Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but have your kids ever heard of a "Halloween train"? If you have a junior train conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures. Take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, pick pumpkins to bring home, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities, from corn mazes to crafts to spooky scarecrows.
Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state, and find more cool fall train rides just over the border in Pennsylvania, from a haunted ride to preschooler-friendly Day Out with Thomas.
The Great Pumpkin Train – Phillipsburg
October 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30
Families 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.
The Haunted Express – Wall Township
October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 & 29
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 7:30pm to 9:30pm. All riders, regardless of age, need a ticket, which must be purchased in person. This nighttime ride is best for older kids.
Pumpkin Liner – 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; your kids can choose to ride in an antique caboose or 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 to the train ride sell out quickly, so book soon.
RELATED: Best Fall Events in NJ for Preschoolers
Ride the Black River and Western Railroad to "Pumpkin Junction" for pumpkin picking and a corn maze.
Pumpkin Train – Flemington
October 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23
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 costume party. Let your kids test-drive their Halloween costumes on the special Trick or Treat Express, running only on October 29. The ride includes a spooky storytime and onboard trick-or-treating.
Top image: Black River and Western Railroad. All images courtesy of the railroad.