, the event generated 1,350 pounds of food for the food shelf, a donation that was missed last year.
“We heard through the grapevine that the food shelf was really hurting because we didn’t do the haunted barn,” Hanson said. “That supplied so much food in one night just before Thanksgiving that they were banking on that.”
This year’s free event will once again benefit the food shelf, and monetary donations will go to the Minnesota Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Hanson said the family usually tries to pick a local family in need to benefit, but without an obvious choice this year, they chose a charity instead. Hanson’s cousin suffers from MS.
As for the food donations, the Hansons are hoping to surpass the 1,350 pounds they collected in 2010. That was a record for the event, and Hanson said the number has grown ever year.
Attendance has also grown steadily every year. Hanson said in its first year, the event drew about 400 attendees. Now, the event is expected to draw about 900 people each year.
“That’s what we always shoot for is to beat last year’s record,” Hanson said. “It’s been going up and up every single year, by more than what we thought it would.”
As in the past, the event will feature wagon rides through the haunted woods, which will be home to goblins and monsters. The rides will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The main attraction is once again the haunted barn, with tours running from 7-9 p.m., or until whenever the line ends. There are 17 acts as part of this year’s maze through the haunted barn. There will also be carnival type activities and games for kids in the upper barn, which will be run by the Mayer-Watertown DandyLions.
The Hanson Haunted Barn is located at 14880 50th St. in Mayer. Call Kris (612) 702-3609 or Edie (612) 384-8378 for more information.