Some North Jersey homes have become legendary – at least among locals – for their wild Halloween performances.
We are talking about giant spiders that bypass the house. Skeletons lounging on lawn chairs. Fancy clowns with quirky expressions. The courtyards are covered in ghouls, and there is hardly an empty square foot in the plot.
Do you want to experience these annoying things for yourself? Follow this guide to our favorite Halloween homes in North Jersey.
Bring the kids – that is, if your kids have a horrible taste.
where: 363 Beachspring Rd, South Orange
Spectral skeletons and flying spirits hang in the air, insects open in silent cries, in this gorgeous yellow house. The land is full of skulls, animal skeletons, tombstones, spider webs and quite a few scary clowns. Our favorites are the creepy kids crawling near the door and the skeletons lounging on blue Adirondack chairs.
Spiders’ worst nightmare
where: 93 Walnut Street, Bloomfield
The first thing you’ll notice in Bloomfield’s House of Horror is huge (fake) spiders crawling all over the house. In the courtyard await 7-foot-tall werewolves, a witch, scary dolls and life-size skeletons.
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where: 522 Upper Mountain Street, Upper Montclair
There’s nothing flashy or exaggerated about the Halloween decor in the Montclair loft by Robert Calderon and Dr. Joseph Amorino, professor of art education at Keene University. Gargoyles—handmade by Amorino—smiling at the front gate, a huge pumpkin head peeks out in front of the window, shutters (also made by Amorino) are adorned with annoying faces, and an evil masked clown appears on the lawn.
“I mainly use my house as a canvas,” Amorino said. The house was built in 1924, and Amorino takes great care of the pieces it includes in the décor. “I have always been interested in gothic images, mysterious places and enigmatic homes, even back to my childhood.”
It would be wise for people interested in great architecture and Gothic ambiance to drive. Take a special note of the medieval clown, also made by Amorino. If you look at it from the left, you’ll see a chronic frown, but when you walk to the right, it changes to a smile. His hand is outstretched in a welcome gesture, and the other is placed humbly on his chest. But should you accept his welcome?
“I’m not quite sure if he’s humble, or if he’s inviting you to an evil purpose,” Amorino said.
fashion model madness
where: 526 Grove Street, Clifton
The home of dentist Dr. Wayne Ganji has become a local sight year-round. Regardless of the season, you’ll see sexy models of his brand wearing lingerie in his front yard. For Halloween, his yard is filled with every kind of horror you can imagine: bloody skulls, skeletons in fairy costumes, caged Cerberus, crows, and killer dolls. With so many decorations within a few square feet of a yard, you’ll have to look seriously for mannequins. But there they are, wearing American flag bikinis and wearing spooky masks.
where: 193 Lafayette Street, Hawthorne
Anthony Rodriguez is once again back in decorating for his Hawthorne home. Rodrigues is originally from Portugal, and his enthusiasm for Halloween was inspired by his love of carnival. This year, dozens of zombies have invaded the courtyard, including an arc made of zombies leading to the door.
In 2020, Rodriguez was forced to end his Halloween parade after his neighbors complained to the police about the traffic he caused. Police warned him last year that people would be hit with the ticket if they blocked the road to his house. But community members rallied behind him. And this year, the screen is back in all its glory.
“The Crucible” on Clinton
where: 281 Clinton Place, Hackensack
Clinton Place is so famous for its decorations that it has earned the nickname “Halloween Highway.” Last year, many residents decided to skip the decorations for fear of creating potentially unsafe crowds during the pandemic. But, this year, a couple of homes are back in the holiday spirit with lawns littered with ghosts and witches.
One house, for example, has a small wooden chapel with an oblique cross erected in the front yard next to the chests and tombstones. A bloody guillotine swaying next to the church, as well as a poor victim trapped in a hanging cage.
where: 335 Main Street, Ridgefield Park
This screen has a little bit of everything: haunted trees straight from the Wizard of Oz, aliens, a haunted house, grinning lanterns, freaky spiders, a horse-drawn carriage and a gigantic skeleton standing about 10 feet tall. New this year is a huge inflatable pumpkin that will float to the surface.
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bloody good show
where: 381 Center Street, Wood Ridge
Rich and Carol Carbonaro have been everywhere in Halloween decorations for 23 years. Their show is not for the faint of heart and is filled with spooky characters like the creepy doll ghoul, as well as plenty of monsters, ghouls, clowns, and skeletons staring at you from the yard.
where: 11 Deacon Bliss, Criskill
The best time to go to this Cresskill house is after dark. That’s when the house lights up in all its flashing purple, red, and green glow. This screen displays dozens of animated snarls and groans: a madman trapped in a cage, three witches plotting their drinks and zombies with heads bobbing, to name a few.
Owners Richard and Kathleen Perez decorated their home over 20 years ago. They started when their kids were young and add their own Halloween decorations every year. Kathleen is a fan of Halloween, and even though the kids have grown up and out of the house, she and Richard still love putting on the decorations every year.
“We have to turn the volume down on them because they can talk loudly on top of each other,” Kathleen said.
It takes about three days to put the screen in and make sure all the lights and moving electronics are working, Richard and Kathleen said. Richard’s favorite? Little girl sitting by the balcony and asking if passersby want a piece of candy. When they get close you jump on them. “She looked like my daughter Juliana when she was little,” Richard said. “So, I call her Juliana.”
How did you feel growing up in a house with a wild Halloween show?
25-year-old Juliana said, “It was a blast. I really appreciate that my parents worked so hard to put on these shows and give us these memories. While our parents started doing this to us as kids, it has grown into something they loved doing and kept doing despite Than the three of us have grown up. Every year they say it might have been last year, but every year they do it even more!”
Do I need more?
A house on Woodlawn Avenue in Upper Montclair near Montclair State University is crawling with skeletons…literally.
Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. To learn more about where to eat and drink, please sign up today and sign up for the North Jersey Eats newsletter.
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