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How to Plan a Spooky Halloween in Cape May

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Halloween in Cape May is one of the best seasons to visit America’s first seaside resort. Cape May’s rich past, particularly at the height of the Victorian Age, is littered with ghost stories. So, so, so many books have been written about hauntings in Cape May.

I can’t get enough of Halloween in Cape May.

You might feel surprised that October is a wonderful month to visit an area otherwise known for its beautiful beaches. You might even be asking yourself if it’s too chilly to lay out on the sand, is there even a point visiting here?

Um, yes!

Ultimately, even though you cannot swim in the Atlantic Ocean wearing a cute bikini at Halloween, Cape May knows how to “play up” its haunted history for tourists, many who flock from around the state (and the country) to embrace Spooky Season. You won’t feel bored for a second.

cape may in halloween has lots of decorations

Why You Should Spend Halloween in Cape May

So, obviously, there are so many reasons why you should spend Halloween in Cape May. I feel like the trendy and artsy Victorian atmosphere thrives in this season.

For example, many of the Victorian homes’ expansive porches play up Halloween with bright orange, purple, and black decorations. You’ll feel as if you were dropped onto the set of a classic Halloween movie.

At the end of the day, if you’re looking to embrace Halloween and feel the essence of Spooky Season in your bones, then you should hop in your car and take a drive down to beautiful Cape May.

In order to help, I’ve written a couple reasons below about why you should take the trip, especially if Halloween is your favorite holiday.

cape may in october has such gorgeous weather

Beautiful and Crisp Fall Weather

Although there’s some debate on the best time to visit Cape May, I’m a huge cheerleader for visiting Cape May in the autumn months. I’m not a huge fan of heat and humidity, and July and August has a lot of both.

By the end of September, temperatures usually cool off. The mild weather means you can break out the fun sweatshirts, and explore Cape May’s streets in relative comfort.

Keep in mind that while autumn has some rainy days (yes, tropical storms are a distinct possibility), the brilliant and sunny cool days make up for them ten times over.

So, yes, even if you can’t jump in the Atlantic Ocean, go to Cape May in Halloween for the weather.

one of cape may's supposedly haunted houses

Encounter Ghosts

Cape May is (supposedly) haunted. A lot has been written about Cape May’s ghostly residents, so if you’re a fan of the paranormal, you ought to add this seaside gem to your bucket list.

Plenty of locals have written about haunted Cape May, and you can find these cool books in Cape May’s small shops. Even if you’re not a believer, the history is very interesting.

cape may in fall in washington street mall

Everything is Open on Weekends

October weekends are thriving in Cape May. You probably won’t find many shops and restaurants closed, and sometimes it feels as if summer is still in full swing (just with cooler weather).

A lot of Cape May’s shops are even stocked with fun fall items. You can update your wardrobe for the season, while checking out Halloween decorations at the same time!

Keep in mind that week days might have limited hours. It’s always smart to check ahead if you have your heart set on a specific business.

pretending to be scared in halloween in cape may

Feel Spooky Season Vibes

Ahhhh, I’m such a huge fan of Halloween (and even generic fall) decorations, you guys. I wish I could leave up these decorations all year round, not even kidding.

If you visit Cape May on a sunny weekend, simply walk around and soak in the atmosphere, especially if you’re a photographer. People’s creativity with autumn decorations will inspire you.

halloween in cape may pumpkins

What to Do on Halloween in Cape May

Are you still not sure what exactly to do on Halloween in Cape May? Don’t worry! I have some ideas to help you start planning a fantastic trip! You can either spend a weekend in Cape May or even just come down to Cape May for a day trip.

Either way, you’ll have a lot of fun!

cape may in halloween means pumpkin spice coffee
It’s Pumpkin Spice Time!

Drink Pumpkin Spice Coffee (Yum!)

Halloween in Cape May isn’t complete without pumpkin coffee. Cape May is home to several local and quirky coffee shops, and you really can’t “go wrong” visiting any of them.

I personally really enjoyed Magic Brain Cafe which is centrally located right on Perry Street, not to far from Washington Street Mall. Their Pumpkin Spice Latte was delicious, and I could’ve easily drank two more of them (what can I say, I love coffee).

In addition to their premium coffee, grab a couple of baked goods too. Everything here is yummy.

young girl statue in cape may

Go on a Spooky Ghost Tour

So … do you want to “encounter ghosts,” but aren’t sure where to begin? Then you need to book yourself on one of Cape May’s many organized ghost tours.

Ghost Capers, for example, is a really unique and historic lantern-lit walking tour that takes you through Cape May’s historic district. In October, you need to book tickets in advance to secure a spot on one of the tours.

If you don’t want to walk, Cape May also has some wonderful spooky trolley tours that will make you shiver.

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on some ghoulish fun when enjoying Halloween in Cape May.

cape may winery is perfect for a cape may girls weekend
Relaxing at the Fire Pits.

Hit Up a Winery

Halloween is also “Winery Season” in my humble opinion. Don’t limit yourself to just pumpkin-flavored coffee in Cape May (even though it’s delicious).

Without a doubt, Cape May County is also very well known for its delightful local wines. And October is the perfect time to visit the wineries since a lot of the seating is outside. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, sitting outside next to the fire pits is quite peaceful and lovely, and an experience that shouldn’t be missed on a fall day.

Cape May Winery in Lower Township is my personal favorite, because they also have delicious snacks in addition to their wines.

cape may halloween decorations scary

See Halloween Decorations

Last but certainly not least come to Cape May to see Halloween decorations. You can definitely plan your stops ahead of time, but part of the joy of visiting this time of year is to simply wander the charming streets.

For instance, Elaine’s and The Emlen Physick Estate both know how to decorate well, but some of the private homes do a wonderful job too!

As always, respect homeowners’ privacy whenever taking pictures of the decorations.

cape may home decorated for halloween

Halloween in Cape May: Travel Tips

Last but not least I wanted to add a few tips for spending Halloween in Cape May.

To tell you the truth, coming to Cape May is a very relaxing vacation (it’s one of my “Happy Places”), and you honestly don’t need to over plan, but it’s still smart to feel prepared.

cape may in october

Book in Advance

Believe it or not, October weekends are very popular for Cape May. On a glorious fall day, you’ll see a lot of crowds coming in for the day, and honestly, who can blame them?

With that being said, if you have your heart set on a certain bed and breakfast, then I would book as far in advance as possible. Is it a pain to plan far ahead? Sometimes, but it’s better safe than sorry!

You will also want to make sure your accommodation of choice is open in October. The majority are, but you still want to make sure.

enjoying a sunny fall day in cape may

Bring Weather-Appropriate Clothing

Don’t feel cold without the right weather. I love fall chills, but at the same time, if I packed for summer, I wouldn’t be too happy either. I personally recommend wearing casual and fun fall clothing such as leggings and an oversized flannel shirt for your Halloween trip to Cape May.

As always, check the weather forecast ahead of time. New Jersey is known for super changeable weather conditions, especially between summer and winter. Don’t be surprised in the worst possible way.

loving a fall day in cape may

Know Your Comfort-Level

Last but not least, know your personal comfort level to enjoy Halloween in Cape May. Don’t feel like you need to act cool or tough.

I mean, I personally love ghost tours, so I would think nothing of taking a late night tour searching for spirits, but at the same time, I realize that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people prefer wine tours or pumpkin picking instead of chasing down lost ghosts.

Ultimately, this is your Halloween vacation, and the itinerary needs to feel fun to you. So, if you scare easily, that’s totally fine and pick whatever activities make you happy. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone, not even yourself.

lovely blue victorian home in cape may

I hope that you enjoyed reading all about Halloween in Cape May. As always, if you have suggestions or even more ideas, don’t hesitate to drop a helpful comment or two. I hope you all enjoy your Halloween! Have a great time! 

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