October is such a fun time of year for us! Over the years we have done lots of fun activities as a family. We have done a wide variety of activities over the years. My family doesn’t like super scary or gory places or movies so we stick to the more family-friendly activities. No matter what we do we are sure to enjoy our time together.
As you look through all these ideas, don’t let this stress you out. This is years worth of activities. The best thing is for you is to consider the ages of your kids, what you like to do as a family, and then pick some fun things to do together. We usually try to pick something new each year to do/try. Like this year we tried a Haunted Halloween cruise. The captain was a pirate that told silly jokes and stories as we floated along. Our kids actually really enjoyed it.
Halloween Movies. There are a few movies we have watched over the years. Here are a few I can remember…Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Watcher in the Woods, Phantom of the Opera, and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. I’d love some more ideas of family-friendly movies. What are some of your favorites?
Decorate Pumpkins. We grow pumpkins in our garden every year so we usually have a lot to decorate. One year we carved pumpkins early and they lasted about a week before they started to rot. So the next year we decided to try craft paint (which washes off little hands but not clothes-so wear an apron!). My kids had so much fun painting them, and they lasted so much longer outside. This year we are painting and carving pumpkins since my kids can’t remember ever carving them.
Trick or Treat. We have tried lots of ways to “Trick or Treat” for candy: Trick or treat (in the neighborhood), Trunk or Treat (out of cars in a parking lot), work trick or treat (cubicle by cubicle), and at stores or malls. There are lots of ways to get free candy on Halloween. Now that she’s older, my daughter likes to hand out candy to the kids. One year she and I sat on the porch and played games while we handed out candy. it was a warmer year but it was a lot of fun.
When they were little one of us would take the kids around to just a few neighbors while the other parent handed out candy. A few rules we have for Trick or Treating: We don’t go to homes that we don’t know, we never let the kids go without one of us, we don’t eat any opened or unsealed candy, We don’t go out past 8:00 PM, and we don’t wear masks. My kids love to come back and sort their candy and also trade candy they don’t like.
School Halloween Celebrations. I loved to help out at elementary school parties, usually bringing games like BINGO and the pumpkin toss (Bean bags into plastic pumpkins). My kids’ school does a Halloween parade and a Halloween carnival. They’ll take any opportunity to wear their costumes!
Outdoor Adventures. There are so many fun Fall activities to try out! We’ve been to carnivals, Corn Mazes, inflatables, giant slides, wagon rides, and Pumpkin patches. This year we are going on a little Halloween cruise. These activities can be a lot of fun. Try something new with your family.
We have been to a few haunted houses, haunted woods, and haunted amusement park rides. Those are fun but my kids don’t love the scary ones so we haven’t done many lately. It’s hard to find family friendly activities designed for older kids. If you know of any let me know! We have some fun houses in our neighborhood that we like to drive by and see.
Halloween decorations. It is fun to get out all of the Black and Orange decorations for Halloween. I must be feeling a little bit like scrooge this year because I didn’t get out any Halloween decorations until my daughter asked about our spiders (I bought spiders at the dollar store and glued magnets on the back and stick them on our door and walls). I don’t love all of the gory decorations so I stick to the cute or happy decorations. I painted this pumpkin when my kids were little and now I get it out every year to take a picture by it.
Halloween Parties. We love going to parties! We’ve been to neighborhood parties, couples’ parties, family parties with all the grandkids, and murder mystery parties. We have played a lot of fun Halloween games…like throwing cheese balls into shaving cream, finding the body parts (gummy) in Jello, guess what mystery gross item is in the bag, eating super gross things like sardines or dried crickets, Halloween coloring or sticker pages, and Halloween nails.
Halloween Food. Besides the candy, we have some food that has become tradition for me at Halloween. We have a Meatloaf pumpkin (meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes, then cheese, and olives) or a Papa Murphy’s Pumpkin shaped pizza, glazed doughnuts, and hot apple cider. Yummy! We usually eat dinner before going Trick-or-Treating so they eat less candy.
Costumes. One of my favorite parts of Halloween is getting dressed up! I like to make or buy our costumes on the cheaper end. I look first at the thrift store. I found many of our costumes there as well as many dress up outfits for the kids. The best thing to do is to decide early what the kids want to be. If they are not sure, you are usually safe getting a favorite TV character or video game hero. My son was Spiderman for 3 years straight. I’ve also had great luck at discount stores or on amazon as well. My daughter bought her flapper costume off Amazon this year and we can layer it to make it modest. Bonus!
It is a lot of fun to make costumes. I have sewn, glued, and chopped to make costumes…mummies, a clown, an indian, an x-wing fighter pilot, the Man in Black and the Princess Bride. Don’t forget the Halloween socks, shirts and jewelry to wear all month!
There really are so many options for you and your family to celebrate this time of year! Pick something new to try this year together! Start some new traditions! I have found that the hardest part is just getting there. Once we are at a new place we end up having a lot of fun! Have fun this month! There is something magical about the Fall season!
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