Are You Afraid of The Dark? The Best Halloween Attractions in New Jersey


Why do we experience fear? The answer to that involves a lot of science about the chemicals in the brain, that is probably too complicated to understand. A better question would be why do we like the feeling of being scared? According to Web MD, we like fear because it gives us a natural high. When we are scared, we go to the fight or flight response. The rush of energy with this natural response has a certain appeal to it. We also love to be scared because of the sense of confidence. After a scary movie or haunted maze, we can say, “I survived.” It’s the feeling of accomplishment that makes us seem more powerful when we survived the scary thing.

October is the designated month for being scared. Everywhere you look, there are haunted house walk-throughs, mazes, shows, and activities pertaining to scary Halloween themes. Here are some of the best ones in Northern New Jersey.

Unfortunately, DePiero’s Farm is closing. We all remember the Halloween traditions they have every year, including the Halloween-themed walk-throughs in the field. Don’t worry, because they are still having the famous Nightmares one last time. This year’s theme is “Pantophobia.” There, they take you through the Hollywood Back Lots where you are greeted by scary movie characters that you’ve had nightmares about – hence the name “Nightmares.” Their goal is to bring out your true phobias – the paralyzing, crippling, and even irrational fears. If it doesn’t seem scary enough, they say “you may battle episodes of panic, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dry mouth, and numbness or tingling in your hands and feet.”

If that doesn’t seem like your cup of blood, then you can try Zombiscape, another attraction at DePiero’s. This one is only October 22 and 29, so make sure you don’t miss it. Zombiscape is more of an interactive event, if you want to feel like you’re in The Walking Dead. You have a belt with flags on – the flags represent your lives. The life- like zombies chase you and try to take your flags. You have to fight through the Zombie Apocalypse and run through the obstacle course without the zombies taking your lives. If you lose all of the flags on your belt, you die.

Farther away in Tarrytown, the town known for the Headless Horseman tale, you have the Horseman’s Hollow attraction. In this attraction, you walk a haunted trail through the town that was haunted by the Headless Horseman. The attraction has “creatures that lurk in the shadows, ready to terrify the unsuspecting.” If you’re not into jump scares, and you want to enjoy something Halloween like but not as scary, you can visit The Great Jackolantern’s Blaze. This attraction, still in Tarrytown, involves a walkthrough experience of 7,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack o’ lanterns. You still get the Halloween experience, but it is fun for all ages.

Finally, for those fearless Scream Queens, you will want to go to the Brighton Asylum in Passaic, New Jersey. This haunted attraction is so good, that Haunted Attraction Magazine, The Huffington Post, and even The Today Show called it the scariest place on Earth. This attraction is indoors, and involves Hollywood-style sets, extreme special effects makeup, and the loudest screams. The Asylum walkthrough involves going down into a tunnel under the building, so if you don’t like dark, small, claustrophobic places with terrifying, murderous asylum creatures, this isn’t for you. Only the fearless will dare to go into this American Horror Story-esque building.

So, make sure this Halloween is the scariest you’ve ever had. And although you will be screaming and close to crying in many of these attractions, you will have the best feeling when you get through it…. alive.