Central Jersey

Best Trick-or-Treating Neighborhoods for New Jersey Kids

Halloween is nearly here, and in several New Jersey neighborhoods the locals are thinking, “Bring it on!” These Halloween-obsessed towns deck out their homes every year with fabulous decorations that delight trick-or-treaters big and small. Others turn their streets into festive Halloween block parties.

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.

Find more fun in our New Jersey Halloween Guide, including pumpkin patches and the best FREE Halloween events for local kids.

Polar Express and Christmas Trains for New Jersey Kids

Every year, New Jersey's railroads get decked out in their holiday best to offer special Christmas-themed rides for the whole family. Wait—Christmas? We know, it's a bit early to start hauling out the holly, but these rides are a popular holiday tradition, and they sell out fast!

Though these trains don't go all the way to the North Pole, most include a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, along with treats, caroling, and stories. One storybook Santa train invites kids to wear their pajamas and hear a classic Christmas story read aloud on the rails, while another ferries passengers to a Christmas tree farm.

Read on to find out where to take a holiday train ride with Santa Claus, and book your tickets as soon as possible. Then you can put Christmas aside for a while and get back to your fall fun.  

Best Halloween Events for New Jersey Preschoolers

"Trick-or-treat!" Kids of all ages love reciting those magic words in exchange for bags filled with goodies. Walking through the streets and knocking on strangers’ doors late in the evening, however, may not be the best option for toddlers and preschoolers. Luckily, New Jersey offers plenty of opportunities for safe trick-or-treating in controlled environments. From pumpkin farms to amusement parks to community events, you can experience the fun of trick-or-treating without worry at these structured, family-friendly outings.

Read on for 20 fun ways to celebrate the holiday with little ones, and find even more Halloween happenings in our Event Calendar and Halloween Guide.

25+ Fun Things To Do with NJ Kids on Columbus Day

If you're scratching your head to come up with some fun ways to spend Columbus Day with kids who are home from school, look no further. We've pulled together a list of more than two dozen fun family outings that NJ kids are bound to love, from picking pumpkins to visiting sea turtles. You can find many more options in our Fall Fun Guide—and if the weather's looking iffy, check out our Indoor Playspace Guide for a backup plan!

Northeast's First Disney Junior Play Zone Opens at Menlo Park Mall

Calling all Mouseketeers! A Disney Junior Play Zone—the first and only one in the Northeast—had its grand opening at Menlo Park Mall this past weekend. Located on the upper level near Nordstrom, the brand-new, FREE indoor play space features all your kids’ favorite Disney Junior characters—Mickey Mouse and Friends, Puppy Dog Pals, Muppet Babies, and more—in interactive displays, climbable play sets, and a variety of games and activities. 

New Jersey families are no stranger to the hustling and bustling Menlo Park Mall. Located near several major highways, the shopping mecca is the perfect place for our region's inaugural Disney Junior Play Zone (the other three locations are in Texas malls). Already home to other family-friendly favorites including Rainforest Cafe, Color Me Mine, and Build-A-Bear, this 1.26-million-square-foot shopping destination now offers parents of young kids yet another reason to visit.

Read on, and get ready to play ‘til you drop!

Top Pumpkin Patches and Picking for New Jersey Families

Nothing says fall (or Halloween) quite like a pumpkin. When these festive gourds start appearing on front stoops and in windows across New Jersey, you know autumn really has arrived. This year, skip the grocery store pumpkins and take a day trip to one of NJ's excellent pumpkin patches, where you're sure to run into more fall fun, including barnyard animals, hay and corn mazes, and even the season's other favorite fruit: apples

Red on for more than a dozen spots where you'll be sure to find the perfect pumpkin.

Closer to the New York border? Check out these Westchester and Hudson Valley pumpkin patches. If you're in south Jersey or headed for a Bucks County getaway this fall, our Philadelphia site has the scoop on Pennsylvania pumpkin patches.

Harvest Festivals, Hayrides, and Fall Fair Fun in New Jersey

The air is crisp, the apples are ripe, and fall fair and harvest festival season is about to get underway! We've rounded up 26 great harvest fests in New Jersey, all packed with signature autumn activities like hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin decorating (and picking), pie contests, scarecrow making, live animals, live music, and more. Some even incorporate a little early Halloween fun.

Read on to find an event near you, including the Great Pumpkin Festival, the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival, and more.

For more seasonal activities around the Garden State, be sure to check out our Fall Fun Guide and our list of 40 Things We Can't Wait To Do with NJ Kids This Fall

Cool Pumpkin Displays, Festivals, and Decorating Events in NJ

Are your kids already preparing for Halloween, with visions of candy, costumes, and pumpkins dancing in their heads? Kick off the festive fall season at one of the many wonderful pumpkin-themed events happening around NJ, from elaborate pumpkin exhibits and carving competitions to good old-fashioned pumpkin picking and decorating fun.

Read on for our top picks, plus a bonus event that’s worth a drive across the state line. You can find even more even seasonal events in our Fall Fun Guide

Halloween and Fall Foliage Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but if you really want to up your game this year, take a trip on a Halloween train! If you have a junior conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures—plus one across the Delaware in Pennsylvania.

From spooky to scenic, these rides offer a unique bit of fall fun for the whole family: passengers can take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities like corn mazes, crafts, and a costume party.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state.

Amazing Corn Mazes at Family-Friendly New Jersey Farms

Get ready… get set… get lost in an amazing New Jersey corn maze! The Garden State is home to oodles of spectacular corn mazes, ranging from massive 10-acre labyrinths to simpler, child-friendly courses, including hay bale mazes just right for toddlers and preschoolers. Games, clues, and even techie bonuses enhance many of the more elaborate maze experiences. Got a tween or teen? Check out courses that are open after hours for a nighttime and sometimes spooky adventure.

Many of these 16 corn mazes we've rounded up are day trip–worthy on their own, but you'll also likely find apple and pumpkin picking options, hayrides, and even fall festivals, plus petting zoos in some instances. So get out your fall to-do list, and navigate your way through one of these great New Jersey corn mazes. Check out our Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids to find even more ways to enjoy the crisp autumn days.

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