9 Halloween Traditions That Are Fun For The Whole Family

 Smiling jack-o-lantern

Happy Halloween weekend! For lovers of all things spooky, scary, and skeleton-y, this is the best time of the year. The great thing about Halloween is that it reminds you what it’s like to be a kid — eating candy, dressing up, and having some good ol’ plain fun just for the heck of it. And if you’ve got kids yourself, the holiday becomes ten times more enjoyable if you’ve got some great traditions up your sleeve.

To maximize on the fun this weekend, here’s a list of fail-proof ways to have a hauntingly good time with the whole family!

Watch some not-too-scary movies

Bowl of popped popcorn

Nothing is more quintessentially Halloweeny than delighting in a (not-too-scary) movie with the whole fam! Of course, you’ll want to be age-appropriate with your selection, otherwise the idea may backfire when your kids climb into your bed at 2 a.m. (and stay there for several weeks). So, here are some family-friendly frights that’ll give you just the right amount of scare — without them nightmares:

  • Hocus Pocus 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas 
  • Monster House
  • Goosebumps
  • Hotel Transylvania  
  • Ghostbusters
  • Casper
  • Corpse Bride
  • Any of the classic Universal Monster movies (Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, etc.)

Host a hauntingly fun party

Halloween themed cupcakes on a platter

A party is a great way to bring the fun to you — and it’s a bonus if you’ve got kids with early bedtimes because you can let the fun continue long after they’ve gone to bed! Elements of a great Halloween party include a great music playlist (you can create your own or use a pre-made playlist on your favorite streaming platform), spooky-themed snacks or favorite fall treats, decorations, games and, of course, costumes! Up the ante by holding a contest for the best costume. 

Since the food is arguably the best part, here are a few ideas for hauntingly cute and delicious eats:

Start a neighborhood tradition

People standing near house with Halloween decorations

If you prefer not to host a full-blown party in your home but you still want to enjoy hanging out with people, why not start a new tradition with your neighbors? In lieu of trick-or-treating, some neighbors host a cookout with hot dogs, chili, donuts, or any other number of goodies. This is especially fun if someone on the block has a fire pit!

Play these Halloween games

Halloween candy dumped out of wrappers

Can we all agree that bobbing for apples is kind of a gross concept (especially while we’re all trying to limit our exposure to germs)? Instead, try these games at home with your family and friends:

Heads Up Halloween

Here’s a super-duper easy one you can throw together with a few post-it notes. Write down one Halloween-themed word on each post-it (you know: spider, witch, vampire, Freddy Krueger, etc.). Mix up the post-its, throw them in a hat, and have everyone choose one (without looking) and stick it to their forehead. Each person asks questions to figure out what their word is.

Ghost in the Graveyard

A classic night game you probably grew up with, Ghost in the Graveyard is a good one to resurrect on Halloween! It’s like hide-and-go-seek — but backwards. You start with a safe spot (the “base”) and then only one person (the “ghost”) hides and the rest of the group tries to find them. Once someone spots the “ghost,” they yell, “Ghost in the graveyard!” and everyone has to run back to the base before the “ghost” tags them. Whoever gets tagged is the next ghost!

Glow Stick frisbee

There’s no end to the fun you can have when you’ve got a handful of glow sticks on hand! Glow stick frisbee is just one idea. Create a circle out of glow sticks and tape them to a frisbee. Have everyone wear glow sticks around their neck and play a game of glow stick ultimate frisbee outside. (Careful not to hit anyone in the face!

Truth or Scare 

Put a Halloween spin on your favorite sleepover game by turning “Truth or Dare” into “Truth or Scare.” (E.g. “What movie made you scream out loud?” or “Play dead until your next turn.”) The best part is that this website has already done the work for you, so you don’t have to come up with the questions!

Don’t Eat Pete!

Not sure what to do with all that extra Halloween candy? Here’s a fun idea. “Don’t eat Pete!” is an easy game to do with your family or a group of friends. Check out this free printable from Home & Kind and try it out at home with your extra Halloween candy!

Try reverse trick-or-treating

 Pumpkins and trick-or-treat sign

Who says you can’t do a little good on the scariest night of the year? If you’re a little candied-out, you can try going reverse trick-or-treating with the family, which is an idea that’s become increasingly popular in recent years. How it works is simple: Instead of going around and asking for candy, you take treats to other people. Maybe it’s some homemade cupcakes or your favorite store bought goods — it doesn’t matter! You can still dress up in costumes, too. Just try to hit the houses that could use a little extra love on the spooky holiday. (Elderly couples and widows will probably appreciate it!)

Take a drive to see the decorations

Two skeletons near white house with Halloween lights

Christmas isn’t the only time of the year when you can get out and see the lights. Plenty of people get really into Halloween — and they might be in your own neighborhood! Hop in the car with the kids, crank up some Halloween tunes, and drive around to find the best sights. You can even turn it into a game by asking who can find the most pumpkins, witches, skeletons, etc.

Check out these pumpkin carving hacks

Orange pumpkin on table beside bowl of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin carving is a classic Halloween tradition, but if you find the process a little messy and tedious, you are not alone! Luckily, Real Simple magazine has some genius hacks to make it a little easier. (Using dry erase markers to draw the face? GENIUS!)

Listen to a scary story 

Castle with mist

Remember the good old days of radio when people sat on a rug on the floor and turned the dial to whatever special they wanted to catch on the airwaves? (Yeah, we don’t either.) Well, this could be a fun way to throw it back to those olden days: listen to a scary story while you’re out for a drive or before you put the kids to bed. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about finding the right station on the radio because these days we’ve got YouTube! Search “scary stories for kids” and you’ll have a plethora of terrifying tales to choose from! (But not TOO terrifying.) 

Dress up together 

Halloweens come and go, but the pictures you take will last forever and remind you of the memories you made. One of the best ways to remember each Halloween is to coordinate your costumes. If you’re lucky enough to get the kids on board with this, take advantage of it while you can! 

Need a few ideas? Check out the Shamy family’s Halloween costumes on Instagram! (Can you guess what they’ll be this year?)

What are your family’s Halloween traditions? Let us know in the comments!



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