The only thing better than a haunted house in October is a haunted house surrounded by a fun-filled festival. Every fall all across New Jersey, haunted festivals pop up to scare and delight Halloween lovers of all ages with monsters, mazes, food and festive fear. Whether your preference is for a Hollywood-style monster bash, a pastoral farm festival or an outrageous Halloween parade, you can find it in New Jersey.
Six Flags Great Adventure Fright Fest
Haunted festivals don't get any bigger or more elaborate than the extravaganzas put on at the big theme parks, and Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure (sixflags.com) in Jackson is no exception. The park is decorated for the festival and populated by a multitude of costumed actors. On weekend afternoons in October, lighthearted shows provide fun for small children, but the park gets scarier after dark. The actors are more terrifying, and the park's haunted attractions, which charge an extra admission fee, open their doors.
If your taste for Halloween fun tends toward the rural, Frightful Nights at Grochowicz Farms (grochowiczfarms.com) in Glen Gardner might be what you're looking for. This family farm supplements its country market, kids' activities and pumpkin patch with haunted attractions on October weekends. In 2011, a trio of monster-filled attractions, including a haunted maze, a haunted hayride and a haunted trail will challenge the courage of visitors. At the time of publication, a pass for all three attractions is $20.
Goblins in the Garden
For a weekend in October, the Camden Children's Garden is haunted by the Goblins in the Garden Family Festival (camdenchildrensgarden.org). This kid-friendly event features a haunted train ride, a haunted maze, a haunted train ride, trick or treating, a Dia de los Muertos celebration and a costume parade. Concessions are also available. At the time of publication, admission is $6 per person and free for children 2 years old and younger.
Toms River Halloween Parade
Although not strictly a festival, the Toms River Halloween Parade (occis.com) is a New Jersey Halloween tradition that shouldn't be missed. Sponsored by the Toms River Volunteer Fire Department for three quarters of a century, the parade has become one of the largest of its kind in the world. Costumes, floats, decorated shop windows and more surround spectators with the Halloween spirit, and if you're in the mood to visit a haunted house after the parade, try the Brick Township Police Athletic League's haunted house or check out the house on Brooks Drive where the first "Amityville Horror" movies were filmed.
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