Fun and spooky stuff to do

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:55

SUSSEX COUNTY — The leaves are changing color and are beginning to fall, exposing twisting, knotted branches of old trees. What better backdrop to welcome Halloween. Hayrides have been ridden and pumpkins that have been picked now wait to be carved into Jack-o’-Lanterns. Halloween seems to bring out the challenge of fighting off fear. Ghost stories and folklore about being in the presence of spirits are built on storytelling and don’t necessarily need to be factual to conjure up apprehension. A look at “Weird New Jersey” will point any ghost hunter to a number of locations brimming with stories of the supernatural. One group activity is take a spooky stroll or car crusade through one of these infamous areas. Old, creeping trees that loom over isolated roads and the crackly, dead leaves underfoot are likely to raise the hair on any neck. Gravestone etchings are a unique way to create special Halloween decorations and learn of local residents from the past at the same time. Visit the First Presbyterian Church or Vaughn Cemetery. By rubbing pencil over paper that lies on top of the words on a gravestone, you can take home your own piece of history without disturbing the graves. An example of what can be founds: “Behold and see as you pass by As you are now, for once was I As I am now, for you will be Prepare for death and follow me.” Step back in time by wandering in Waterloo Village in Allamuchy, one of New Jersey’s largest “ghost towns.” Many of the original buildings are still standing, though not open to the public. The rural countryside and path that runs along the canal is a beautiful setting. But claims that a ship’s captain haunts the Rutan Cabin, and the mere fact that there was an old Lenape Indian burial ground located close to the village, makes it easy for the imagination run wild. There are still pumpkins available for carving on Halloween at local garden centers and roadside stands. And to finish the day’s expeditions, relax by a fire sipping hot apple cider while you recollect the tales of your travels.