Halloween is not really thought of as a family holiday. Even so, like any holiday, it is important to set aside time for the family and do something together.
Here are some ideas for families who enjoy being spooked, and some less scary options for those who do not.
Spooky Halloween Traditions
Halloween for many, is about being scared or scaring each other. Here are a few spooky Halloween traditions that can be enjoyed annually with family or friends.
- Go on a ghost tour. Many towns and cities hold evening ghost tours during this time of year. Find a local paper, website, or listen to the news, and find a tour the whole family can enjoy (be sure it is age appropriate, and if children are small, be sure they can attend the tour).
- Go to a spooky production. Many community theaters hold yearly Halloween showings. Families who enjoy theater should check their local theater to see what productions are being held during this time of year.
- Tour a haunted house. Find a made up haunted house to tour as a family, or find a well-known historic haunted house and try to catch a ghost while touring the home and grounds.
- Scary movie night. Instead of trick-or-treating (especially if the children are teenagers), find some scary movies, pop some corn, grab some candy, and prepare to be scared. Be sure the movies are age appropriate, and let the children have a say as to what they want to watch. Even so, parents are in charge, and the parent needs to be sure the movie is suitable for the kids.
- Throw an annual Halloween party. Make Halloween a family and friend’s event by throwing a party. The family can decorate the house, buy or make food together, and then enjoy having fun at the party.
- Tell ghosts stories around a camp fire. If unable to make a campfire safely, pull out a charcoal grill, light it, and grab some marshmallows for s’mores (graham crackers, chocolate bar, and marshmallow). In fact, make it a dinner/desert event, and have friend’s over if desired. Read ghost tales from a book, share true stories, or made up stories, and enjoy relaxing and being spooked around the fire (always practice fire safety, be sure the fire is put out as soon as the event is over, and if there is no fire pit and no way to make a fire safely, do not make it). If a fire cannot be made, grab some goodie’s to eat, and use flash lights instead of a fire.
- Write down bad memories on a piece of paper and toss them in a fire. If the house has a fireplace (in good working condition), light a fire in the fireplace, and have each family member sit down with a piece of paper and pencil. Have everyone write all the bad memories, emotions, and anything else on the piece of paper. If desired, keep them a secret. Fold or crumble the paper and throw all the bad memories and thoughts into the fire. Discuss “letting go of all the bad feelings that ‘haunt’ us (Meg Cox, The New Book of New Family Traditions.)”
Halloween Traditions for Younger Children
Here are some non-spooky idea’s for Halloween, especially for families with young children.
- Bake pumpkin bread, cake, or make caramel apples. Little ones will have fun learning how to measure and throw ingredients together. Find a favorite recipe, help the children measure everything and read the directions, and bake together (Parents should supervise children, and not let them touch the stove or any objects that may hurt them).
- Read age-appropriate Halloween stories. Make time to read stories about this time of year. Look for an entertaining children’s book for Halloween.
- Watch Halloween cartoons together (once again, age appropriate). Go out for early trick-or-treats, and come home and enjoy a Halloween cartoon.
- Trick-or-treat together. Dress up with the children and go get candy together. See if some other families want to join in on the fun, and go as a large group.
- Decorate pumpkins together. Give young children some paint or markers, and let them draw faces, shapes, or anything on a pumpkin. Use the pumpkin outside or inside. If the children are older (eight and up), find a pumpkin carving kit and let them use the tools to carve. Remember to always supervise children.
- Have a trick-or-treat party. Invite neighbor’s, friend’s, and family to the house before trick-or-treating. Find some kid friendly Halloween treats to make at Kraftfoods.com or Foodnetwork.com, and have a get together before the big event. After everyone comes back from trick-or-treating, watch a movie or cartoon to end the night.
All of these ideas are simple, and can become a great Halloween tradition.