The COVID-19 pandemic is putting a damper on the usual Halloween fun. Parties are limited in the number of guests and trick or treating will look different. Some of the area’s biggest events like Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt and the Asbury Park Zombie Walk have been canceled. But Six Flags’ annual Fright Fest has gotten a socially distant makeover and there are still plenty of creepy, spooky and terrifying things to do. Most activities require masks, and not the ones that come with your costume. So make sure you work a safe and effective face covering into your look.
The Count will play host to the Halloween Spooktacular at Sesame Place, in Langhorne, PA, from Sept. 26 until Nov. 1. Kids can dress in costumes (masks are required) to see the Sesame Street gang in their Halloween garb. Don’t miss daily parades, the Halloween-themed musical and more. On Tuesday and Wednesday, there is a drive-thru parade. Get tickets in advance here.
If you love the Christmas experience at Skylands Stadium in Augusta, you’ll be all about the venue’s new pumpkin drive-thru. The Jack O’Lantern Experience features 5,000 pumpkins around the stadium. You can safely see everything from safari animals to movie monsters and more from the comfort of your car. Go to their website for tickets.
The Bronx Zoo is hosting its annual Boo at the Zoo event, filled with adorable animals (of course), pumpkin carving demos, pumpkin and candy trails, stilt walkers wearing Halloween puppets and a scavenger hunt. There’s even an extinct animal graveyard. Go to bronxzoo.com for info about safety measures and reservations.
The annual Haunted Seaport event at Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s museum is happening October 15th to 18th. Dress in your costumes and hit the boardwalk for fall crafts, a magic show and a haunted hayride. All guests must wear face coverings, maintain social distancing and plan ahead since bathrooms and indoor spaces are closed. Head to their website for details.
Happy Day Farm’s Pumpkin Festival in Manalapan has plenty of outdoor fun. From a corn maze to a hay mountain, the kids will have plenty of things to climb on. For an extra fee, you can play paintball, shoot a pumpkin blaster or the corn cannon and decorate your own jack o’ lantern to take home. Head to their website for details.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson is a Halloween staple near Sleepy Hollow, home of the famed Headless Horseman tale. Some of the annual fun is canceled or virtual, but there are still 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins haunting Van Cortlandt Manor until mid-November. If the Hudson Valley location is sold out, try seeing the mega-pumpkin displays on Long Island. Buy tickets early here.
Tickets for Delaware River Railroad Excursions’ popular Great Pumpkin Train are limited this year (selling at only 25 percent capacity). Ticketholders will get to ride the scenic train, stop at a pumpkin patch (every kid gets a free one!) and add a corn maze or tour of the Ol’ Susquehanna Mine and pan for gemstones. Click here for tickets and details.
For outdoor toddler Halloween festivities, head to DiDonato Family Fun Center in Hammonton for a Trick-or-Treat train. You’ll have to reserve tickets for the outdoor train, and the kids can pick pumpkins and play in the Hay Maze afterward. Visit their site for details and tickets.
Head to Cape May for haunted happenings on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, which will be lined with spooky and silly scarecrows (submitted by the community) for spectators to vote on. There are also ghost trolley tours and historic haunt tours of the Emlen Physick Estate. Buy your tickets in advance here.
Put on your costumes and masks for Storybook Land’s annual Trick-or-Treat Weekends. The Egg Harbor Township fairy tale fave has mazes for the kids and trick or treat bags for contactless candy stations. Their website has details on safety measures and tickets you’ll need to reserve in advance.
Morris County residents can show off their spookiest houses for Halos for Angels. Register before October 17 at halosforangels.org, then decorate your house, post to social media and you can win a cash prize. It’s $50 to enter your house, and the funds go to help families in need.
Addamsfest 2020 is happening, but has morphed into Alt AddamsFest. Westfield is home to Charles Addams, the creator of the infamous spooky Addams Family, which screams Halloween. The Alt Addamsfest features decorated Wicked Windows, a Haunt Your House contest, a drive-in (with holiday films), carving contests, a haunted trail ride and loads more. Their website has dates and details.
If your little ones aren’t quite ready for a haunted hayride, they can get a little thrill on a Harvest Moon Hayride at Alstede Farm. The famed Chester spot is doing night rides on the weekends (you have to book in advance), and you can try to master the corn maze with flashlights. Try some cider and pumpkins afterwards. Get tickets here.
Warren’s Wagner Farm Arboretum will host a Brite Nites event, but this year the pumpkin display will be a drive-thru experience instead of a walk-through. From the comfort of your car, you’ll see hand-carved elaborate displays of gourds. Get tickets here.
R and J Farms in Galloway Township is pressing pause on its Cornfield of Terror this year, but you can still bring the family for some daytime fun with a corn maze and hayrides. The maze is filled with clues, and the kids will want to take a bounce on their new jumping pad. Guests are required to wear masks and have their temperatures checked before entering. Visit their website for more info.
The annual Six Flags’ annual Fright Fest got a COVID makeover this year and is now Hallowfest. The annual event in Jackson is still big on the scares, but indoor mazes are touch-free and outdoor haunted walks are socially distanced. Before 6 pm, younger kids can try the rides, visit Pumpkin Patch Lane and have some scare-free fun. After dark, Chills by Night start, zombies abound and you can ride coasters without lights. Buy your tickets in advance here.
Last year, the Bane Haunted House made a big move to New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, the appropriate place for one of the scariest walkthrough experiences in the country. It’s reopening with required masks, small groups and social distancing. But the terrifying clowns, dark rooms and claustrophobic spaces will still have you screaming. Head to their website for details.
Passaic’s Brighton Asylum is opening for the season, and everyone, including all the actors, will be wearing masks which somehow makes your walk through this haunted asylum even more creepy. There are multiple tours and attractions to choose from, tapping into your biggest fears. Events run through Halloween. Visit their site for all the scary details.
Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary isn’t doing its super-scary Terror Behind the Walls, but you can still get goosebumps on one of its Night Tours. These small self-guided tours will take you inside abandoned cells of an actual prison with sweeping lights from the guard towers, just like when there were actual prisoners in the cells. Tours run through mid-November. Go to their website and prepare to be terrified.
Wharton is home to the 13th Hour Haunted House, a terrifying two-story haunted house, or brave the Darkside of the Hayden House, its newest, darkest house yet. Enter the frightening escape rooms if you think you can handle the serious scare factor. Head to their website for tickets to face your fears.