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With fall and back-to-school season in full swing and Halloween around the corner, we understand that you may not have a lot of extra cash lying around for family activities this month. Not to worry! We’ve found 20 totally free things to do in Jersey in October.
Visit the Historic Cold Spring Village in Cape May for this free interactive program which includes music, a story and craft centered around Cape May’s history. This event is every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 am.
Every Saturday this month, the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit offers free guided tours on a first-come, first-served basis for families who want to learn more about the current season. Anyone under 12 must be accompanied by an adult and tours last approximately 30-45 minutes.
Sunday, October 1
If you like food trucks, live music, face painting, pumpkin decorating, games, prizes and a petting zoo, you don’t want to miss this palooza in Pennsauken. While your kids try every game in sight, parents can check out the 50,000 pairs of finely crafted socks, all made in America.
Head to Goffle Brook Park in Passaic County for a wholesome day of art. There’ll be a dozen bands providing live music while your family peruses art from over a hundred artists. Don’t worry, if you’re hungry, there’s food trucks on the premises.
Kids love carnivals and fairs, so Springfield is the place to be. There’ll be a race track with radio controlled cars, an obstacle course, trackless train, horse and buggy rides, a petting zoo and pony rides. Not to mention, kids can meet their favorite comic book themed characters for a picture. Parents can appreciate the cars and food, making this event a must-visit for the whole family.
There’s something for everyone at Music Day. Enjoy kid-friendly workshops, jam sessions, food trucks and live performances. Hit Deer Path Park in Flemington to join in on the fun.
For the Pequannock Township Library’s 20th Anniversary, they’ve invited kid-favorite magician Steve Woyce! There’s crowd participation and loads of laughs to be had, so don’t miss out on the magic. If you can’t make this show, you can see him at the Oceanic Free Library on October 17 and the Eatontown Public Library on October 18.
Sunday-Monday, October 1-2
Introduce your kids to the wonders of watercolors at the Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge. Observe the different techniques and mediums at this free exhibit.
Tuesday, October 3
Don’t pass up on this opportunity to talk with local author and librarian Jim Sommerville at the Warren Township Library. He’ll explain the evolution of the town of Somerville, from its beginnings to the present. Registration is required.
Thursday, October 5
Join the Mary Jacobs Memorial Library for a paranormal investigation. Patrons can watch a presentation, learn how to use investigative equipment and actually try EMF meters, dowsing rods, therma-meters and more at this spooky event.
Friday, October 6
This 90-minute guided tour through Boonton’s Main Street may give you the heebie-jeebies. Come to learn forgotten history, Civil War lore, mysterious legends and of course, ghostly tales.
Friday-Sunday, October 6-8
Seaside Heights will be celebrating this Italian festival with kiddie activities, entertainment and plenty of food. The Boulevard is the perfect place for this annual parade, which features marching bands, floats and guest performers from Italy.
Saturday, October 7
Friends and family are invited to Downtown New Brunswick for an afternoon of craft beer, dancing, contests and of course, fun for the kiddies at the children’s area. (Think: pumpkin decorating, balloon twists and face painting.)
If you’re near Jackson, plan to hit this festival for crafts, hikes and informational programs about forestry throughout the day. Your family can paint pumpkins, build a birdhouse, cut tree cookies, learn about birds and more. There’s plenty to see and do at this fest!
Enjoy a fun-filled day of live music, entertainment, vendors, arts and crafts, exhibits, giveaways, face-painting and more.
Pop over to Hightstown for painting booths, raffles, live music, vendors and other great activities. Your kiddos will love the inflatables, pony rides, petting zoo and children’s theater.
Spend some time participating in games, watching a pie eating contest and of course, playing with your littles ones at the Kids Korner. There’ll be pumpkin painting, crab hat making and inflatable bounce houses.
Saturday-Sunday, October 7-8
Bordentown’s cranberry celebration will feature over 145 food vendors, a children’s play area, vintage car show, clothing vendors and more. Grab the family and join other autumn loving festival-goers.
Monday, October 9
Explore STEM topics and learn about 21st century skills with electronic building blocks that are color-coded and magnetic. Drop by the Hillsborough Library to create a Megablaster and empower your young ones. Registration required.
Wednesday, October 11
Travel to the Peapack & Gladstone Library and join Karen Rogers, one of the first successful female jockeys, as she discusses her book Racing With My Shadow. Registration is required.
Saturday, October 14
Gather with the West Milford community for a street fair with over 300 vendors, live music, activities, games and rides for the kiddos. Join 20,000 other people on Union Valley Rd.
Drop by the Princeton University Art Museum for engaging gallery activities and a related art project. Channel your creativity into creating a cyanotype inspired by photography from the early 20th century.
Saturday-Sunday, October 14-15
Spend your weekend at the NJ State Botanical Garden in Ringwood for hayrides, pumpkin painting, applesauce making, free garden tours and more. Admission and parking are free.
Sunday, October 15
Rutgers Gardens has prepared an afternoon filled with scavenger hunts, animals, pumpkin painting, games and crafting. Use materials from the garden to create your own crafts!
Monday, October 16
Hackettstown’s Warren County Library is where your kiddos want to be. Watch a spooky Pokémon movie while creating paper lanterns. Join the scavenger hunt and find all of the ghosts hidden throughout the library. Costumes encouraged, registration required.
Thursday, October 19
Prepare to be spooked at the Bridgewater Library. The Bright Star Touring Theater will perform the chilling legend of Sleepy Hollow. Registration required.
Friday, October 20
You don’t want to miss a free event at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Learn about Apollo 17’s exploration of the moon and recent findings that are advancing humanity’s knowledge of the solar system.
Saturday, October 21
Bring your four-legged friends to this fall event at the Pampered Put Luxury Pet Resort in Millville. Bring both your pets and kids in costume for a chance at a prize, and definitely try the pumpkin painting and bounce house.
If your kiddos are 6 months-5 years old, bring them to this themed event at the New Jersey State Museum. Explore stories, craft and play with other little tots. Registration encouraged.
Sunday, October 22
The Lakewood Airport is offering free plane rides to kids age 8-17. You heard us right, free plane rides. The New Jersey Aviation Education Council will be around for those curious about the aviation displays and learning stations.
Friday, October 27
Enjoy a Monster Mash Dance Party at the Village Green in Summit before warming up around a bonfire with hot apple cider. Watch a spooky movie and swap ghost stories with other movie-goers. Food trucks will be around to satisfy the monster in your belly.
Saturday, October 28
Hit Ginny Field for a showing of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. If your little ones are obsessed with Harry Potter, they’ll want to be at this event.
The New Jersey State Museum in Trenton has hands-on activities and games, plus a live Mad Science show for your costumed kiddos. Join the costume parade and contest, where your kids will have a hauntingly good time.
Browse free comic books with your small superheroes at the Hillsborough Library. Comics will be available in children, teen and adult departments, so there’s something for every fan in your family.
The Bridgewater Library offers the chance to see a wide range of art: colonial portraits to contemporary to controversial art. Artists include Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol and George Segal, among others. Registration required.
Monday, October 30
If you’re looking for a non-spooky event for your kids, try this magic show at the North Plainfield Memorial Library. Magician Brian Richards will perform Halloween-inspired trick-and-treats for your easily-spooked kiddos.
Tuesday, October 31
Don your costumes at the Hillsborough Library on the spookiest day of the year. Listen to Halloween stories, play games and make crafts. Registration required.