Arts & Entertainment

Halloween Traditions Old and New in Maplewood and South Orange

Paquette Family Credits: Destiny Paquette
Paquette Family 2016 Credits: Destiny Paquette
Paquette Family 2017 Credits: Destiny Paquette
Paquette Family 2015 Credits: Destiny Paquette
Robert Knoll sets-up the Halloween display at his Colonial Terrace home.
The giant skull is just one of the many elements of the Halloween display at this Maplewood home.
Seton Hall University students volunteer with the Teal Pumpkin project Credits: Emily Konopinski
Maplewood "Lion" Emily and "Leo" Augie and family of volunteer Teal Ambassadors at the Maplewood Halloween celebration Credits: Emily Konopinski
Volunteer "Chimp" Pete Trunk gives a treat to a friendly Minion Credits: Emily Konopinski
Credits: Emily Konopinski
Maplewood Halloween Special FX Makeup Bash Credits: Maplewood Halloween Special FX Makeup Bash
Maplewood Halloween Special FX Makeup Bash Credits: Maplewood Halloween Special FX Makeup Bash
Maplewood Halloween Special FX Makeup Bash Credits: Maplewood Halloween Special FX Makeup Bash

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Halloween in Maplewood and South Orange is always memorable, from incredibly decorated homes to amazing costumes. Some residents have annual traditions, from what costumes they wear to what kinds of candy they give out to trick-or-treaters (everyone knows which houses have the "good candy"), and both towns have annual community celebrations downtown.  And this year, some new traditions began, which hope to become part of the yearly Halloween celebrations in SOMA.


The Paquette family, parents Destiny and Mike, and children Camden and Elanor, have worn a DIY group costume each year for five Maplewood Halloweens. This year, they went as DuckTales. In previous years they have also had visiting grandparents join in the group costume, which has included Robin Hood, the Care Bears, and UNO cards. Destiny, who writes the blog Suburban Wife, City Life, says not only is a family costume a tradition, but they also take a photo by the Maplewood town clock every Halloween.

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The Knoll family has been creating an incredible haunted house at their 7 Colonial Terrace home for 15 Halloweens. Maplewood residents for 22 years, they first began decorating the home for Halloween when some ceiling tiles from a kitchen renovation were re-purposed as gravestones. In fact, the decorations on display are all one-of-a-kinds, including a towering skull, which was painted on their driveway years ago.

Robert Knoll admits he isn't sure if he'll keep it up forever, with his children now ages 16 and 20, but that it's hard to imagine ending the tradition after all this time and with so many kids who look forward to it each year. The display, which is up for Halloween night only, also includes live actors, music, and fog, and neighbors help to make it possible. 


This year, the first Maplewood Halloween Special FX Makeup Bash was held at The Woodland with special effects make-up, a DJ, live band Kick Parker, and movies on Halloween eve. Organizers say it will be back again next year, they already have the date, October 27, and they hope for it to be an annual event.

Emily Konopinski and the Maplewood Lions Club added a new tradition to the annual Maplewood Village Halloween celebration this year with the first Teal Pumpkin Project, which had volunteers giving out 10,000 non-food treats as an option for trick-or-treaters with food allergies.Konopinski said the Lions are committed to continuing this each Halloween.

Sheena Collum, South Orange Village President, gave out 250 packs of candy with a label she added which said "You Are Very Special" at the South Orange Halloween celebration. Collum posted to Facebook that the candy went so quickly that next she plans to distribute more next year, writing "easily 1,000, but I’ll need an assembly line for my little labels." 

Do you have a favorite Halloween tradition? Send to Anna Sandler at

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