The fall is great for apple picking, pumpkin picking, harvest festivals and tons of other outdoor fun. But, how do you celebrate Halloween without scaring your little ones so badly that they wind up in your bed at night? In hopes of keeping the kids in their own beds and fulfilling your parenting Halloween duties, here’s a list of twelve fun things to do to celebrate Halloween with the whole family…near Bergen County, of course.

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Train Ride Fun

Whippany Railway Museum: Sunday, October 6. Trains run from 12:30 pm to 5 pm, rain or shine. Buy your tickets here.

The Great Pumpkin Train (Phillisburg, NJ) Now through the end of October, 11 am to 3:30 pm. Take a scenic ride on a steam train along the Delaware. Stop at a pumpkin patch where the kids get to choose a pumpkin and don’t miss their corn maze. Lauren’s family has taken this train ride and enjoyed themselves but it is a bit of a drive. Oh and by the way, they also run a winery train.


Zoo Fun

Zoo Boo (Bergen County Zoo): Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26. Trick or treating, story time, train rides and more! Contact Mari Vella, Zoo Director, at 201.262.3771 ext 113 or email: Tickets in advance are necessary.

Spooky Zoo (Turtle Back Zoo): October 27 from 6 pm to 9 pm. This is at night, but the staff has assured us it’s not intended to be scary. Come in costume, watch animal presentations, participate in arts and crafts, ride the train and more! Call to pre-register because space is limited.

Boo at the Zoo (Bronx Zoo): October 5 to November 3. Catch the dinosaur safari, hayride, hay maze, creepy craft workshops and live performers. Come in costume and don’t miss the costume parade.


Jack O’Lantern Fun

The Haunted Pumpkin Garden (The NY Botanical Garden): Now through October 31. See over 500 intricately carved pumpkins. Kids can play inside a “gourd-geous” Pumpkin House, put on a scary show at the Pumpkin Puppet Theater, look for wiggly worms, and join a Halloween Parade.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze This experience is held at night so it may be scary for some children. Please visit their website and use your judgement. Meander through the historic riverside landscape and discover more than 5,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack o’ lanterns.


Museum & Nature Fun

Halloween Camp-In: Sleepless Slumber Party at Liberty Science Center (Jersey City): Join this family sleep over on October 26 through October 27. Explore Liberty Science Center under the cover of darkness! With exclusive film showings, engaging activities and the chance to sleep in exhibits! Brain dissections, slimy snacks, and a scary “campfire” story time await you (there’s a not-so-scary story time, too) along with some other special activities and shows. Call or email Mary McDonald to reserve your spot today: 201.253.1214, Mention code “SPOOKY” to receive a special discount. The Liberty Science Center will also hold a Halloween costume contest and parade at 12 pm on October 27th.

15th Annual Halloween Spooktacular (NJ Children’s Museum): October 16 to October 30. Put on your costume and ride your broomstick over and celebrate a non-scary Halloween event just for preschoolers and toddlers! Each museum exhibit area will be transformed into a fun Halloween child-friendly theme! Don’t miss the pumpkin decorating, trick or treat candy and toy stations, hand/face painting and Halloween storytime.

Too Cute To Spook (NJ Children’s Museum): A toddler-preschool Halloween party, great for children up to seven years
old! The entire museum will be transformed into a fun, friendly Halloween! Come in your best Halloween costume! Meet special
characters such as Princesses, Superheros, Dora, Tinkerbell and more. Plus there’s trick or treating, hand & facepainting, pumpkin decorating, pizza dinner, DJ entertainment, a costume contest and playtime in the museum!

Haunted Forest (Tenafly Nature Center):  Saturday October 19 & Sunday, October 20. Come in costume, tours depart every 15 minutes between 5 and 7:30 pm. Arrive early while it’s still light and meet several live forest creatures; last year’s animals included a wolf, flying squirrels and a porcupine. Come late after dark and see how they adapt to their environment. Small groups will depart with a guide to meet the forest folk along the trails for tours lasting 1.5 hours. The program is entertaining and educational– not scary–perfect for people of all ages who love animals. Enjoy complimentary refreshments and crafts around the campfire.


More Costume Party Fun

Halloween Kidsfest (Paramus Park Mall): October 26, 10am to 1pm in the Sears wing. Bring your children to the mall for an afternoon of fun, including Halloween make-and-take crafts, costume contest, learn Halloween dance steps, and enjoy a DJ playing music for the entire family. Kids ages 2 – 12 are welcome.