Autumn doesn’t really start until later in the month, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get hyped up now for fall festivities. (After months of quarantine, I’m pretty sure time is meaningless, anyway. ) So who’s up for a haunted hayride? Oh. Right. COVID. Staying indoors is still the better part of valor, so maybe not. But wait! LEGO has come to the rescue! 40423 Halloween Hayride is available in North America from the LEGO Shop Online for US $12.99 | CAN $16.99. But is this set a trick or a treat? Read on and see!
The box and contents
It’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen a Halloween Seasonal set. (The last one was 40260 Haunted Haunt back in 2017) This year’s offering recreates a popular North American tradition, the haunted hayride. We get a tractor towing a trailer full of hay, a spooky entrance gate, a jack-o-lantern, two human minifigures, a skeleton, a bat, and a spider. Pretty much everything you’d need, really.
Inside the box are three bags of parts, a 52-page instruction booklet, and a sticker sheet. I’m not a big fan of stickers, but in a small set like this it there wasn’t a lot of hope for new printed elements. The box has tape seals, much nicer than that horrible “thumb punch out” method LEGO uses elsewhere.
There’s a good range of different parts in this set, including a few rarer items. First up is the 4×4 quarter circle plate. The only time those have been seen in sand green before was in set 70840 Welcome To Apocalypseburg. The Jack-o-Lantern and medium nougat spider have both been around for a while, but they’re relatively uncommon and make a great thematic addition to this set. There were also a few nice connection bricks, like the 1 x 1 x 1 2/2rs brick with vertical studs shown here. The sticker sheet is also pretty large – every sub-model is pretty much covered in them.
The tractor is a simple build, but it looks really nice. The dark red colors are offset by the light and dark grey accents. There’s just enough brick-built detail in the smokestack to offset the stickers that show the other engine details. There’s also a sticker adding some texture to the seat back. The tractor has a ball-hitch at the rear to hook up the trailer.
The trailer is also a pretty plain build, but again a liberal use of stickers to add wood grain to the brown tiles livens things up a bit. It probably would have been fine without them, but adding some cobwebs and spiders to the design makes it feel more Halloween-y. Inside the trailer is a 2×4 brick and some textured 1×2 brick in yellow, as well as a decorative pumpkin. There’s just enough room to stick the rider minifigure on the hay bales. But at one rider per trip you have to wonder how profitable this particular hayride is. Maybe they just charge a bunch.
The final part of this set is the entrance to the ride. Again, stickers are used to great effect. The Jack-O-Lantern face is fun, and the vines on either side add some detail that make this feel more like a hand-painted sign at a real-world attraction. The set dressing continues with some 1×2 texture brick for hay, the carved jack-o-lantern piece, and another small pumpkin. You can stand the skeleton next to the gate as a greeter, while the spider and bat look on. Terribly judgy, those spiders and bats.
The finished model
Put all the elements together and you’re ready to go. There’s just enough detail to give you the full scene, without needing to try and cram everything onto a small baseplate.
As nifty as the hayride is, the real stars of this set are the minifigures. And, shockingly for a seasonal set, both of the human characters feature brand new prints! The tractor driver is wrapped up like a mummy, as one does. As seen in the images above, he also comes with an Indiana Jones-style fedora. That seems more like a concession to someone having to drive a tractor around all day than a costume choice to me. But who knows? Maybe he’s cosplaying as an Indy-Mummy mashup. The girl, though, has my favorite part in this set. Check out that amazing skeleton-print hoodie! She also has two expressions: shocked and happy. A skeleton rounds out the minifigure offerings, although it might be better labeled as “elaborate scenery.”
From the back, the Indy-Mummy torso continues the bandaged look. It would have been nice to see those bandages continue around the head, or onto the legs, but overall it’s a still solid costume. I was more happy to see that the back of the hoodie torso continues the skeletal theme. It would be super sweet to own one of these at human-scale.
Conclusion and recommendation
You know, I really like these little Seasonal sets. They’re not too expensive, they make a great display piece for a month or so, then you can pack them away with the rest of the decorations to show off again next year. Or you can just absorb the parts back into the collective and build something new. Either way, they’re usually a lot of fun, and the Halloween Hayride feels like one of the nicer ones.
At a (spooky!) $13 US price point for 147 pieces, the Hayride comes in at just under nine cents per part. That’s not a great ratio, particularly for an unlicensed set, but the exclusive prints on the minifigures mitigates that a bit for me. There’s a good range of useful parts, the build is quick and fun, and it makes a really nice holiday display. And, yeah, even the stickers are kinda nice.
If you’re a fan of Halloween like I am, then what are you waiting for? The hayride awaits!
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
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