Spooky season is officially here, and with Halloween finally upon us, it’s time to consider where to trick-or-treat locally. There are a lot of things to take into account: safety, walkability, fun local events, pretty houses, and great candy (of course). New Jersey has a rich haunted history and is home to so many awesome suburban towns, making it an ideal place to be for Halloween. From parades to elaborate decorations to haunted experiences and everything in between, we’ve rounded up some of the best towns + specific neighborhoods to go trick-or-treating in North Jersey for both families and groups of friends.
Alpine is known for having a number of celebrities who live in the small, affluent community — so you know this means they often give out generous candy to kids. Small gifts (yes, gifts) and full-size candy bars often make their way into goodie bags, and the safe, walkable area is easy to navigate in large groups. What’s more, Alpine is also home to Devil’s Tower (otherwise known as Rionda’s Tower), which is a notoriously haunted spot that’s said to be inhabited by the actual devil. Rio Vista Drive is a pretty tree-lined, looping street with big houses right near this haunted tower, making it the ideal spooky spot to trick-or-treat. Celebrity spotting, good candies, a haunted tower — there’s not much else anyone could want for Halloween.
For a more untraditional Halloween experience, Chester is the place to visit. Chester is arguably one of the most family-friendly options in North Jersey. Chester features tons of kid-centric activities from harvest moon hayrides at Alstede Farms and a nighttime corn maze, which can be topped off with a mouthwatering scoop of ice cream. Many local places offer fall flavors like pumpkin spice and apple pie ice cream. What’s more, in 2015, this North Jersey town was actually voted the third best spot for trick-or-treating in the country largely due to being home to Alstede Farms. This Halloween spirit spreads to many of the local businesses as well; for anyone who wants a break from the Halloween festivities, many local shops hand out treats on Halloween.
Decorations are not taken lightly in Hackensack, and Clinton Place in particular goes all out. Residents spend hours and thousands of dollars on their displays, all to raise money for charity — so for those who love Halloween decorations, this is the place to visit. Clinton Place is also lined with sidewalks, making it safe and walkable for kids. The local library also hosts events with games and things, and the decorations have previously included a legitimate hearse and real planes.
Of course, the Mile Square is an extremely walkable town, lined with doors to knock on for candy. Sure, there are pub crawls too, but some of the most Instagram-worthy Halloween-themed stoops in New Jersey are located in Hoboken (seriously, we can’t get over how much we love these stoops). It’s a diverse area age-wise (though there are certainly tons of younger families)and the streets are really easy to navigate. The non-main streets have tons of single-family homes, too, ideal for trick-or-treating. You can pretty much pick any street and head straight up or straight down — like Clifton or Grand. There’s also Washington Street, which is packed full of businesses, restaurants, and shops, many of whom hand out goodies. Upper Bloomfield Street is also said to be a great spot for candy.
For locals looking to trick-or-treat in the Jersey City area, we recommend frequenting the park neighborhoods. Lincoln Park, Hamilton Park, Van Vorst Park, and the JC Heights area are all great neighborhoods to hit — and it’s common to see other kids and families out and about in these areas. Plus, many businesses have been known to hand out candy and other sweet treats if you head to Central Avenue. Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall is also a fun spot to visit and draws a lot of kids, and there have previously been family-friendly events + happenings on Halloween here.
When it comes to Montclair, there are so many beautiful neighborhoods to visit — but it seems to be pretty universally agreed on that Montclair Avenue is the place to hit (though it may get a little crowded due to its positive qualities). There are walkable sidewalks, the houses are beautiful to look at, and the homes are not too spaced apart so you can maximize the amount of candy you get. Plus, many locals will decorate their homes with fun Halloween decor. You can start at Label Street and work your way down to Beverly Road in a straight shot, then loop back around the other side of the street. Midland Avenue is another fun street to hit — plus, if you get bored with just visiting homes, many Upper Montclair storefronts typically have a fun treat or two for the holiday. Trick or Read, hosted by Judy Newman, also gives out books instead of candy.
For those who are hungry for some horror and searching for something more untraditional to do: trick-or-treating gets a whole lot scarier in Passaic with Brighton Asylum overlooking the festivities. Legend suggests that many inmates lost their sanity in the hallways of this complex, as a result of horrible living conditions and inhumane medical testing conducted in the 1940s. All of the scares come out with slashers and thrashers and attractions so scary, pregnant women should consult doctors first (seriously). Post-thrill candy seems like a well-deserved treat. This attraction is open on Halloween.
Westfield is packed full of real-life ghost stories. The Westfield Watcher on Boulevard in Westfield is only one of the many creepy aspects of this Union County town’s history — plus, per Jersey Digs, this house now has new owners so you can presumably trick-or-treat there (not that we’re recommending it… only if you want that really spooky vibe). Personally, we love the north side for trick-or-treating. The Franklin School area has some fantastic spots to wander — there’s even a path that leads to Watchung Fork, which has a host of quiet, winding streets that have been known to give out some pretty big candy bars. It’s a safe, family-friendly area that’s very walkable. Dudley Avenue is also popular for its well-decorated homes. Being the hometown of Charles Addams, it also holds AddamsFest events throughout October.