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Leaves are falling, apple-cider donuts are in season and something wicked this way comes. Signs of Halloween in South Jersey are everywhere, bringing along a new awareness of the strange noises creaking through your house (it’s just the wind, it’s just the wind…) and that mysterious shadow you keep catching just out of the corner of your eye. Oh, and pumpkin-spiced everything.

Ghosts, goblins and ghouls will soon be roaming the streets asking for tricks or treats. But before that, you can get in the spirit with these perfect autumn activities that spice up the month with spookiness.

 

Spirits by the Sea & Ghost Walks Galore

South Jersey residents never seem to want to leave…even in the afterlife! Dive into local history as you get in touch with the neighbors who came before you in a town-wide ghost tour. Let’s start at the most southern tip of the state.

By day, Cape May is a scenic seaside town where day trippers stroll through colorful Victorian houses. But by night, a different type of visitor may appear right out of thin air. Whiffs of perfume waft through the hallways and temperatures drop suddenly in the Queens Hotel. Ghostly apparitions haunt the halls of Emlen Physick Estate, and guests swear they’ve seen a man in a uniform counting coins in the Winterwood Christmas gift shop. Cape May has long been the subject of paranormal investigations, making it one of the most charmingly haunted seaside towns in the country.

Back on the mainland, the centuries-old homes in historic downtown Mullica Hill are brimming with some of the most lively spirits around. Every year, visitors explore some of the area’s spooky haunts on a ghost walk through locations like Mullica Center, Old Town Hall, Gracie’s Garden and the Ashcroft House. They hear tales of ghosts appearing in the town pond and mysterious orbs floating around the second floor of a church building. And these aren’t just folk tales. Each stop on the tour has been visited by paranormal investigators to confirm evidence that something eerie is afoot. Grab your walking shoes for a tour that’s bound to give you chills.
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South Jersey is full of history that leaves behind no shortage of ghosts, and several SJ towns offer their own ghost tours. Look online to find one closest to you.

 

Neighborhood Haunts

One of the most entertaining attractions for families to experience a shriekfest in South Jersey lies nestled in a quiet, unsuspecting suburban street (aren’t they always?). Each October, a Cherry Hill family invites the community to their backyard for a tour of the haunted Dubois House.

Now, this isn’t your typical DIY bedsheet-ghosts-hanging-from-the-trees type of haunt – it’s a five to 10 room haunted tour complete with a spooky theme, mechanical props and a troupe of enthusiastic local teenagers in chilling costumes lurking in the shadows. Tours range from “No Scare,” where actors smile and wave as you pass through, to “Code Brown,” where they jump out at you when you least suspect, even going so far as to grab your arms or legs. This backyard haunted house has been a beloved neighborhood tradition for more than a decade, and residents are anxiously awaiting its return this month.

For $5 a pop, you can enter the Dubois House on Crestbrook Ave in Cherry Hill at your own risk.

 

Lock ’Em Up

For those who prefer to take their supernatural stories with a pinch of skepticism and a side of verifiable history, the Burlington County Prison Museum is the perfect afternoon outing. Running from 1811 to 1965, it was the the oldest continuously operational prison in the country at the time it closed, making this the perfect outing for people interested in history, architecture, civil rights and more.

It also doesn’t hurt that this is often called one of the most haunted places in New Jersey. Visitors claim to hear moaning and chains rattling through the corridors and smell cigarette smoke wafting from the “dungeon.” Construction workers even say they’ve lost their tools, only to find them later locked in an empty cell on a separate floor of the prison.

 

Alright alright, enough with the frights

Creeping through the corn maze, winding through the apple orchards deep within this seemingly family-friendly activity lies…well, more family fun. If things start getting a little too spooky in the neighborhood, recharge with some Instagram-worthy hayrides, dizzying corn mazes and mountains of apple cider donuts at any of South Jersey’s local farms.

Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford hosts a Fall Festival every weekend in September and October featuring live music, apple and pumpkin picking hayrides, food tents and more. No, it isn’t haunted, and no one is going to jump out of the pumpkin patch to startle you, but it’s the perfect feel-good family memory to kick off the autumn season.

Are you scared yet? Tag us at @JustSaySJ on Instagram to share your favorite Halloween traditions!

October 2019
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