BERKELEY HEIGHTS — For the first time in two years, a popular Halloween-themed program returns to Union County.

The Haunted Hayrides will take place at the Deserted Village of Feltville in the Watchung Reservation on the evenings of Oct. 21, 22, and 23.

During the Haunted Hayrides, visitors ride through the 130-acre grounds of the Deserted Village in the dark, in an open hay wagon pulled by a trailer.

Live, costumed performers, act out more than a dozen vignettes along the way. Each one is based on an actual event from the past within the Village or nearby.

“The Haunted Hayrides have been a favorite family tradition for many years, and we are delighted to bring it back for the Halloween season,” Union County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Rebecca Williams said.

Some of the scenes, which are staged by an assembly of Union County staff and volunteers each night, include a traveling circus, a coven of witches, and a battle from the Revolutionary War.

David Felt built the former mill town in 1845. A figure of him comes along for every ride to entertain ride-goers with tales of mystery and tragedy from the 300-year history of the Village.

Adults and children ages 6 and up are invited to participate. Everyone will have an opportunity to take a walk on a trail through the woods to spend time with a resident of a Revolutionary War-era cemetery.

Each haunted hayride departs every half hour from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22., and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23.

All tickets for the one-hour experience must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold on-site. Ticket purchases can be made online at

You can also purchase tickets in person in advance at the following locations:

Trailside Nature and Science Center

452 New Providence Road, Mountainside
Open Tuesday through Sunday (except holidays), 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Trailside Info: 908-789-3670

Parks Reservation Desk

Union County Administration Building
10 Elizabethtown Plaza, Elizabeth
Open Monday – Friday (except holidays), 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Reservation Info: 908-527-4900

Tickets are $8 for Union County residents and $16 for out-of-county participants. Tickets are limited to eight (8) per person and are sold for specific ride times. No refunds or exchanges are permitted.

For more information about the Deserted Village, visit

Happy Haunting!

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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