Me? Scared on a haunted hayride? Please.

This is what I told friends and family before I ventured to the Original Haunted Hayrides located on the Scarborough Downs access road.

But after I’d stood in line for half an hour, was corralled cattle-style into a holding pen and finally hopped onto a hay-covered wagon, I felt a twinge of apprehension.

This occurred right around the time our two guides commanded that we ride with our legs dangling vulnerably over the edge.

As the wagon pulled by a green John Deere tractor slowly lumbered across a muddy field toward the entrance to the dark forest where the treetops swayed ominously, my bravery dissipated into the cold, night sky.

Nor did my confidence return when our guides informed us that we could call them Jason (as in “Friday the 13th”) and Bubblegum. Not exactly the sort of names you want to scream out in hopes of being saved from the clutches of an undead beast.

Once we’d entered the dark forest — where we could see no farther than the outline of underbrush that crowded the narrow track — an algae-covered swamp monster emerged silently from the blackness and peered closely at each of us, as if searching for a fellow wetland companion.

The creatures of the night only got worse from that point on. As did the screaming we could hear in the distance.

About halfway through the 40-minute ride, we stopped at the witches’ shack for free samples of Spider Soda and Poisonous Popcorn. Unlike the ghouls we’d encountered previously, the green-faced witches were downright polite. They reminded me more of Elphaba in “Wicked” than the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz.”

All too soon, this friendly reprieve came to an end, and we were once again rolling through the haunted woods at a snail’s pace.

Every rustle of leaves or snap of a twig set my heart racing with anticipation of a demented clown or a crazed wizard emerging from the gloom and snatching me away to its lair.

My fears were realized when two goblins jumped from the darkness and grabbed my legs, trying to pull me from the wagon. I clutched the arm of my burly companion and managed to stay put, but my mental state hovered somewhere just south of sanity.

And let’s not even talk about the chainsaw-wielding psycho. I will remember him in my nightmares.

Original Haunted Hayrides runs Thursday to Sundays through Oct. 30, and is just one of dozens of Halloween-related events kicking off this week in southern Maine. If you need more to make your hair stand on end and make you scream until your throat feels like you’ve been chewing glass, check out our list on pages E29-31.

But don’t blame us if you have trouble sleeping afterward.

GET YOUR HAUNT ON

‘DAMNATIONLAND: THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BLEED’

A selection of short, Maine-made horror films.

WHEN: 7 and 9:15 p.m. today

WHERE: Nickelodeon Cinemas, Portland

HOW MUCH: $8

INFO: damnationland.com

WALK AMONG THE SHADOWS IV: SOULS AT SEA

Hear tales of long-dead residents inside the oldest resting place in Portland.

WHEN: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. today to Saturday and Oct. 27 to 29; tours leave every 15 minutes

WHERE: Eastern Cemetery, Congress Street, Portland

HOW MUCH: $10; $5 for kids under 12

INFO: spiritsalive.org

DESTINATION HAUNT

Explore the Twilight Trail, the Buried Alive Cemetery, the Execution Center and the Lebanon Laboratory during this creepy walking tour.

WHEN: 7 to 9 p.m. today, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday; 7 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Through Oct. 30.

WHERE: 249 Lord Road, Lebanon

HOW MUCH: $15 (cash only); not recommended for children under 13

INFO: destinationhaunt.com

WICKED WALKING TOURS

Learn about Portland’s dark legends and ghostly tales during a twisted tour through the Old Port.

WHEN: 8 p.m. today to Saturday and Tuesday to Oct. 29; 7 p.m. Oct. 30; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31

WHERE: Meet at Bell Buoy Park near Casco Bay Lines, Portland

HOW MUCH: $15; reservations required

INFO: wickedwalkingtours.com

MOONLIGHT CORN MAZE

Tackle the labyrinth with only the light of the moon to guide you.

WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Oct. 28

WHERE: Pumpkin Valley Farm, 135 Anderson Road, Dayton

HOW MUCH: $8

INFO: pumpkinvalleyfarm.com

TALES OF TERROR AT VICTORIA MANSION

Listen as storyteller Lynne Cullen shares spine-tingling tales from the 19th century.

WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday (family night)

WHERE: Victoria Mansion, 109 Danforth St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $20 ; $15 museum members; $10 ages 17 and under

INFO: victoriamansion.org

THE HAUNTING

Explore the 42-room seminary and encounter visitors from beyond.

WHEN: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Oct. 28-29

WHERE: Parsonsfield Seminary, 504 North Road, North Parsonsfield

HOW MUCH: $10; $5 ages 12 and under

INFO: 793-8825

HALLOWEENFEST

Wear a costume and get into the spirit of the season with haunted hayrides, contests and special displays.

WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday

WHERE: Maine Wildlife Park, Route 26, Gray

HOW MUCH: $7; $5 ages 4 to 12; free ages 3 and under

INFO: 287-8000

THE GAUNTLET

Take your chances on the Gauntlet Night Ride of Horror or opt for the Big Corn Maze Night Adventure.

WHEN: Dark to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 30

WHERE: Harvest Hill Farms, 125 Pigeon Hill Road, Mechanic Falls

HOW MUCH: $15 for Night Ride of Horror (not recommend for ages 12 and under); $6 Big Corn Maze; $19 for both

INFO: harvesthillfarms.com/Gauntlet.html

’90s ‘SCREAM’ HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY

Dress as a character from a ’90s-era horror flick and dance the night away to ’90s jams. There will be a grotesque burlesque performance and a costume contest, too.

WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Bubba’s Sulky Lounge, 92 Portland St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $5

INFO: “Nineties Nite” on Facebook

ZOMBIE NIGHT AT BULL MOOSE

Dress in your undead best and join the cast and crew of the Biddeford-made zombie film “2” for a costume contest and DVD signing.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Bull Moose, 1364 Main St., Sanford

HOW MUCH: Free

INFO: 324-5786

GHOULWILL BALL

Show up in your best costume for a chance to win a $500 or a $250 Visa gift card at this event to benefit Goodwill’s supported employment services. Music by The Waiters.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $25

INFO: goodwillnne.org

‘NOSFERATU’

Watch F.W. Murnau’s classic 1922 silent horror film accompanied by a quintet playing the film’s original score.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday WHERE: Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $8

INFO: space538.org

THE RAVEN, GHOULS AND RENEWAL: PAGAN POEMS AND STORIES FOR HALLOWEEN

Join the Poets Theater of Maine and channel the Pagan spirit of Samhain for a night of Halloween stories and dramatic performances.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27

WHERE: Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $7; $4 students and seniors

INFO: 233-4965

DARK FOLLIES PRESENTS ‘THE SPIRIT OF VAUDEVILLE’

This vaudeville troupe offers up a wild Halloween ride filled with dancing witches and sneaky black cats.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Oct. 27-29

WHERE: Lucid Stage, 29 Baxter Blvd., Portland

HOW MUCH: $10 in advance; $12 at the door

INFO: lucidstage.com

HALLOWEEN HA HA

Laugh it up for a good cause with comedians George Hamm, Karen Morgan, Kate Ghiloni and Quinn Collins.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Oct. 28

WHERE: USM Abromson Center, Portland

HOW MUCH: $25 and $35; benefits Cancer Community Center INFO: cancercommunitycenter.org

HALLOWEEN PARTY AND GHOST TOUR

Watch the “Moon Witch” show, enjoy free food, tour the frightening gallery and stay for spooky tales at 8 p.m.

WHEN: 6:15, 6:45 and 7:15 p.m. Oct. 28

WHERE: Southworth Planetarium, USM Campus, Portland

HOW MUCH: $5; $1 for those in costume

INFO: usm.maine.edu/planet

‘PHANTOM OF THE OPERA’ WITH THE KOTZSCHMAR

Watch the classic 1925 silent film accompanied by organist Scott Foppaino. The Portland Ballet performs “Danse Macabre” before the film.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $18

INFO: tickets.porttix.com

FAMILY FRIENDLY HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY

Kids can wear costumes and enjoy games, crafts, refreshments and dancing.

WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 28

WHERE: Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $6; free for children under 2

INFO: space538.org

HALLOWEEN GOTH BALL

Dress as a goth or steampunk character and join Gothic Maine for a 21-and-older fashion show, costume contest and dancing.

WHEN: 9 p.m. Oct. 28 WHERE: Asylum, 121 Center St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $8 in advance; $10 at door with costume; $12 at door without costume

INFO: gothicmaine.com

HAUNTED HOUSE AND COSTUME BALL

Explore the haunted house and then stick around for the costume ball with music from The Cramps.

WHEN: 7 to 10 p.m. (haunted house), 10 p.m. (costume ball) Oct. 29

WHERE: Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $10 at the door

INFO: mayostreetarts.org

HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY

Wear a wild costume, enjoy photo-booth debauchery and dance to a long list of local performers.

WHEN: 9 p.m. Oct. 29

WHERE: Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $10

INFO: space538.org

SID TRIPP’S 16TH ANNUAL HALLOWEEN BASH

Costumes are required, and this year’s theme is zombies. Dance to music from Under the Covers.

WHEN: 9 p.m. Oct. 29

WHERE: Mariner’s Church Banquet Hall, 386 Fore St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $20

INFO: “Sid Tripp’s Halloween Bash” on Facebook

THREE RING NIGHTMARE HALLOWEEN PARTY

Join PortSports for dancing, a costume contest, games and prizes.

WHEN: 9 p.m. Oct. 29

WHERE: Geno’s Rock Club, 625 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $10

INFO: http://bit.ly/ql6AU1

SYMPHONY SPOOKTACULAR

Hear some of the best-known spooky music under the direction of conductor Robert Moody. Portland Ballet will dance during a piece from “Twilight” and lead the audience in the zombie dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30

WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $10

INFO: tickets.porttix.com

ZOMBIE NIGHT

Dress in your zombie finest and take part in the Zombie Walk from Monument Square to the State Theatre. Then watch screenings of “Dawn of the Dead” and “Shaun of the Dead.”

WHEN: 6 p.m. (zombie walk), 7 p.m. (show) Oct. 31

WHERE: State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $8

INFO: statetheatreportland.com

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila