Whether you're looking for an alternative to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, or you just want to have a little extra Halloween fun in the days leading up to the big event, the zoo just might be the place for you. Visiting with the animals is always an enjoyable way to spend a family day, but throw in some candy, costumes, and spooky activities, and you're bound to have a howling good time.
Boo at Space Farms Zoo & Museum – Sussex
October 14, 21, and 28, 2017
Let the kids get decked out in their Halloween finest, and head to Space Farms Zoo for a costume contest and goody bags. Costumed kids under 12 receive free admission with a paying adult.
Enter the costume contest at the Cape May County Zoo. Photo courtesy of the zoo.
Boo at the Cape May County Zoo – Cape May
October 28, 2017
Head to Cape May's awesome zoo (recently named the 13th best zoo in the WORLD) for the entire family, such as a magic show, amusement rides, candy, kids' craft stations, a Halloween costume contest, and more than 500 animals! And it's all FREE!
Boo at the Cohanzick Zoo – Bridgeton
October 21, 2017
Get into the Halloween spirit at New Jersey's very first zoo. Wear your creepiest, prettiest, wildest costume for a fun and treat-filled, family-friendly event, featuring crafts, face painting, costumes, and more.
Zoo Boo at the Bergen County Zoo – Paramus
October 27-28, 2017
The Bergen County Zoo goes batty for Halloween, with trick-or-treating, ghostly storytelling, magic shows, and an eerie train ride (train ride not recommended for younger children).
Ride the animal carousel in costume at the Turtle Back Zoo. Photo by the author.
Safe Howl-O-Ween – West Orange
October 31, 2017
Trick-or-treat among furry friends at Turtle Back's perfect-for-little-ones event, happening right on Halloween. Stop at the candy stations that will be set up throughout the zoo, and hop aboard the train for more Halloween amusement.
And if you are in NYC:
Boo at the Bronx Zoo – Bronx, NY
Saturdays and Sundays from September 30 through October 29, 2017
It's a Halloween tradition at the Bronx Zoo. Every weekend from the end of September until Halloween, celebrate the spookiest month of the year with creepy crawling animals and reptiles, hay rides, a haunted mansion, live music, magic, a hay maze, pumpkin carving, children’s theater and tons more!
A version of this article was first published in 2012, but it is updated annually.
Top photo by Paul and Cathy via Flickr.