Mornings and evenings are getting cooler, and folks all around South Jersey are trading in iced coffees for pumpkin spice lattes, flip-flops for boots, T-shirts for hoodies and polo shirts for flannels. It’s officially fall, and Monroe Township and Gloucester County have a plethora of events planned to celebrate the season.
To start the fall season, Monroe Township residents are invited to decorate scarecrows at their own convenience and enter them to be placed on poles down Main Street for the whole community to see. Scarecrow registration takes place on Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pfeiffer Community Center. The requirements are as follows: all scarecrows must be shorter than 5 feet tall, no vulgar or inappropriate scarecrows will be permitted, and scarecrows must be picked up between Nov. 2 and 3. Prizes will be awarded for the scarecrows during the Halloween parade on Oct. 19.
One week after the scarecrow event is Monroe Township’s flagship fall event – the fall festival and Halloween parade. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. residents and non-residents alike are invited to visit Owens Park for this free event featuring hayrides, pumpkin decorating, pony rides, free popcorn, games and prizes. New this year at the festival is a pumpkin dessert baking contest. The only catch is the dessert must be served in a closable container. For more information, call the parks and recreation office at (856) 728-1372.
Where 2019 strays from years past is the event between the festival and parade. According to a Facebook event, Monroe Township declared itself “Halloween Town” and will host a mock council meeting dressed as characters from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” This faux meeting will take place at 5 p.m. in the courtroom at the municipal building and feature your favorite characters from the Tim Burton classic.
The meeting will wrap up in time for residents to stake their favorite positions on Main Street for the Halloween Parade that will start at the CVS parking lot on the corner of Main and the Black Horse Pike and work its way down. To enter floats or groups in the parade, visit mtprnj.org and print out the application.
“With the changing of the weather, it’s the perfect time. Not only the perfect time with the smell of pumpkin spice in the air, it’s the perfect time for people to come out. It’s not too hot, not too cold,” parks and recreation clerk Tiffany Carney said. “These events are trying to draw out people from the community to come out and meet each other. We always say we’re a big town with a small-town feel. We are, but we need to start capitalizing on that as well and bring things back to the home front.”
There is no rain date for the fall festival, if there is rain the morning, and the afternoon and evening look clear, the parade will still occur. The parade, on the other hand, has a rain date on Oct. 20.
The department of community affairs is offering a Halloween-themed dance on Oct. 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Pfeiffer Community Center. Entrance to the dance is $5 and includes food and refreshments. Awards will be given for scariest and most original costume. In addition to music and refreshments, games and activities will be there for the kids as well.
In the same breath, the Pfeiffer Center is hosting a Halloween party for seniors on Oct. 31 at noon. Seniors are invited to come in costume for snacks, games and activities. Awards will be given for best costume as well. For more information, call (856) 728-1372.
In other towns:
- After-hours paranormal tour at the Olde Stone House Village in Washington Township. This event is limited to 20 people and begins at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 19. Tickets are $20 and can be pre-purchased by emailing TownshipHistory1836@gmail.com. Groups will be sent into each of the five buildings to receive a paranormal tour from NJ Researchers of Paranormal Evidence.
- Fall festival at the Red Bank Battlefield on Oct. 26 from noon to 4 p.m.
- An 18th century field day and annual Jonas Cattell Run at the Red Bank Battlefield on Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.