HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Halloween will be celebrated by the township next weekend, with events for kids, adults - and pets. 

Pre-registration is required for some events.

Social distancing, masks and other COVID-19 protocols will be in effect for all activities.

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Children's Halloween Party at Norz Hill Farm Oct. 29:

The Children's Halloween Party at Norz Hill Farm will be held on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. All registered children will get a goodie bag and can go on a hayride, receive a pumpkin from the patch and walk through the kids bale maze. Pre-registration is required online at www.hillsboroughrecreation.org by noon on Oct. 29.

Howl-o-Ween Dog Parade and Costume Contest Oct. 31:

On Saturday, Oct. 31, starting 8:30 a.m.will be the annual dog "Howl-O-Ween" which will take place at the Ann Van Middlesworth Dog Park. During this event families and pets will be able to gather in the dog park while Hillsborough Girl Scouts rank the costumes and select prize winners in different categories. All prizes are donated from local businesses. No pre-registration required! Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the parade will start at 9 a.m. by the Pavilion.

 Trunk-or-Treat Oct. 31:

The Trunk or Treat will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the Willow Road Complex.There are two options residents can take advantage of for this event:

Option 1: Families can provide a decorated "Trunk/Vehicle" as well as candy to hand out to the Trunk or Treaters.

Option 2: Don't have a vehicle to decorate or include? -- No problem. Families can register their children to "Treat" without a "Trunk" for $5 per child. (Limited capacity)

Trunk or Treaters will also be able to vote on "Best Trunk."

Registration is required for both options by Friday October 23 at www.hillsboroughnjrecreation.org.

The New Jersey Department of Health has issued the following guidelines for trick-or-treaters going door-to-door and other Halloween activities::

  • Outdoor Door to Door Trick or Treating
    1. Those who plan to trick-or-treat should limit their groups to current household members, consider staying local, and limit the number of houses on their route. Social distancing should be practiced between all who are not in the same household.
    2. For those putting out treats:
        • Good option: Limit interaction or contact with trick-or-treaters, wear a mask when individuals come to the door, and regularly wash hands.
        • Better option: Leave a treat bowl on a porch or table or in a place where it may be easily accessed while adhering to social distancing requirements.
        • Best option: Arrange individually packaged candy so that trick or treaters can grab and go without accessing a shared bowl.
    3. Consider coordinating with neighbors to develop a system, such as signs or on/off porch lights, for distinguishing houses participating in trick-or-treating from those that do not wish to participate.
    4. Wear a face mask to mitigate against COVID-19 exposure. Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute but can be supplemented with a cloth or disposable mask. Children under two should not wear a cloth mask.
    5. Candy should be commercially packaged and non-perishable. Consider individual non-food “treats” to avoid sharing of food.
    6. Practice hand hygiene (wash hands or use hand sanitizer) before leaving your home, after touching objects such as wrapped candy, and when arriving home.
  • Outdoor Trunk or Treating (when children go car to car instead of house to house)
    1. Limit the number of participating cars to ensure adequate space for social distancing and minimize crowds. Ensure outdoor area has sufficient space per car to avoid overcrowding and to allow adequate space for social distancing.
    2. Follow the outdoor gatherings limitations in effect at the time.
    3. Design event in a long line, rather than a circle to ensure social and physical distancing to discourage crowding.
    4. Consider having assigned times or multiple shifts to minimize crowding during event.
    5. Wear a face mask. Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute but can be supplemented with a cloth or disposable mask. Children under two should not wear a cloth mask.
    6. Candy should be commercially packaged and non-perishable.
    7. Practice hand hygiene before the event, after touching objects such as wrapped candy, and after the event.
  • Halloween Parties
    1. Avoid large indoor or outdoor parties, which would be subject to the limitations currently in effect on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
    2. Keep up to date with the most current restrictions on outdoor and indoor gatherings.
    3. Avoid participation in activities that require close contact and/or shared items such as bobbing for apples
  • Haunted houses, hayrides, and corn mazes
    1. Wear a cloth or disposable mask while participating in these activities. As noted above, a costume mask does not suffice.
    2. Indoor haunted houses should be avoided because of the possibility of congregation and screaming in close quarters. If hosting a haunted house, ensure visitors maintain an appropriate distance by staggering start times and limiting occupancy. A better option would be to host an outdoor haunted house without live performers.
    3. Hayrides should limit the number of passengers per ride and keep openings to the same party. Any shared materials should be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
    4. Corn mazes should only permit individuals to proceed in one direction, should limit occupancy according to the applicable restrictions in effect at the time, and should avoid use of shared materials.
    5. Entities hosting these events are encouraged to take reservations and/or sell tickets in advance.
  • Examples of socially distant Halloween activities that would require minimal or no additional health and safety protocols include:
    1. Virtual activities such as online costume parties.
    2. Drive through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an area/neighborhood with Halloween displays.
    3. Carving pumpkins with family.
    4. Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations.
    5. Halloween themed movie nights with family