The Origins of Halloween Night Hike EVENT SOLD OUT

Saturday, Oct 28, 2017

6:00pm – 8:15pm

Join us on a journey through the woods on a crisp autumn night. You will follow your guide on a trail of glowing Jack O’ Lanterns; along the way you stop to meet the characters in an Irish Folktale that unfolds along the path.  The founders of New Jersey’s Original Jack O’ Lantern Night Hike are bringing their 30-year tradition to a new home at the Watershed.

While other Halloween programs are designed to frighten, our goal is to educate and enchant. Guided hikes begin every 15 minutes; last hike begins at 8:15 PM.  Space is limited in each hike; pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Tickets for this exciting event are on sale here.

Imagine walking through the woods on a crisp autumn night; the trail is lit with hundreds of glowing Jack O’ Lanterns, along the way you stop to meet the characters in a drama that unfolds along the path. Since 1987, children have marveled at the adventures of Stingy Jack and the first Jack O’Lantern, an original drama now brought to its new home at the Watershed Reserve.

As each group arrives they meet their guides and hit the trail for an exciting adventure. They first visit the cabin of an old peasant woman who tells the story of the old Celtic holiday of Samhain, when the spirits of the dead were believed to walk among the living. The modern traditions of wearing masks and trick-or-treating came from this belief. The children beg for tinder for their fire, then continue to the bonfire where the storyteller spins a yarn about Stingy Jack, the ornery man who once tricked the devil.

After hearing the story, the group continues through the meadow where they meet old Jack and see him trap the devil in an apple tree. The devil promises never to take Jack’s soul, so Jack lets the devil down and continues on his way. The group next meets up with Jack as he tries to talk his way into Heaven, which is complete with clouds and angels. After the angels tell Jack to hit the road, he has no recourse but to try to get into “the hot place”.

Moaning souls in chains and plenty of flames create a dramatic setting for this final scene. Here Jack argues with the devil, who refuses to take him in. In anger, the devil throws a hot coal at Jack.

He catches it in the turnip he is eating and is forced to wander for eternity carrying Jacks Own Lantern: the original Jack O’ Lantern.

Following the performance, the group roasts marshmallows around a fire. Their unforgettable evening ends with hot apple cider and goodies from our bake sale.

This truly innovative approach to both education and theater was first developed in Marlboro, NJ in 1987, before Halloween productions were widespread. While other Halloween programs are designed to frighten, this is designed to educate and enchant. We attempt to make the children feel comfortable in the outdoors, and hope to engender a feeling of awe and respect for nature, all while having fun.

Event Location

The Watershed Center
Pennington, New Jersey, 08534

Event Fees

Fee per person
$ 18.00
Member Fee per person
$ 15.00