The best things in life really are free, especially when it comes to family activities. In this new monthly feature, Mommy Poppins NJ presents the best FREE events happening in the upcoming weeks. This month, you can look forward to plenty of free storytimes and festivals, and, of course, a ton of Halloween fun. And speaking of that haunting holiday, check out our list of 30 Free Halloween Events and Parades for NJ Kids for even more ways to celebrate without cracking open your wallet.
Read on for this month's picks, and don't forget to check out our Event Calendar and October GoList for more free and low-cost fall fun.
Please note that events with free admission may have additional fees for some activities. See event links for pre-registration requirements.
Lapsit Storytime – Cranford
Bring the tots to Cranford Public Library for a morning of songs and short books.
Pottery Barn Kids Weekly Storytime – Various locations
Spend every Tuesday morning at Pottery Barn Kids, which hosts this storytime freebie. Participants will receive a free gift after attending five sessions.
3-4-5 Storytime – Cranford
This storytime at Cranford Public Library is just for preschoolers.
Every Tuesday & Thursday
Children’s Story Hour – Cape May
Little ones are invited to learn about Cape May’s history through music, stories, and crafts at Historic Cold Spring Village.
Baby Storytime – Cranford
No baby is too little to love the stories and songs at this Cranford Public Library event.
Mommy & Me Storytime – Montclair
Watchung Booksellers welcomes the under-3 crowd to its weekly storytime. The event is limited to 12 participants, so you may want to arrive early.
Every Other Wednesday
Whole Foods Kids Club – West Orange
Stories, crafts, and snacks make for a fun morning at Whole Foods.
Every Wednesday – Sunday
Great Pumpkin Festival – Vernon
Celebrate autumn at Heaven Hill Farm, host of the biggest fall festival in Northern New Jersey. The fun includes a hay maze, spider crawl, farm animals, duck races, Maggie the Milking Cow, a dancing robot show, and much more. Runs through November 5.
Hoboken Historical Museum hosts a preschooler storytime every Thursday.
Penny’s Storytime – Hoboken
Preschoolers will learn all about city life through stories and songs at Hoboken Historical Museum.
Monday, October 9
5th Annual Pumpkin Fest – Colts Neck
Pumpkin decorating, games, treats, music, and antique tractors are all on tap at Delicious Orchards’ fun-filled festival.
Saturday, October 14
Morristown Festival of Books – Morristown
Calling young book lovers! Renowned children’s authors will gather at Presbyterian Church Parish House to autograph their work. The fun includes live music, a creative writing workshop, crafts, games, snacks, and lots of books.
Short Stories Storytime – Madison
Swing by the Short Stories Bookshop for a weekly storytime geared toward the preschool set.
Friday, October 20
Gardens Aglow – Montclair
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens boasts an impressive collection of jack o'lanterns created by local students. The evening features activities, entertainment, and refreshments.
Friday, October 20 – Sunday, October 22
Do battle (without getting bruises) at Seton Hall Weekend.
Seton Hall Weekend – South Orange
There’s so much to do at this Seton Hall celebration, including games, entertainment, food, and a “Pirate Land” children’s area with inflatables and crafts.
Saturday, October 21
Small Explorers Series – Trenton
New Jersey State Museum welcomes the younger set for this monthly activity-filled workshop. Stories, crafts, and play are all part of the fun.
Hoboken gets into the spirit of the season with its annual Harvest Festival.
Hoboken Harvest Festival – Hoboken
Pier A Park gets in the autumn spirit with hayrides, a petting zoo, pumpkin decorating, a hay maze, crafts, a moonwalk, food, and much more!
Saturday & Sunday, October 21–22 & 28–29
Boo at the Boardwalk – Point Pleasant Beach
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk transforms into a Halloween spectacular, with trick-or-treating, games, crafts, a pumpkin patch, and more not-too-spooky shore delights.
Sunday, October 22
New Providence Street Fair – New Providence
One of the last small-town fairs of the season, the New Providence Street Fair is a downtown party with rides, a petting zoo, climbing wall, food, and entertainment.
Marty’s Place Howl-O-Ween Family Fest – Freehold
Have a doggone fun Halloween celebration at Marty’s Place Senior Dog Sanctuary. The whole family—plus the pup—can partake in a costume contest, obstacle course, photo sessions, hayrides, live music, and a kids’ zone.
Saturday, October 28
Greater Wildwood Elks Halloween Haunted House – North Wildwood
Get spooked—but not too scared—at the Elks’ Lodge haunted house. Visitors will receive treats.
Zombie Walk – Smithville
Zombies are taking over Historic Smithville! While hundreds of zombies wander through town, brave guests can enjoy live music, costume contests, and prizes.
Even Fido can get in on the fun at the Ocean Grove Halloween Parade.
Ocean Grove Halloween Parade – Ocean Grove
Ocean Grove invites costumed visitors, and even their pets, to this festive downtown parade, followed by trick-or-treating.
Sunday, October 29
Witches Day Out – Smithville
It’s the witches' turn to conquer Smithville, with prizes for the most bewitching costume. Complimentary finger foods will be offered at Smithville Tavern.
Head to the Medford Halloween Parade for a super-fun time.
Medford Halloween Parade – Medford
The town of Medford goes all out for its Halloween celebration, with a one-mile parade that features floats, a marching band, cheerleaders, community groups, and lots of costumed marchers.
Tuesday, October 31
Maplewood Halloween Parade – Maplewood
Maplewood Village becomes Halloween Village for a festive Halloween bash that includes a parade, costume contest, trick-or-treating, and music.
Toms River Halloween Parade – Toms River
This Jersey Shore town hosts a popular Halloween parade with floats, Halloween decor, and other holiday attractions.
Preschool Trick-or-Treat – Millburn
Preschools can gather goodies from local downtown merchants at this safe event for little ones only.
Hoboken Ragamuffin Parade and Costume Contest – Hoboken
This Halloween favorite features floats, costumes, live music, and prizes.
Top photo: Seton Hall Weekend. Photos courtesy of the events/venues.