This month, get up close to nature at the Fall Forestry Festival in Jackson, enjoy hayrides, pumpkin painting and hay mazes at the Hoboken Harvest Festival in Hoboken, and watch the Strut Your Mutt Doggie Costume Contest at Thompson Park Day in Lincroft. There are plenty of fun, family-friendly, free events held around the Garden State this October!
Here are 10 free events in NJ this October:
Fall Forestry Festival
October 5, 10AM-3PM
The Fall Forestry Festival is an homage to all things nature:Take a guided hike, watch maple sugaring demonstrations, enjoy a Native American drum circle and dancing, go on a scavenger hunt, plant an acorn and much more, at this day-long environmental celebration. Bonus: Boy and Girl Scouts can earn badge requirements while attending.
370 E Veterans Hwy
October 5 – 6, 11AM-5PM
Get a jump-start on holiday shopping by stopping by The Cranberry Festival, one of the oldest and largest craft shows in the Garden State. It features over 150 makers, artists and vendors offering hand made, vintage and upcycled items for the heart and the home. Listen to live music, enjoy craft beer in the beer garden, while you watch your littles jump in the bounce houses in the kids zone.
Bordentown City, NJ
Harvest, Honey and Garlic Festival
October 12, 10AM-4PM
Take a first-hand look at the farm-to-table movement at Sussex County’s 10th Annual Harvest, Honey and Garlic Festival. Farmers will show off their latest bounty of home-grown garlic, produce, cheese and wine at the market. Kids will love learning about bees and beekeeping at the Beekeepers Association display, where you can also pick up home-grown honey and beeswax products.
Sussex County Fairgrounds
Irish Festival at Smithville
October 12 – 13
St. Patrick’s day may be months away, but you can get your Irish on now at Smithville’s Irish Festival. Have the whole fam wear green and head to the historic village to revel in the best of the Emerald Isle: Teach the kids how to jig with Celtic dancers, sing-a-long to traditional Irish folk songs and modern American-Celtic rock, pick up a claddagh ring or fisherman sweater at the Irish market and feast on Guinness and Shepherd’s pies along with other hearty Irish fare.
Historic Smithville Village
Hoboken Harvest Festival
October 19, 11AM-3PM
Farm meets the city when this seasonal fair comes to shores of Hoboken. Kids will have a blast taking horse and buggy rides, finding their way through the hay maze, riding a pony, painting a pumpkin and feeding farm animals at the petting zoo. When you need a rest, sit back and listen to the musical acts and watch the sporting demonstrations, all against the backdrop of the Hudson River view of the NYC skyline.
Pier A Park, 1st St. & Sinatra Dr.
Chester Annual Harvest Celebration
October 19 – 20
Looking for a day of old-fashioned fun? The 36th Annual Harvest Celebration in historic Chester will take you back to a simpler time, with blacksmith and woodworking demonstrations, country square dancing, music from the Revolutionary Fife and Drum Corp and a performance by the Morris Music Men Barbershop Chorus. Kids will love the pumpkin painting, clown entertainment and antique car show. Capture the moment and get one for the ‘gram, at the fall-themed “selfie” station (and don’t forget to hashtag #NJMOM when you post it!).
Downtown Chester, NJ
Thompson Park Day
October 20, 11AM-5PM
Looking for a way to get some energy out? Make sure to stop by the Thompson Park Day, where outdoor activities like canoeing, archery, rock climbing, sack races and games will be going on all day long. When it’s time for a break, take a hayride, watch a ceramic demonstration and size up the scarecrow contest. Bonus: Your fam will have a ball watching the Strut Your Mutt Doggie Costume Contest, with adorable pooches dressed as princesses, vampires, pumpkins and more.
Annual Hometown Halloween Parade in Princeton
October 25, 5:15PM-6PM
Get your crew in the Halloween spirit a few days early with the Arts Council of Princeton’s annual parade. Come dressed in your costumes at 5:15PM near Palmer Square and then show them off as you make your way through downtown Princeton at 5:45PM. After, get into a great night of family fun, enjoying live music from the Princeton University band, a bounce house, trunk or treat, food and drink, crafts and other Halloween-centric activities.
Long Branch Fall Festival & Pooch Parade
October 26, 11AM-4PM
Spend the day at the shore which coincides with Long Branch’s annual fishing contest, where your littles will have plenty to do: They can touch a truck, take bouncy rides, and walkabout in their own costume parade, while you peruse the craft vendors. Kids will also love dancing to the DJ and visiting with their favorite characters, as well as trick-or-treating at The Shops At Pier Village.
Long Branch, NJ
October 27, 1PM-4PM
Ready for trick-or-treating? Get a head start at the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center at this annual scare-free event. Come in costume, snag sweets and snap shots with dressed-up characters like Too-Tall Scarecrow. Throughout the grounds, actors will perform an eclectic mix of short skits about Halloween.
1501 Glasstown Road