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. 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.
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The Great Pumpkin Train – Phillipsburg
Weekends September 30 through October 29
Families can enjoy a steam train ride through the beautiful fall landscape of western New Jersey. Disembark at a farm and pumpkin patch, where children can pick their own FREE pumpkin to take home, and explore the historic Carpentersville Lime Kilns there. Looking to add a little more fun to your day? Take a jaunt through the corn maze or a tour of the Ole Susquehanna Mining Company for an additional fee.
Ride the Black River and Western Railroad to "Pumpkin Junction" for pumpkin picking and a corn maze.
Pumpkin Train – Flemington
Weekends September 30 – October 29
Board the Black River and Western Railroad's Pumpkin Train and get off at Pumpkin Junction, where kids can pick pumpkins in the field, explore a corn maze or hay-bale maze (for toddlers), take a hay wagon ride, visit a small petting zoo, and enjoy other games, refreshments, and activities. Each weekend features a different theme, from an apple fest to a pirate party. Let your kids test-drive their Halloween costumes on the special Trick or Treat Express, running October 28-29. This ride includes a spooky storytime and onboard trick-or-treating.
Pumpkin Festival – Whippany
Budding train enthusiasts will love the Whippany Railway Museum's Annual Pumpkin Festival, which includes a train ride on the Pumpkinliner. The excursion follows the route of the Historic Whippanong Trail; you can choose to ride in an antique caboose or the elegantly restored club car. Round out the afternoon with seasonal arts and crafts, or ogle the grinning scarecrows and collection of antique tractors and railroad memorabilia. Tickets sell out quickly, so book soon.
The Haunted Express – Wall Township
October 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 & 28
All aboard the Haunted Express! The New Jersey Museum of Transportation's Pine Creek Railroad is one of the oldest operating narrow-gauge railway exhibits in the country. The train's Halloween incarnation, the Haunted Express, travels through the darkened woods of Allaire State Park, leaving every 30 minutes from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. All riders, regardless of age, need a ticket, which must be purchased in person. This nighttime ride is best for older kids.
Top image: Black River and Western Railroad. All images courtesy of the railroads.