Thursday, June 1, 2023

A Lambertville Halloween: Part I

With five months to go until the High Holiday, it felt like a good time to look back on the Halloween season behind us and share some memories from a very neat Autumn.  One day in particular was utterly packed with Halloween magic.

We loaded up the car with some props and figured we'd wing it and look for some shooting locations on the drive to our destination.  The plan was to make a full day of it as we worked our way through Bucks County, Pennsylvania to New Jersey... waiting for the sun to set on the town of Lambertville - home of the Lambertville Halloween House.  This house was something I've heard and known about for over a decade.  I've wanted to visit it for almost as long.  It's relatively close too.  It's funny how you can talk yourself out of doing the little things that turn out to be massive, important things.  Really special things.

With coffee and coal-fired bagels, we drove and listened to Halloween playlists with horror soundtracks, psychobilly songs, and goth anthems. We eventually found a beautiful corn field and the Witch and a scarecrow felt right at home among the brittle brown stalks.  

The weather was perfect.  Crisp and cool with a gentle breeze.  With the props back in the car, and our coffee pretty low, we headed off on winding roads to eventually cross the Delaware River into New Jersey.

Lambertville:  Imagine something you love and then finding a town that was devoted to it.  Usually that would be something like Christmas or maybe Spring or Summer, and you'd find the usual festivals or open markets some weekend morning.  Imagine the thing you loved was Halloween, and this town was a love letter to it.   And then imagine this town was old...historic.  With large Victorian homes and Williamsburg colonial revivals.  

It seemed every house and each storefront were decked in orange and black, with plastic skulls and paper pumpkins (real ones too, of course).  There were string lights, fake webs, ghouls, ghosts... and long-leggedy beasties.  It was a literal Halloween Town.  And we were in the middle of it.  Antique shops, gift stores, chocolatiers, all packed with Halloween atmosphere, lined the streets leading to the more residential part of Lambertville.  They were the perfect warm-up for the Lambertville Halloween House. 

We spotted a pub on the way with a sign for a Scarecrow Contest by its door.  The pub was closed, but the owner happened to come outside while we were there.  We talked a bit and she happily let us inside to take a look at her Halloween decor.  It was amazing in there.  More on that later...

Now, as a Yard Haunter, the notion of anyone visiting my display in the daytime gives me hives.  Despite featuring daylight photos of my display over the years, I still consider it a Night Haunt.  But here we were, just a few blocks from The Halloween House, in full sunlight.  I've seen many photos online and I knew they gave daytime tours.  The display was designed to be enjoyed in both daylight and moonlight, and as we approached and took our places at the end of a short queue, I could tell this was going to be something very special.  It was already elegant and mysterious.  It was inviting, intriguing, and definitely spooky.  I've heard its style compared a lot to Tim Burton's, but after seeing it in person, I think it's more accurate to say it was like being inside an Edward Gorey illustration.  We wondered how it would look and feel at night.

We took so many photos our phones were dying.  We retreated across the Delaware River back into Pennsylvania and headed to Peddler's Village for lunch and libations.  We did a tasting at Hewn Spirits while eating a picnic lunch.  Their Dark Hollow bourbon was our favorite, just perfect for the season, and with the best name ever.  Dessert was some Halloween-themed truffles we grabbed earlier at The Chocolate Shop in Lambertville.

With spiked hot cider in to-go cups, we set out to do some shopping and check out Pedder's Village's famous scarecrow display.  There were loads of great ones, and we discussed the possibility of me one day entering the contest again.

Dinner was in New Hope, which I have written about before, and was, surprisingly, not as well decorated, despite having a reputation as a neat, artsy town. We shared small plates and flights of bourbon and wine with a view of the river while reminiscing about the day so far.  

Our plan was to revisit the Halloween House at night before heading home, but after our earlier discoveries, we decided to hang around a bit longer...and grab a drink in what we now call the Halloween III Bar.

[Part II:  Lambertville at Night - Coming Soon]


Scarecrow Atelier said...

What a wonderful journey that must have been. I can only guess. And the way you tell it creates so many images in my head that I almost think I was there. You have a fascinating way of telling stories. Really. And thanks to your stories and reports, it is possible for a man like me in distant Tyrol to be a part of it. Because in our area there is nothing like that. Thank you for all the effort you take to keep the Halloween flame alive all year long.

And now I'm going back to work. Building Halloween stuff.

Because the creative tingling in my head doesn't stop. Haha

Rot said...

Looking super forward to your display this year. Very intrigued.

And I'm so glad you dug this post!

Revenant Manor said...

Epic. It's really the only way to describe the entire trip.

To be essentially swimming in Halloween like that...the photo shoot, the town all decked out, the Halloween House, and then complementary food and wine; just incredible.

It's also a timely reminder to keep the enjoyment of the season in mind!

As we're only ~150 days away now, I'm sure many are beginning their annual display planning (if they're not already in construction mode), and it's very easy to become so fixated on that process that the other pleasures season get somewhat overlooked.

Rot said...

Here here.

Wait til you see the night shots we took. Bananas.
Literally like being in an entirely different Halloween Town. Which is saying something.

MR. Macabre said...

That experience looks like a lot of fun, very cool. Wish we had someplace similar in our neck of the woods.

Tjalgahorn said...

Thank you for sharing about this place, I'm definitely adding it to my Halloween travel bucket list. I can't wait for Part II.

Mike C(JASONV123) said...

Man, what a trip!! It's good to know there are places that still celebrate the high holiday all the time 🎃 🎃 🎃.

Rot said...

Here's a comment left by Haunted Eve. It posted to a different blog post:

Blogger Haunted Eve said...
Gorgeous pictures! Fond memories of weekend trips to Lahaska/Peddler's Village when Mr. Haunted Eve was a kid. Even had lunch once or twice at the Cock n' Bull restaurant.

June 2, 2023 at 2:26 PM

Wren said...

Really nice to revisit these memories :)

Rot said...


Evil Vines Cemetery said...

What a town! I just don't understand why more people don't decorate for Halloween! So much fun to visit all those houses in one stop. I loved the eerie Coryell sisters display. Right up my alley! The House - wow, really interesting to see Halloween all in black and white. That and the prop styling very creepy! Can't wait to see the night post!