Merchantville becomes "Monsterville" every October as part of a tradition that dates back to 2015
A New Jersey town truly, truly loves Halloween — to the point where it officially takes on a special name when October rolls around.
Merchantville, New Jersey, is known for such things as its Victorian homes and nature trails. However, in recent years, it's also become "Monsterville" every October, a tradition that is continuing this year.
The temporary name change is not a Halloween prank. Monsterville began in 2015 as a campaign from a group of residents led by Councilperson Anthony Perno to further promote its love for the celebration, according to a news release from the borough obtained by PEOPLE.
And an adopted ordinance made the moniker official.
“Halloween has always been a special holiday in town because of community participation and the beautiful tree-lined streets and homes that are close in proximity to each other,” Merchantville Mayor Edward Brennan said in an interview with the Courier Post in 2016.
“These qualities allow our walkable community to capitalize on the Halloween where those characteristics lend themselves a lot to trick or treaters both from in and outside of town," added Brennan.
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Throughout the month of October, the town engages in such Halloween-related activities including the “Haunts of Monsterville” home decorating contest; a “Spooky Story Time”; and a “Zombie 5K Run and Walk.” A new addition to the Monsterville festivities for 2023 was the "Monster Mash Bash" that took place on Oct. 14.
The borough also released its map for this year where visitors can check out the various “harrowing haunts” — including 101 E. Chestnut, where an old Victorian is situated.
“Michael Myers will be walking amongst those brave enough to visit,” according to the description, which references the infamous character from the Halloween movie franchise.
Another Monsterville highlight for this year is the newly opened “West End Manor Dead and Breakfast” at 27 Linden Ave., whose amenities include “extra drafty rooms (with our without cobwebs), moldy meals and endless screams."
The borough added in its press release that about 3,000 trick-or-treaters are expected to descend on Oct. 31.
“A lot of what Merchantville is is community involvement, and this is the epitome of the community being involved,” Brennan told NJPen.com in 2016. “Halloween is one of those holidays where mostly everybody’s involved. We said, ‘Let’s really go all in.’ Halloween is something that we think Merchantville can own.”
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