There are so many to choose from, but here is a sampling of ways to celebrate...or scare yourself and your kids...for Halloween!

TRUNK OR TREAT, Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck (Sunday, Oct. 28, 2 pm - 4 pm): Grab your costumes, decorate your car trunk, pack some Halloween treats, and bring your family to a fun and safe trick-or-treating event. Ribbons will be given for the most creative trunk decorations. But if you don't feel like decorating, bring the kids anyway! They are still invited to trick-or-treat, as well as participate in Pumpkin Bowling and Spooky Spider Races.

MUDSPOOKTACULAR RUN 2012, 750 Whiting New Egypt Road, Manchester (Nov. 3): Join a thousand other muddy buddies for Mudspooktacular -a Halloween party you won't forget. A 3.5 mile haunted course packed with 25+ extreme obstacles and an "undead" cast and crew. You'll have to conquer your fears as well as the elements! There will also be a Battle of the Bands at the Xtreme MusicFest and Costume Party and plenty of great food. All to benefit American Recreational Military Services to help our service men and women overseas. Registration details at

FRIGHT FEST at Six Flags, Jackson (weekends through Oct. 28, times vary): Bring your family out for an afternoon and/or night of spine chilling Halloween adventures. And, of course, all of the rides are still open....some with a frightful twist. Plus a full lineup of some monster entertainment.

HALLOWEEN HAYRIDES AT ALLAIRE VILLAGE, Farmingdale (Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 19 - 27, 6 - 9:30): Advanced purchase is highly recommended for tickets. A fun and not-too-scary ride for the kids, along with stops at some of the historical buildings for semi-spooky/funny audience-participation stories and entertainment.

 HAUNTED TRAIN RIDE, Allaire State Park, Farmingdale (Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 with trains leaving every 30 minutes from 7:30 - 9:30 pm). This is a great ride to take in conjunction with the Allaire Haunted Hayride...but they are completely separate events and you have to get tickets from two different places and then try and coincide the times if you want to do both on the same evening. The haunted train ride is MUCH scarier for little kids...especially when you get dropped off in the haunted forest at the end of the train ride...but still LOTS of fun. (I do both the Haunted Hay Ride and Haunted Train Ride every year with my boys.)  The train ticket booth is open during night runs, but try to book early in the evening or in advance if you can.

MONMOUTH BEACH SCARECROW FESTIVAL at Borough Hall (Sat. Oct. 20, 1 pm - 4 pm). A Scarecrow competition, chili cook-off, bobbing for apples, adult pumpkin carving, kids pumpkin painting, a canine costume parade, and an apple pie and cupcake-baking contest.

PICK YOUR OWN PUMPKINS: You may have your favorite location, but here are some ideas, some of which include more than just pumpkins:

-- Eastmont Orchards, Colts Neck, 9 am - 5 pm (6 pm on weekends)

-- Battleview Orchards, Freehold, 10 am - 4 pm (5 pm on weekends) Plus hayrides on the weekends

-- Wemrock Orchards, Freehold, weekends 10 am - 5 pm

...also Atlantic Farms in Manasquan/Wall which has a petting zoo, hayrides, and pumpkin picking, and Casola Farms on Rt. 34 in Holdmel which has one of the scariest haunted hayrides in Monmouth County (too much for some little kids!) along with lots of entertainment for the kids and halloween costumes for sale, too.

JERSEY SHORE GHOST TOURS, Keyport and Red Bank. Have you heard the legends told of both Red Bank and Keyport being haunted towns? These guides will show you why on their Friday and Saturday night walking tours. Ideal age is 9 and up, but custom tours are available for even your youngest ghost-lovers.

JERSEY DEVIL HUNT, Shark River Park (Oct. 26, 6 - 8 pm): A night walk (about one mile)...bring a flashlight. For those under 18, Mom and Dad must tag along.

BOO ON THE BOARDWALK, Jenkinson's, Pt. Pleasant (Oct. 20,21,27,28, Noon - 5 pm): Special package deals on admission, trick or treating on the boards, and tons of festive fun for the kids.

If there are other great events leading up to Halloween that have become a tradition for you, please share them below!

(Additional info at