The countdown to trick-or-treat is on! If you’re not ready to send your little goblins door-to-door, bring them store-to-store at one of New Jersey’s thrilling downtown trick-or-treat events. Collecting goodies from your favorite local retailers is a safe, organized alternative to traditional trick-or-treating and a great way to support local businesses. Take a stroll downtown for these free, family-friendly Halloween festivities. Maybe you can sneak in a little shopping while you’re there. And if you’re heading to the shore, pile on the treats at a boardwalk Halloween event. For more Halloween fun, visit Mommy Poppins New Jersey Halloween Guide.
While my friends who still find time to read grown-up books argue over the merits of the film version of Gone Girl, I've been worried about a completely different page-to-screen adaptation: Disney's live-action take on Judith Viorst's 1972 kids' classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG). I know from experience that sweet and slim picture books often become stale and bloated family movies. Yet my nine-year-old still insists on seeing pretty much every one of them, especially when they're based on a beloved book like Alexander, which she read so many times its spine finally gave out.
But though the title is tailor-made for bad reviews, Alexander is far from terrible, horrible and all those other negative adjectives. The film cleverly expands on the premise and moral of the book—that we all have bad days—by making every member of Alexander's family suffer the same kind of rotten luck and humiliation he usually does. My daughter and I laughed out loud several times during the brisk 80-minute movie, though often at different things. And looking around the New York International Children's Film Festival preview screening we attended, most families seemed to have a similar experience. The kids were particularly enthusiastic about the movie—afterward, a bunch of them shared their hilarious reactions on video.
Yes, it's the spookiest month of the year--and October is also chock-full of fun family activities all over our great state! Forget that door-to-door treat-trolling and try something different this year: take your family to an NJ zoo. It's always an enjoyable way to spend a family day, but add some candy, costumes and fun activities and your little NJ ghouls will be having a blast in no time! And don't forget to check out our Halloween Activities Guide.
For those who like a good fright before Halloween night, check out some of New Jersey's best haunted establishments. There are plenty of night-time haunts to please the older kids, some creepy walking tours to see an entire (possibly) haunted town, a scaredy-cat amusement park and even a few scare-free zones where kids can just trick or treat. And for more creepy/fun choices, check out our NJ Halloween Guide.
Boo! Halloween and hayrides go hand-in-hand, but you may not have heard of a Halloween train. Adding a creepy factor to a train ride really enhances the whole spooky vibe of Halloween. Throughout New Jersey, various railroads can take your entire family on an adventure. Read below for some great ones; some are scary, some just take you to a pumpkin farm but, regardless, these trains bring on the fun!
As a native Florida gal, experiencing the changing seasons is still something that’s exciting for our family, even 3 years after our big move. Winter is full of snow (and more snow) of course, spring is beautiful with gorgeous flowers and summer is a great excuse to be outdoors with the kids, no matter what state you live in! But something about autumn is special – maybe it’s the multi-hued leaves that carpet our backyard, the cute little grins I capture on camera as our little ones romp through pumpkin patches or the fact that it’s just a good excuse to wear cozy sweaters and eat apple pie!
No matter the reason, my family likes to take in the fall season in a big way. Weekends in September through November are the perfect opportunity to take a break from the busy day to day and embrace the cooler temps before it gets frigid. New Jersey offers an array of autumn activities for every age and interest – take a look at our top ten favorites:
Halloween is a time of year when we search for new and fun things to do with our NJ kids. There are plenty of spooky events, but why not try something unique this year? Sling a pumpkin with the family, go on a hunt with Scooby-Doo, settle in for some classic ghostly tales or grab a flashlight and search out the mighty T-Rex…in the dark! If you are in the mood for something different this Halloween, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list of “off the beaten path” Halloween events for NJ kids and families.
I’ll be the first to admit that big box toy retailers have their place. When my daughter wants something generic like a Dora Play Kitchen, or I get very strict instructions from our 4 year old nephew about which Transformer action figure he wants for his birthday, I can honestly say there’s no better place to shop. But amid the fluorescent lights and impersonal service, there’s a part of me that finds mega toy warehouses just a wee bit depressing. There’s something so old-school and refreshing about walking into a small “mom & pop” toy shop to browse unique gifts and – imagine this - actually receiving genuine help from the staff.
Trick-or-Treat! Kids of all ages love reciting those magic words and receiving bags full of goodies. However, walking through the streets and knocking on strangers’ doors may not be the best option for toddlers and preschoolers. Luckily, New Jersey offers plenty of opportunities for safe trick-or-treating in controlled environments. From malls to museums to community events, experience all the fun of trick-or-treat, without the worry, at these structured, family-friendly happenings. See individual links for dates and times. For everything Halloween, visit Mommy Poppins New Jersey Halloween Guide.
A recent study estimates that the average adult spends about an hour a day waiting for something—the bathroom, the cashier, the bus, you name it. But parents seem to wait around even more than that. Plus we get the added bonus of hearing our kids whine, "I'm bored!" and beg incessantly for our smartphones.
But waiting with your kids doesn't have to be dull. You can turn that downtime into quality family time by finding ways to play together (and no, we're not talking about Candy Crush). Inspired by our series of SUMMER OF PLAY posts, here are 10 no-tech activities to try when you're stuck waiting somewhere—hopefully you won't be there long enough blow through all of them in one go!
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