Where can you join in the fun near your home? We’ve compiled a list of more than 30 towns and neighborhoods that are worth a visit. Those who make the trip can expect lots of treats—not to mention some prime photo ops.
Remember, if you’re a guest in these neighborhoods, remind the kids to treat homes and decorations with an extra level of respect. Since big trick-or-treating crowds mean big bucks for homeowners, pitch in if you find a donation bin or crowdsourcing fund. Or, surprise a couple of generous homeowners by paying it forward with a small token of appreciation or a few bags of candy for them to give out to others.
Alpine – This affluent community (home to many celebrities) puts up incredible decorations every year and is known to be very generous with goodies, reported to include full-size candy bars and small gift cards!
Clinton Place is known as Hackensack's "Halloween Highway." Photo by John Kay via Flickr
Hackensack – Clinton Place is known for having creative and over-the-top Halloween decorations on nearly every home on the street. Each house is more elaborate than the next, with themes that range from scary and macabre to pumpkin-patch sweet. Day or night, you won’t be sorry to spend some time on Hackensack’s “Halloween Highway.” Some years, this community event also doubles as a fundraiser for local charities.
Bring little ones to Ridgewood's Halloween Maze in the daytime, before it gets too spooky.
Ridgewood – Don't miss the Halloween maze on 124 Sheridan Terrace, where the Stewart family turns their backyard into a huge haunted maze that can take up to 30 minutes to travel through. Got young kids? Go in the daytime before the maze creatures come out at night.
Saddle Brook – The town's annual Halloween house-decorating contest typically has a lot of participants (such as homes on Oxford Avenue and Nedellec Drive), making trick-or-treating extra fun. Drive by after judging night (October 26) for a spooky, fun-filled car ride.
Clifton – Every year, Dr. Wayne Gangi fills his lawn at 562 Grove Street with an extreme Halloween display. It's pretty scary at night, so take care when visiting this spooky Halloween house with younger kids.
Hawthorne – Not for the faint of heart, the Hawthorne House of Horrors at 193 Lafayette is packed with tons of visitors from the afterlife. It's a traffic-stopper for sure!
Hoboken – entire families get in on the Halloween action, decking out their strollers like parade floats for the annual Ragamuffin Parade, which kicks off at 3pm on Washington and 13th Streets on October 31. Retailers along Washington Street dole out treats for the crowds, and savvy trick-or-treaters detour to upper Bloomfield Street for a big candy haul.
Jersey City – For family-friendly Halloween fun, check out the festivities at the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall, held from 3-6pm on October 31. In addition to tons of trick-or-treating, the free event has face painting, a bouncy house, and music. And businesses along Central Avenue in the Heights attract hordes of trick-or-treaters after school.
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Houses on Prospect Street in Maplewood get creative—and occasionally political. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
Maplewood Village – Maplewood Avenue (between Baker and Durand) closes to cars from 3–5pm for trick-or-treating, music, a parade, and a costume contest on Halloween. Trick-or-treaters' favorite territories include the neighborhoods along Maplewood Avenue, just west of it, and also Golf Island, a sliver of the town lodged between the middle school and the golf course. Those looking for truly tricked-out houses, though, should head to Prospect Street, a long and busy thoroughfare lined with grand homes, many bedecked in ghosts and goblins. There are also some spectacularly decorated homes on Clinton, Salter, and Summit.
Montclair – Locals know that Montclair and Midland Avenues are great for trick-or-treating, with lots of beautifully decorated homes. Also visit the businesses on Bloomfield and Church Streets for extra goodies.
South Orange – Spooky spirits take over downtown for the annual Halloween Festival, which takes place in Spiotta Park from 4-6pm on October 31. The festivities include a costume contest, a visit from Wanda the Giant Witch, and trick-or-treating at local businesses.
Chester – Ranked by The Daily Meal as the third of 25 best towns for trick-or-treating in the United States, and home to popular pick-your-own haven Alstede Farms, Chester has become a fall destination for families throughout the Tri-State area—and Halloween night is no exception. Many downtown businesses love visits from little trick-or-treating ghosts and ghouls.
Denville – A source close to the action recommends heading to downtown Denville for some excellent trick-or-treating at local businesses, where merchants hand out top-notch treats.
Don't miss the spooky sights at the Dead and Breakfast Inn in Madison.
Madison – The large old houses in Madison make it a fun place to trick-or-treat, and the Dead and Breakfast Inn at 100 Ridgedale Avenue takes decorating to another level. Every window, porch, and tree is decked out with spooky visitors.
Roxbury Township – The Halloween House on Alcott Way in the Succasunna section of Roxbury has been treating visitors to amazing Halloween scenes for years. It takes a month to build this incredible display, which includes tons of skeletons, a graveyard, and an enormous pirate ship complete with a “shooting” cannon. Note that some decorations are little bit on the scary side, so use discretion with very small children.
Cranford – Halloween on Herning Avenue is a homegrown street festival of sorts, with literally thousands of ghosts and ghouls descending on the neighborhood for prime trick-or-treating. Blocked off from cars for safety, this half-mile-long street is great because it’s pretty much a straight shot from end to end, and there aren’t any major intersections. The neighborhood not only has tricked-out houses, but there are also plenty of adults—and even pets—celebrating the holiday in full Halloween garb. Some years, neighbors set up DJ equipment for a true party atmosphere.
Rahway – An extreme Halloween display haunts Rahway every year on Maple Avenue, courtesy of the D'Emilio family. From zombies and ghouls to jump-out props, this house is sure to raise the hair on the back of your neck. Also in Rahway, there's a Halloween parade and costume contest on Oct. 27, starting in the Hamilton Stage lot at 3:45pm, followed by a dance party and carnival games for registered children.
Roselle Park – Bender Avenue is known as Halloween Central to the locals. What was once just a small house-decorating contest has morphed into a not-to-be-missed Halloween event that attracts thousands of people every year.
Scotch Plains – Coles Avenue throws killer block parties, and Halloween is no exception. The street is closed to cars, and homeowners treat kids to sweets and a true neighborhood party, including a newly added chili cook-off.
Westfield – Many families head to Dudley Avenue, where large homes with spectacular decorations make for great Halloween fun. Also in Westfield, the Downtown Westfield Corporation will sponsor Addams Fest, a new Halloween celebration of all creepy and kooky creations of local artist Charles Addams from October 26-28, featuring trunk-or-treating an an Addams Family Fun Zone.
RELATED: Best FREE Halloween Events for NJ Kids
Lambertville goes all-out with its spooky Halloween houses. Photo by Kate Whitman via Instagram
Lambertville – Some neighborhoods love Halloween—and then there’s Lambertville, which goes above and beyond to get into the Halloween spirit. Among the streets worth visiting is North Union Street (from York to Buttonwood Streets), which boasts elaborate house decorations and neighbors who are eager to treat kids to sweets. The combination makes the area a go-to destination for thousands of trick-or-treaters every year. While you’re on North Union, stop by the Halloween House of Lambertville, where a retired art teacher displays her 60+ homemade, glowing, black-light plaster figures. It’s a sight you won’t want to miss.
Bound Brook – Don't miss 31 Skeletons (281 Chestnut Street), where the homeowners create an amazing skeleton-inspired Halloween display.
See a rotating roster of incredible skeleton scenes at 13 Skeletons in Bridgewater.
Bridgewater – Continue the skeleton tour and drive by 13 Skeletons between Heather Hill and Bluestone. Creative scenes involving 13 skeletons magically appear on the property and are changed regularly in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
North Brunswick – The neighbors are getting serious about their second annual Halloween house decorating contest. Expect the neighborhood homes to be completely decked out with ghouls and goblins galore!
Sayreville – Homeowners here go all-out with fabulous decorations. The house at 511 Main Street does an amazing job with its scary cemetery of handmade ghouls and other horrors.
RELATED: Ultimate Halloween Guide for NJ Kids
Toms River hosts one of the largest Halloween parades in the world.
Toms River – Toms River is home to one of the largest and most amazing Halloween parades in the world! Sponsored by Toms River Fire Company #1, this 78-year-old parade is so adored by the community that the town (and several neighboring ones) moves trick-or-treating to October 30 so that everyone can enjoy the parade at 7pm on October 31. The parade starts at the Toms River Shopping Centre on the corner of Rt. 37 & Rt. 166 (Main Street), marches down Main Street, turns left onto Washington Street, and finishes at the corner of Hooper Avenue.
Also in Toms River—which just might be the Halloween-iest town in New Jersey—is Terror on South Main Street, a family home that transforms into one of the state's coolest Halloween attractions every year. The property hosts a Trick-or-Treat Bash, featuring music, live actors, and candy.
Bordentown – Halloween is taken very seriously on Thompson Street. What started as a modest community event has become a Halloween attraction that draws crowds from all over South Jersey and Philly. Most homeowners on the narrow street are game for decking out their houses in a common theme, whether it’s mummies, pirates, or the Wizard of Oz.
Haddon Heights – Local homes are getting decked out for the Halloween House Decorating Contest, sponsored by Haddon Heights Public Library, to compete for prizes for the scariest, most creative, and judge's favorite home.
Monroe Township – A reader tipped us off to the Williamstown area, where the Chestnut Green development really does it up for Halloween. One of the highlights is Ironwood Drive, which features an interactive/walk-through haunted house and whose owners have been known to give out full-size candy bars.
Cape May County
North Wildwood – For the Jersey Shore community, North Wildwood's Trunk-or-Treat and Block Party is the place to be on October 28. Here, it's the cars' costumes that are showcased, with prizes for the best of the best. Kids can trick-or-treat at this block party along Olde NJ Avenue between 2nd and Walnut Avenues from 5:30–7pm. Pre-registration is required for vehicles.
Cape May – This Southern Shore town gets spooky at Halloween, and businesses along the Washington Street pedestrian mall are prime trick or treat stops. Cape May's annual Halloween parade will be held on Oct. 21 beginning at Perry Street and ending at the historic Emlen Physick Estate, where prizes will be awarded.
Since Halloween 2018 is on a Wednesday, be sure to check your town’s rules for suggested trick-or-treating times or days.
Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of the houses/events