Family-Friendly Harvest Activities & Halloween Events

  • Pumpkin patch in New Jersey

Once you start feeling that crisp coolness in the air and the leaves begin to change to glorious shades of gold and red, you know autumn has arrived. Make the most of the season with this list of family-friendly things to do in the fall.

1. Go apple picking at a U-pick farm.

There’s a reason New Jersey is known as the Garden State: we’ve got acres and acres of verdant farmlands and fruit-laden orchards. Take a trip to Alstede Farms (Chester) or Mackey’s Orchard (Belvidere), where you can spend the day strolling through the rows of trees, picking-your-own apples. Make sure to also pick up a jug of freshly pressed apple cider.

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

It wouldn’t be harvest season without some roasted pumpkin seeds and jack-o-lanterns, so bring the kids to Eastmont Orchards (Colts Neck) or Giamarese Farm & Orchards (East Brunswick), where they can select their own pumpkins, right out of the pumpkin patch. 

3. Go on a hayride.

Whether pulled by a horse or a tractor, a good ol’ fashioned hayride is the perfect way to celebrate the fall while enjoying the great outdoors. Take the little ones for a joyride at Johnson’s Corner Farm (Medford) or VonThun Farms (Monmouth Junction).

4. Explore a corn maze.

Let the kids loose – or maybe even play a little hide-and-seek – in the corn mazes at Atlantic Farms (Wall), Heaven Hill Farm (Vernon) and Happy Day Farm (Manalapan).  These fun spots also have a petting zoo and seasonal hay rides.

5. See Dracula.

Get in the Halloween spirit with a theatrical dance production of “Dracula,” featuring pyrotechnics, sound effects and special lighting effects. Atlantic City Ballet will perform at the Strand Center for the Arts (Lakewood) and Caesar's Casino (Atlantic City).

6. Explore a haunted house.

For older kids looking for a fright, take them to a nearby haunted house, where monsters and ghouls lurk around every corner. Visit Oasis Island of Terror (Robbinsville) or Camp Evans Base of Terror (Wall) for some good scary fun.

7. Explore the history (and maybe even ghost stories!) of small towns.

Come out for the Ghost Walk in the Historic town of Mullica Hill, coinciding with the Pumpkin Festival and Civil War Living Weekend events. Down in Ocean City on Fridays and Saturdays, the annual candlelight walking Ghost Tour where the "fun in the sun" turns into "fear in the dark!"

8. Join a zombie walk.

Show up in your scariest costumes and join fellow zombies for the Zombie Walk in Historic Smithville, where on-site makeup artists can help perfect your creepy look. Also the Highlands will be hosting their 2nd annual Zombie Parade, followed by a pub crawl.

9. Get a thrill with roller coasters and monsters.

Always good for a scream, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, presents its 25th annual Fright Fest, where nearly 200 zombies roam freely. Halloween shows and attractions are interspersed with thrilling rides and roller coasters.

10. Go trick-or-treating.

Take the little ones to stock up on treats in their scariest (or cutest!) costumes with this quintessential Halloween activity. Kids can go “Trunk or Treat” as they grab candy from the trunks of cars in North Wildwood, come for the parade along the Boardwalk in Seaside Heights, or they can visit businesses in the Voorhees Town Center for a safe Halloween Trick-or-Treat event.