It’s officially spooky season here in the Garden State and there are some towns that go all out with decorations, events and attractions. While organized Halloween events are always a big hit with the kids, sometimes it’s just as fun to walk around and check out all the over-the-top decorations in different neighborhoods. On a recent trip to Lambertville, we were amazed to happen upon the “Halloween House,” a macabre and theatrical walk-through exhibit at a home on Union Street. While that level of Halloween isn’t something most people achieve, the other homes in the neighborhood all had the spirit, which made for a fun Saturday night stroll.
Here are some other NJ neighborhoods you’ll want to check out on or before October 31:
Tom’s River – The Tom’s River Halloween parade, hosted by the Tom’s River Fire Company No. 1 isn’t just the largest one in NJ. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s the second-largest Halloween parade in the world! As a bonus, candy is handed out (but not thrown from floats). The town also hosts the Scarecrow Walk, where the downtown area is lined with scarecrows that the public can view and vote on.
Westfield — Home to AddamsFest, this town goes all out and it’s no wonder since the creator of The Addams Family, Charles Addams, hails from here! Don’t miss the amazing decorations — residents here compete in the “Haunt Your House” decorating contest. Be sure to take a look at all the “Wicked Windows of Westfield” as downtown businesses get in on the fun with creative displays. There will be a special advance screening of Netflix’s “Wednesday” on (when else?) Wednesday, October 26. Just please don’t drive by the house from the Netflix series “The Watcher” which is also in town and has attracted lots of interest from curious viewers — the homeowners deserve their privacy.
Asbury Park – The famous Zombie Walk takes place every October in Asbury Park, plus there are ghost walks and the Paranormal Books & Curiosities bookstore to get you in the spirit. Asbury Lanes will host a massive Halloween party on Oct. 28 and there’s the Monster Mash Cookie Decorating Class at Langosta Lounge on Oct. 23.
Holmdel – This year, Holmdel is host to Haunt O’ Ween taking place at the Bell Works building. This massive, interactive Halloween playground with a Jack-O-Lantern tunnel, 35,000 pumpkins and lots of candy comes to NJ from its first location in Los Angeles. Though the scenery is spooky, it’s nothing too scary.
Jackson – This town is the home of Six Flags Great Adventure, and no Halloween season is official until you’ve checked out Boo Fest (for the little kids) featuring fun characters, rides and festive treats and/or Fright Fest (for the brave older ones!) which has roaming ghouls that are set on scaring you stiff.
Hackensack – Many would argue that when it comes to decorations, this city is a winner. Be sure to stop by Clinton Place where residents spare no expense in creating a ghoulishly good time for all. Nearly every house is decorated for the holiday and of course, that attracts thousands of curious trick-or-treaters.
Cape May – From ghost walks to graveyard tours, this town celebrates Halloween with style. Don’t miss the Halloween Village exhibit, on display until Oct. 31. The Emlen Physick Estate has plenty of spooky events happening this month, including a “Magic & Mystery House Tour” and trick-or-treating on Oct 31. And what could be scarier than attending a seance at the historic Emlen Physick Estate? The Spirits & Oddities Trolley Tour will provide some stiff competition!
Ridgewood – During the Halloween season, this Bergen County village is best known for the Ridgewood Maze, located in the backyard of the Stewart family at 124 Sheridan Terrace. The maze has been entertaining visitors from in and around the area for 27 years. It typically takes visitors about 45 minutes to get through and is never the same experience twice. It’s free to the public and is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every weekday until Halloween, and from noon to 9 p.m. on weekends (weather permitting). Be aware that creepy clowns come out at night. Another popular attraction is the Ridgewood Halloween House on West End Avenue, which features a very creepy walk-through zombie graveyard experience.
Smithville – Historic Smithville, a quaint town with cobblestone streets, specialty shops and eateries is a great Halloween destination. There are two festivals happening — Monster Bash on Oct 22, a free event with live music, zombies and a costume contest and Witches Day Out on Oct 23, a day of magical shopping with discounts for anyone wearing a witch’s hat!
Which towns would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments below.
Still need a costume idea? Check out the most popular ones in every state!