A Merry Weird NJ Christmas!

(Please note: The last day to place an order for Christmas delivery is Friday December 19th. To place your Weird NJ order please go to our shopping cart or visit our Amazon Store. Thanks for another wonderfully weird year!)

Holiday Horrors in Kendall Park

Check out New Road in South Brunswick between Rt. 27 and Rt.1. You already know about the Rocking Horse House at New and Sturgis Rd, but if you pass it going towards Rt. 1 there is something even stranger. The second house past the fire station on the right is 141 New Rd. They have a sick Christmas display – skeletons and other grotesque figures dressed in Santa costumes! I caught sight of a sign but only read the word “Haunted” before I passed. It is definitely a Christmas display, not Halloween.

The Rocking Horse House looks even more bizarre right now with some Christmas stuff and old plastic crates mixed in. In between it and the display mentioned above is a house with hundreds of plastic Christmas figurines evenly spaced on the lawn. I guess it’s supposed to be Santa’s workshop, but it looks weird the way everything’s spread out and not grouped together.  –Lisa Burns

Monsters Like Presents, Too!

Tom and Carolyn Dardani sure know how to dress up the home for the holidays. And why not? Their home in Monmouth Junction is known affectionately as “The Halloween House.” The Dardanis run the annual Dardani Haunted Trail in nearby Woodlot Park. The event is run by over 200 volunteers during the Halloween season. This is a picture of a display the Dardanis did a few years ago. Who knows what will be lurking on their lawn this holiday!

Flag Waving Santa

While driving down Route 206 near the Morris/Somerset boundary, I saw what looked like a Santa Claus sitting on a bench on the opposite end of the pond. To make things stranger, the Santa was holding an American Flag on a pole. I pulled into the park and walked over. The Santa suit was stuffed full of snow, but the hat and boots, even the beard were there. As usual I had my camera with me, so I snapped a few shots of this weird winter display of patriotism. –Doug Keating

Pitman Billboard Says “Keep the Saturn in Saturnalia”

WNJ reader DWS reports that, “In Pitman, a rivalry has been going on since 2011 between religious people who want to “Keep Christ in Christmas” and the Freedom From Religion Foundation who reminds people to ‘Keep Saturn in Saturnalia’. Where lats year the FFRF simply hung a banner at the ‘Welcome to Pitman’ sign, this year they escalated matters by purchasing a billboard at West Holly Avenue and Lambs Road.” Read the FULL STORY…

Sat·ur·na·li·a [sat-er-ney-lee-uh, -neyl-yuh]
1. The festival of Saturn, celebrated in December in ancient Rome as a time of unrestrained merrymaking.
2. Unrestrained revelry; orgy.

Santa of the Apocalypse

I spied this intriguing Yuletide decoration, which I immediately dubbed “The Fourth Santa of the Apocalypse,” while in my travels in the little burg of Spotswood.  My take on all of this is that it stays up year ’round and is dressed to fit in with the current holiday.  I’ll keep you posted with any additional information I come up with. –Tom, the gutless wonder

Ridgefield Water Company

Here are some pics from the Ridgewood Water Co. property in Midland Park, along Godwin Avenue. It’s a park-like atmosphere filled with about 100 painted wooden character cut-outs. They put it up every Christmas and it looks worse every year. Many of the characters are broken and in desperate need of a paint job. I took my kids to show them, and even they said, “This is weird, let’s get out of here!” –John Arehart

Skela Claus

Here is a picture of a Santa located on Berkshire Valley Road in Oak Ridge. –ldmarx

Mahwah: Where You’ll Never Have a Blue Christmas

This is one site everyone will have to check out. A fellow in Mahwah who makes his living as an Elvis impersonator puts on an of a Christmas House. It is rumored that so much energy is used for his Christmas lights (which cover every square inch of available horizontal and vertical space) that he has worked out a special deal with PSE&G.

The seasonal light display has become so popular that local cops are now posted in the area to direct traffic in and out of the complex where he lives, which is modeled after Graceland. Needless to say, the light display is orchestrated by recordings of elvis singing Christmas carols.

Neighbors attempting to keep up with him have tried their own garish displays but have not managed to outshine him. His display is unmistakably the loudest, in every respect.  –Jennifer Watts

Very close to Franklin Lakes, this house is on Victoria Lane off Campgaw Road in Mahwah.  We’ve been going there for at least ten years.  I understand his bill is over $2000. On some nights the Mahwah Fire Department collects donations simply by holding their helmets out to the line of slow passing cars. –RL Dean

There is a house in Mahwah, on the corner of Victoria Lane and Garden Court (off of Campgaw Road), that goes all out every Christmas. The house and property is covered in lights and there are also several lifesize figures on the roof––including Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.  There is a constant caravan of cars driving through the neighborhood between Christmas and New Years…. stopping to snap pictures and catch a glimpse of this weird winter wonderland. –John Arehart

Elvis Has Left the Lights Off

The “Elvis” house has not been lit up for the last 2 years. I drove down Victoria Lane in Mahwah last Friday and the entire street had no decorated houses. I guess the recession has hit hard on that neighborhood too. –Teepag

A New Kind Of Devil’s Tree

This is a photo of our Christmas tree. We went for a whole new look. Check out the evil kids in the tree! –Michelle Lamroeaux


Satan Claus?

A friend of mine’s Daughter saw this sign a few Christmas’s ago and snapped this picture. The next day it was gone. I guess Santa isn’t the only one who makes visits in Pequannock. I grew up there and never saw anything but Santa driving around on a back of a fire truck. –Diane

The Glowing House of Elizabeth

This house is a few blocks away from my house in Elizabeth. What makes it even more absurd is that the neighborhood has predominately smaller and slightly shabby older homes. The owners demolished a run down Victorian to build this modern day vision. It’s a spectacular display of Weird NJ Xmas excess!  –Gina B.

100,000 Points of Light in Clifton

Our house is covered literally…leaving an opening for the door with over 100,000 lights and life-sized animated display figures! Most people think it is pretty darn weird! Please stop by and check it out! –Mark Carfora, 76 Arthur Street, Clifton

Santa’s Barn at the Land of Make Believe

The Land of Make Believe on Route 611 in Hope, Warren County was established in 1954 is really more of a kiddie ride and water park than it is a fairy tale theme park. Still, the site does possess enough quirky surprises to warrant its mention in this chapter. The first of these surprises was the big red barn and accompanying silo with Santa’s face painted on it. This was called (appropriately enough) “Santa’s Barn.” Mind you, we visited here in the middle of August during a killer heat wave, so already this seemed out of place. Inside the barn visitors are encouraged to crouch down and walk through a “magic fireplace,” then up the chimney to visit Santa Claus himself. My daughter was petrified and would have no part of this, so I went up the flue alone.

When I emerged on the second floor of the barn I found myself in a dark, cavernous, dream-like winter wonderland. The loft of the barn was all decked out with cotton snow, fake elves and reindeer, Christmas trees and candy canes. The only light came from the tiny colored Christmas bulbs, which were strung along a walkway, and the whole place was eerily quiet. The temperature was well over 100 degrees.

As I made my way across the nightmarish North Pole landscape I came to a full-sized log cabin, and peaked around its corner. There, sitting all alone on the front porch was Santa, the big man himself, all done up in his red suit, white beard and shiny black boots. At first I thought that he must have been a mannequin or maybe some sort of robotic Kris Kringle, but then I saw the portable fan on the floor blowing full force to cool the not so jolly guy off. I didn’t know what to say, I felt really creepy being all alone in a sweltering barn loft in August with some guy dressed as Old St. Nick. “Hey Santa,” I said, “mind if I take your picture?”

Just then I heard the terrified screams of a small child echoing through the gloomy recesses of the barn. As it turned out, my little girl decided to come looking for me and freaked out during her journey up the chimney. “Gotta go Santa” I said, then rushed off. –Mark M.


GONE: Away in a Manger in Belleville

This holiday season don’t forget to stop by Charlie Auriemma’s Christmas display on Mt. Prospect St. in Belleville. Charlie, an electrical contractor by trade, decorates his side yard each year with a manger scene complete with live sheep, calves, and even a camel. There is also a Santa’s workshop where robotic elves toil away powered by an electrical on/off switch that you control!

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GONE: Still Dreaming of a Pink Christmas in Metuchen

Gracie Knox, the “Pink Lady of Metuchen” has been enjoying her pink paradise for over 70 years. Weird NJ visited Ms. Knox Gracie she invited us into her century-old home, where we sat ensconced in pink pile carpet and pink plastic-covered furniture. On that day she was preparing her outfit and convertible Cadillac El Dorado (one of her two luxury pink and white rides) for the town’s annual Memorial Day parade. Christmas is the time when Gracie’s Sheridan Road estate really shines though—shiny pink, of course! Gracie died in 2009 and her house was torn down this past year.

GONE: The Robot Elves of the Fountains of Wayne

Dear Weird NJ: I’ve been visiting Totowa on business about once a month since August. While there last week I saw something that was really weird to me. I stopped at the Fountains of Wayne aka Christmas Emporium on Route 46 for something to do on my lunch hour. As I was shopping, I saw that they had a Christmas Animitronics Display upstairs. Of course, I had to go up and take a peek.

They have various vignettes set up such as Santa’s Pizzeria, Santa at the Jersey Shore, Santa in the Rain Forest, etc. The display looks like it was set up in the 50’s and has never been changed. Each vignette is full of the animated dolls that are all moving in the same hypnotic way. They look like they are possessed and were truly creepy. You really need to see it. Then when I told someone about it, they told me to go up 46 to Fairfield Gardens and see the Ice Caverns. Off I went. This one was a bit newer, but there was one Santa that looked like a blow up sex doll. –Vivaletta

HO HO HO…Look deeply into Santa’s eyes…HO HO HO!

Displayed annually for many years at the private home of the Camuso family on Burnett Hill Road in Livingston, this massive collection of Christmas decorations is now part of a seasonal township display. There are robotic figures, cartoon characters, wooden soldiers, a giant tree and all other manner of holiday ephemera. Mr. Camuso passed away a few years ago and bequeathed the collection to the town, which presents it each year at Memorial Park on South Livingston Avenue.

Do you have a story of a weird holiday display that you’d like to share? If you do then please e-mail us at: Editor@WeirdNJ.com

Remember, this year, give the Gift of Weirdness to someone you love with a Weird NJ, subscription, a gift subscription, T-shirt, hatback issue or book. Happy Holidays everybody from your friends Mark & Mark at Weird NJ!

(Please note: The last day to place an order for Christmas delivery is Friday December 19th. To place your Weird NJ order please go to our shopping cart or visit our Amazon Store. Thanks for another wonderfully weird year!)