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Have you been unsure about what to do for Halloween this year?

Regardless of how you yourself feel about festivities, there will definitely be fewer trick-or-treaters out and about and fewer people handing out candy.  I have noticed some great ideas going around for what to do for Halloween this year and have included a couple links at the bottom.  Readgab is specifically devoted to all things reading, so you will find the reading part of this idea in Step 3.

One suggestion I read about is to do a Halloween scavenger hunt.  My kids LOVE scavenger hunts.  There is just something so fun about running around trying to find hidden ANYTHINGS!  We do one for every holiday and we do them throughout the year as well.  Sometimes we might print off turkeys numbered 1-12 and they go find them in order around the yard.  For Christmas we might go find candy canes hanging all over the trees and anything we can drape them on.  For birthdays we might do a themed scavenger hunt, like our most recent, Scooby Doo Mystery Party.  To have my preschooler practice letters I take milk tops with letters written on them and hide them around the house/yard and he has to find the certain letters.  So, yeah, we like scavenger hunts at our house.  My kids ask for them often and I happily oblige, so we will likely do a Halloween search and find as well.

But I also want to do something that is similar to trick-or-treating.  The idea I came up with goes back to our Scooby Doo scavenger hunt.  The villains “stole” my sons presents and my kids had to find clues around the house and yard.  Each clue led them to another villain where they would have to accomplish some task.  The villains were their stuffed animals dressed up in costumes.  I am revisiting this idea in a similar way for Halloween.  My kids are going to trick-or-treat to their stuffed animals situated around our house and yard.

Step 4:  Enjoy the spoils of war

Sit down with your bag of goods and have everyone see what they have acquired.  Isn’t that always one of the most fun parts?  Getting home and seeing your Halloween loot?!  And the best part of trick-or-treating all around your own house?  You know what treats your family loves!  So those are the ones that their stuffed friends gave out!  There will be no extra candies that no one wants to eat sitting around for months!  But there may still be trading.  I always loved the bargaining amongst my siblings that ensued after we would sit down with our candy every holiday.  Now that you have all the best candies, sit down, turn on your favorite family Halloween movie and eat the fruit of your delicious labors!

Step 1:  Create some “friends” for your kids to trick-or-treat to.

The kids are each going to be in charge of creating Halloween costumes for several stuffed animals, but they will not get to see each other’s creations until Halloween.  To do this they will be able to use old Halloween costumes/dress up items, hats, and our own clothes/coats.  They can also use paper plates and things to create masks or whatever else they can find around the house using their creative juices.  We will do this in the days leading up to Halloween, and I will set the costume animals in my closet so they don’t all see what each character is dressed like.  If you don’t have the time and energy for step 1 you could skip this dress up part.

Your kids could also trick-or-treat to holiday decorations.  And I don’t just mean your Halloween decorations.  Of course, you could pull out your skeleton and whatever other fun decorations that look people-like.  Then you could also pull out your Santa Claus, your Easter Bunnies, and whatever else you can find in storage for your kids to trick-or-treat to.  Or create some of your own by stuffing your clothes and sticking a head on top made from a pumpkin or balloon.  Your kids will get a kick out of the different things you come up with.

Or they could trick-or-treat to family members who aren’t actually present.  Take your photos and set them around with candy to hand out.  Behind each door could be a relative.  You could even draw a “costume” on the glass of the picture frame if you have a marker that can wipe off afterward.

Step 2:  Time to set up your costumed friends around the house and/or yard.

If you have several rooms set one behind every door, even the closets, laundry room, bathrooms, garage door.  Put one in your vehicle, playhouse, trampoline, shed.  Still need more ideas?  Put one in the pantry, the dryer (just be careful not to turn it on), the fridge, on the couch, the bed, on the dresser, and the desk.  You can put them everywhere and anywhere.  How many you do is up to you.  You could have several in every room.  Then leave a few pieces of candy next to each of your costumed friends.  I am going to set up our “friends” while my husband occupies the kids somewhere else so that they don’t know who is where.

I know from the experience of the Scooby Doo Party that the kids have fun guessing who is behind the costume.  Sometimes it is more obvious than others.  Knowing my kids they will be excited for each other to see how they disguised their favorite toys.  And they will giggle when we call to the inanimate character, “trick-or-treat!”  You know your family best.  What will they like?  Will they enjoy some extra sounds in the house that day as well?  Maybe some Halloween music or some creepy noises you find online to play in the background while you trick-or-treat?

Step 3:  Add a little fun at some of the “friends’ houses.”

I would say this step is optional, but this whole thing is optional.  Nobody is making you celebrate Halloween, lol!  You could do like I did with the Scooby Doo Adventure and have an activity at each location.  Or you could add a Halloween book to each location.  I think we will do the books this year.  I have several different Halloween picture books so at maybe 6 doors I will place a book and we will sit down and read a favorite “spooky” story.  My kids also love to tell stories so I will let them each have a turn to have their character tell the story.  Pretending like it is the stuffed animal telling the story will make it more fun and help encourage voices and inflection in their story telling.  If they are enjoying all the story telling and want it to continue, my husband and I can make up a story for a stuffed animal to tell as well.  We will take this as it goes.  Sometimes my ideas are a huge hit and sometimes they tire of them quicker than I think they should, so the best idea is to be flexible.  Sometimes I get frustrated when they don’t love my creative idea like I hope they will.  Then I remember, I am doing this to make a fun experience for them, not me!

More Fun Halloween Ideas

If you want to lengthen out the fun of Halloween since it is FINALLY on a Saturday some other great ideas include:

  • Create their own Halloween book
  • Make some fun Halloween snacks or treats
  • Create a fun “spooky” card and send it to a friend or family member
  • Research what other countries do on Halloween (or similar Holiday) and try experiencing a new fun activity
  • Research the history of said holidays, are there any lost traditions from old times? My kids told me a fun story about the history of Jack-O-Lanterns
  • A spooky meal. Themed meals are always so fun!
  • Join #BIMAR where we watch a movie based on a book and live Tweet about it.
  • Have a Halloween Dance Party! Turn on some Halloween music on Pandora and boogie down! Cheap, easy, and your kids will have so much fun!
  • My family loves to throw things at each other as much as we love scavenger hunts! For a Halloween theme call it a haunting and try to throw “ghosts” at each other.  You could do this with crumbled up pieces of paper, marshmallows, pillows, etc.
  • Create a haunted house and make a to do of acting scared as you walk through it. This could be done on a very simple level by creating a fort with blankets and furniture and then take turns doing the scaring while the other family members crawl through it.

I have been very torn as I have wondered what we would do for Halloween this year.  My four-year-old has been looking forward to Halloween with great anticipation for months now!  Then I got to thinking, “why do they love Halloween?”  They love dressing up, they love getting candy, and they love having fun as a family.  We can still do all of those things whether we go door to door or not!  Regardless of what you are comfortable with, there are fun things that you can do on Halloween!  Comment below with your favorite fall activities (this year or in years past).

18 Comments

  • What fun ideas! Iblove that you found so many activities That are fun AND educational. My traditions usually tend to revolve all around food 😁, do this is a great reminder that holidays can be so much more!

  • We are definitely doing a scavenger hunt this Halloween… My kids have loved them ever since they watched “Blues Clues” as little babies. I love the idea of dressing up the stuffed animals in costumes! My 5 year old daughter would LOVE that.

  • I love the stuffed animal idea! That is so cute!
    Another fun idea would be to make a spiderweb maze that leads to a bucket(s) of treats. While the kiddos are outside, Mom and Dad weave yarn under the table, around the chair, ustairs, around the bed, back down again, and all over the house ending at a bucket of treats. You can have different colors of yarn, one for each kiddo and they all end with their own pile of loot. Its a fun activity even for older kids and adults.

  • For years we have done a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning for our children. Even now that they are all teens and older, they still look forward to this particular tradition and have so many memories of years past. However, we LOVE Halloween in our home and yet have never thought of having a scavenger hunt part of our fun. I think that will change this year!

    A couple traditions that we have for Halloween are homemade Caramel apples. We have it set up kind of like a buffet style, with lots of toppings to choose from. And another is Spooky haunted houses (similar to Gingerbread houses) where we each decorate our own and then vote which would be the spookiest. It’s fun to see even older children enjoying these holiday activities.

  • I love the scavenger hunt idea! We don’t have many Halloween books, but we do have a lot of Christmas ones the kids still like, so I can see us doing that around Christmas. Also dressing up the stuffed animals is great. We have a lot of old costumes and a lot of big fluffy stuffed animals. My kids ar older than yours but they would still enjoy that for sure. Any book spooky book recommendations for 10-12 year old boys?

    • One that I think is cute that I was reading to my younger ones that my 11 year old came running over for was “Hallo-Weiner” by Dav Pilkey. He is the same guy who writes “Captain Underpants” and “Dog Man,” which is why my 11 year old came running over to listen. Some picture books that older kids would enjoy are: “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Heckedy Peg,” has great pictures! “The Great Pumpkin.” “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” “What Was I Scared Of” and one I recently had recommended to me that I am going to look into is, “The Widow’s Broom”
      There are a lot of great chapter books for their ages that are great Halloween reads. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” you could have each stuffed animal host a different scary story since they are mostly short. There are also a lot of great ones that have movies made from their stories. “Witches,” there is a new version that I haven’t seen and the old version that I love is on Netflix right now. “Goosebumps” I recently watched the 2nd movie and liked it even better than the first. “Coraline” to me this one is super creepy, so I would only read/watch it with your kids if they like creepy stuff, like witches taking little girls eyes and sewing on buttons. “Spiderwick Chronicles” or “A Series of Unfortunate Events” are great ones for Halloween and have lots of short books that the movies are based on. “Hocus Pocus” has a book adaptation with a sequel that I am currently reading. “Sleepy Hollow” is such a great little read and then you could watch the old Disney version on Disney+. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has a poem that you could read and then watch the movie.

  • I love these ideas and your creativity! <3

  • I love all your thought and love you gave put into this for your kids. I have been so torn between wanting something in life to feel normal for my kids and feeling like we need to do something instead of trick or treating this year!

  • I enjoyed reading the suggestions. Thanks for sharing

  • Tiffany McCullough - Metaphysicalmama

    What a wonderful idea! My almost 4 year old has been looking forward to Halloween as well. I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with ideas to make it special for him, even if we can’t go trick or treating. I think this is a great alternative. I love the idea of having activities at each ‘friends door.’ Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • It is going to be a strange Halloween this year, but it sounds like you are making the best of it! I love the idea of the Halloween scavenger hunt. I’ve never actually done a scavenger hunt but I would have loved it as a kid I’m sure. Happy Halloween!

  • Karen you are very creative. Your kids will have a memorable Halloween

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