October is almost here and that means crisp weather, cozy sweaters and best of all, pumpkins! New Jersey has pumpkin events for everyone this autumn, whether you want to check out carving demonstrations, floating jack o’ lanterns, an after-dark hayride or a scenic train ride. Round up the gang for one of these family-friendly outings and get your fill of all things pumpkin.
Blackwood Pumpkin Festival
Where: Mainstage Center for the Arts, 27 S. Black Horse Pike, Blackwood
When: October 2 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Price: Free admission, fee for some activities
Details: Head to the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival for plenty of autumn fun all in one place. Kids can paint pumpkins, take hayrides, build scarecrows and enter the pumpkin-carving contest. Enjoy live entertainment on four stages, yummy food from local vendors and other festive activities.
More info: www.mainstage.org or call 856-302-6485
Whippany Pumpkin Festival
Where: Whippany Railway Museum, 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany
When: October 2 from 12:30 to 5:30 pm
Price: $14 for adults, $9 for children under 12, free for kids 1 & under
Details: All aboard! Take a scenic 30-minute train ride aboard the “Pumpkinliner” to view the season’s beautiful foliage. After your trip, stroll through the pumpkins, corn stalks and scarecrows as you browse through local crafts and railroad memorabilia. Check out antique tractors, pose for pictures in front of the haunted house and enjoy the festive decorations.
More info: www.whippanyrailwaymuseum.net or call 973-887-8177
South Jersey Pumpkin Show
Where: Salem County Fairgrounds, 735 Harding Highway, Woodstown
When: October 7 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm, October 8 from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm & October 9 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Price: Free admission, $5 parking fee per car
Details: Get your fill of all things pumpkin at this annual celebration featuring pony rides, live music, fun contests and kid-friendly crafts. Don’t miss the giant Pumpkin Pyramid, Little Miss & Mister Pumpkin Show, Doggie Parade and plenty of delicious pumpkin goodies. Yum!
More info: www.sjpumpkinshow.com or call 856-765-0118
The Great Pumpkin Weekend
Where: Turtle Back Zoo, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange
When: October 8 to 10 from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Price: Admission is $14 for adults, $11 for children 2-12, free for kids under 2
Details: Visit the animals at Turtle Back Zoo and get into the Halloween spirit! Kick back with live music, pumpkin-carving demos, family-friendly animal enrichment activities and fun giveaways. Activities are included with zoo admission.
More info: www.turtlebackzoo.com or call 973-731-5800
Where: Wagner Farm Arboretum, 197 Mountain Avenue, Warren
When: October 14 & 15, 21 & 22, 28 to 30 from 6:45 to 8:00 pm
Price: $15 for adults, $10 for children 3-12, free for kids 2 & under
Details: Don’t miss Wagner Farm Arboretum’s spectacular display of carved and lit pumpkins. You’ll find pumpkins carved into pirates, cowboys, popular characters and more. Wander through the “Secret Haunted Garden” if you dare, then warm up with a cup of cider or hot cocoa.
More info: www.wfafnj.org or call 908-656-1402
Where: Fosterfields Living Historical Farm, 73 Kahdena Road, Morris Township
When: October 22 from 1:00 to 3:30 pm
Price: $6 for adults, $4 for children 4-16, $2 for kids 2-3, free for under 2
Details: Spend a fall day at Fosterfields Farm visiting the animals and learning about farm life over 100 years ago. Kids can pick the perfect pumpkin from the farm’s patch and decorate it using natural materials. Take your pumpkin home to display on your porch for Halloween!
More info: www.morrisparks.net or call 973-326-7645
Harvest Moon Hayride
Where: Alstede Farms, 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester
When: Friday & Saturday nights through October 29 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm
Price: $18.99 for adults, $16.99 for children 2-11, free for kids under 2
Details: Experience the magic of autumn at night with a cozy hayride under the stars. Navigate the Alstede Farms corn maze in the dark and pick a pumpkin by flashlight! Gather round the fire afterwards for cider, hot chocolate and country music.
More info: www.alstedefarms.com or call 908-879-7189
The Great Pumpkin Sail
Where: Echo Lake Park, 143 Mill Lane, Mountainside
When: November 1 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm
Price: $12 per family of 6 (in-county residents), $16 per family of 6 (out-of-county residents)
Details: No need to toss your jack o’ lantern after Halloween! Bring it to Echo Lake Park, bid farewell to October and watch it glow as it sails away with hundreds of other pumpkins. Then enjoy campfire songs, hot chocolate and marshmallows at this special celebration.
More info: www.ucnj.org or call 908-527-4900