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Haunted houses, hot Halloween parties and cool stuff to check out

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2011

Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2011 00:10

It's finally that time of year - the air becomes crisp, the leaves turn to bold shades of red and gold, and we are suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to be scared out of our wits and chased around the woods by masked men with chainsaws.

It may be too late to enjoy the candy bestowed on you by strangers as you did when you were a child, but there are many ways college students can enjoy the Halloween season. Whether you have a passion for fear, partying, or classic autumn fun with your whole family, there are tons of great attractions in the area to visit.

1. Newark Bears' Stadium of Screams

Tickets: $20

A three-level haunt at Newark High School that circles around the entire stadium.

"It is based around the baseball team and the owner, and we incorporated the earthquake into it," said Kim Gossar, a coordinator for the event. "The plates shifted and chemicals were released, so now the owners have gone mad trying to transform players and their fans into creatures."

Walk through the locker room, the main concourse and an upstairs suite through scenes that reflect a science fiction, "mad doctor" theme, as baseball players-turned-zombies stalk you for the 25-minute duration of the walk. It's perfect for the sports and horror fan.

For the faint of heart, there is a more "family-oriented" hayride around the track, and a "Fun Zone" featuring 25-cent carnival games, arts and crafts and pumpkin carving.

2. Halloween River Cruise

Tickets: $20

You will set sail on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. from Pier 40 on West Houston Street and the West Side Highway where you can dance, drink, and dine on a Halloween river cruise down the Hudson aboard the Star of Palm Beach boat.

The cruise is a $20 general admission, with a cash bar and cash buffet dinner available. Enjoy a view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty while you dance to the DJ spinning a mix of top 40, hip-hop, 80's classics and dance hits.

This event is 21 and over, and a costume is required to board. A cash prize of $150 will be awarded to the best costume, so be creative! Tickets are available for purchase at snaptickets.com

3. Halloween Pub Crawl in NYC

Tickets: $40 for a three-day all-access pass

With more than 150 featured venues - including chic lounges, trendy night clubs and Irish pubs - you won't be bored as your traipse around the city in costume, enjoying exclusive specials such as $2 drafts and two-for-one drinks.

A three-day all-access pass for $40 grants you admission to any venue for the nights of Friday, Oct. 28, Saturday, Oct. 29, and Monday, Oct. 31. One-day passes are also offered.

To purchase tickets, visit pubcrawls.com, or call (973)596-6553. You will receive your ticket in your email - just print it out and arrive at the designated venue to register. There you will get your wristband that permits entry to all of the bars and grants you drink specials, plus a map with the bars' locations.

4. Williams Nursery in Westfield

If you have had enough partying and are looking for a little wholesome family fun, make a visit to Williams Nursery in Westfield. A festive fall day for those young and old consists of pumpkin-picking, tractor-pulled hayrides, fresh apple cider and cider donuts.

Your younger siblings can romp in the hay-bale maze, or enjoy pony rides. On Oct. 29 at 2 p.m., there will be a costume contest in three age categories and first prize is a $50 gift card.

5. Brite Nights Event at Wagner Farm Arboretum, Warren

Tickets: $10 adults, $7 children

Will you be in the mood for something scenic and ambient? Walk along a path lined with 1,000 carved pumpkins at the Brite Nights event at the Wagner Farm Arboretum. This impressive sight will be available for adults and children on Oct. 28, 29, and 30.

You may also enjoy the witches and flaming cauldron, the haunted house showcase featuring actor and designer Bill Ward, making your own scarecrow for use on the farm or the refreshments offered at the Black Hat Cafe.

Tickets are available for purchase at wfafnj.org.

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