Spooks and Scares for All

‘Tis the season.

No, not that one. It’s the season for frights and scares and haunts. While sitting around a fire and telling scary stories is one way to celebrate the spooky season, going through a haunted house or on a ghost tour can make your heart race in a good way.  

Abandon hope, all ye who read further! 

Homes That Haunt 

Are you ready to drive around and look at the ingenious ways some people decorate their homes? With scenes from our favorite television shows, a house covered in zombies, impressive light displays, and more, we’ve got a few can’t-miss spots for you to visit this season, all of which are within five-to-ten-minute drives from The Dayton, Fair Lawn Promenade, and Fair Lawn Commons

Stranger Things” House 

You may recognize certain specific scenes from this popular Netflix show at this home in Fair Lawn, NJ. Found at 11th and Henderson, the owners of this house have outfitted their lawn with everything from a Demogorgon to a certain character “runnin’ up that hill.”  

Zombie House 

This Hawthorne, NJ house on Lafayette Avenue will impress not only from the clever ways to display the owner’s fascination with Halloween decorating, but through sheer volume of figures as well. Good luck trying to find a spare patch of lawn that is not converted into something from a zombie film!  

Ridgewood Halloween House 

This impressive graveyard will have you clutching your pearls hoping your soul stays in your body! On West End Avenue in Ridgewood, NJ, visitors will be delighted by the impressive display of skeletons, gravestones, zombies, lights, and so much more.  

Ridgewood Halloween Maze 

For something a bit more interactive (from both the living and the dead), visit this Ridgewood home on Sheridan Terrace. While not recommended for the young and/or easily frightened, this homemade maze is sure to terrify and delight those who dare to visit.  

Spookier Spots 

Brighton Asylum Source: Yelp

For the more adventurous spooky seeker, there’s no shortage of haunted houses, graveyard visits, and ghost tours to visit in New Jersey. These are not for the faint of heart, so take care when planning your trips to these eerie events.  

Brighton Asylum 

If you’re looking to jump out of your skin, look no further than one of New Jersey’s premier haunted houses, just a quick drive from Rutherford Heights. Except it’s not just one house—it’s several buildings, haunted underground tunnels, escape rooms, and more. Tour these paranormal palaces alone or with friends but, whichever you choose, be ready to be spooked beyond belief. 

Halloween House Paramus 

Get transported in this meticulously designed Halloween House, close to Washington Promenade in Dumont, NJ. Every room has a distinctive theme inspired by Halloween-themed television shows and films. While this doesn’t have anyone jumping out at you, it will get you in the mood to go home and watch your favorite spooky films. Have your phone ready for some great pictures!  

Princeton Cemetery 

If you’d rather walk among the dead, a tour through an old cemetery should do the trick— or treat. Ghost Hunter Guides will bring you around the fabled 18th century campus and through the nearby cemetery while telling the tales that brought the departed souls to their demise. You’ll be close to Windsor Woods if you need to run home to escape the scares. Don’t forget a flashlight!  

Haunted Somerville 

Haunted History Productions is a company that travels around the Garden State during the month of October giving tours to the scary spots with stories that leave people of all ages spooked. If you live at Stone Bridge at Raritan, you can go on their tour in nearby Somerville and learn about Prohibition whiskey bandits, the haunted Hotel Somerset, the “Trial of the Century,” and more with these certified scare-masters.  

Other Ways to Celebrate All Hallows’ Eve 

In the U.S., we usually spend Halloween in costume, trick-or-treating, using Ouija boards, and watching our favorite scary movies. But not everyone celebrates as we do. In some cultures, Halloween is a time spent honoring departed loved ones.  

Dumb Supper 

For Pagans, the Samhain tradition of Dumb Supper is held, where all attendees bring a token from a loved one who has passed away. They eat backwards, starting with dessert and ending with appetizer, and without speaking — yes, you have to stay silent. It is believed that the silence allows the souls of the departed to join the supper. Oh, did we mention there’s often a designated glass of wine per course? Depending on how many courses you serve, it can get quite silly trying to stay quiet! Remember to always drink responsibly.  

Día de los Muertos 

In many Spanish cultures, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated from the evening of October 31 until November 2. Families may create an altar with photographs, flowers, candy, gifts, and food for the souls of loved ones who may visit. They even sometimes leave out a towel and bowl of water so the dead can wash before eating.  

Mischief Night 

The night before Halloween is known across the United States as Mischief Night, Goosey Night, Devil’s Night, or a handful of other nicknames. While the name may change, the celebrations don’t. People often “toilet paper” homes, trees, and areas of neighbors’ yards by throwing a roll (or rolls) of toilet paper all over the object or structure. When done with tact, this can be a fun way to play a joke on a friend!