Fun Halloween traditions

Kids dressed in bee, pumpkin and lady bug costumes, playing with their moms.

 

Watch out; it’s coming — the time of year when people love to get their scary on and go all out with clever costumes, parties, and fun ideas for gathering the ghouls and goblins together.

For a lot of people, Halloween is their favorite holiday, so we wanted to help by offering up some fun Halloween traditions you might want to try with your neighborhood, your friends, and the kiddos. Who knows, you just might find that you’ve discovered a new twist to add to your spooky celebrations that will only get bigger and better from one year to the next.

Show the other blocks how it’s done

If you’re anything like Claire Dunphy, the Halloween aficionado from Modern Family, this is your wheelhouse. ‘Go big or go home’ is your mantra and the thrill of being the best decorated house on the block runs through your veins. So why not share your passion every year? Pass out a flyer inviting your neighbors to participate in a house-decorating contest and elect a date for the judges' committee to view all of the houses and decide the winner. Consider purchasing a small trophy that can be passed down each year to the next winner. (Claire would be proud!)

Carve out fun for everyone

Kids on a pumpkin carving contest

 

If you’re looking for a fun idea on a smaller scale, a pumpkin-carving contest might be right up your alley. Most people will be purchasing pumpkins anyway, so it’s a great idea that doesn’t involve too much planning. After circulating flyers and selecting the judging committee and judging date, be a little sneaky in the announcement of the winner and do something like placing a ribbon on the pumpkin, or on their front door, in the early morning for everyone to see as they leave for work or school. In the end, everyone wins because your block will be decked out with the coolest pumpkins anywhere, and when the sun sets and those babies are lit…jack-o’-lantern nirvana, baby.

‘Once upon a midnight dreary,’…share stories that chill the bones

Seriously, who doesn’t like a scary story? Whether you’re fun-size or full-size, most of us love to be scared, and this time of year is bubbling with great stories that will mesmerize kids of every age. Maybe you start a book and read a little each night leading up to trick-or-treat night, or read a short story just before everyone heads out in their costumes to get them all in the spooky mood. These books would also make great additions to any Halloween care package you may be sending to kids or teens you’re not going to see this year. This is definitely a winner when it comes to Halloween traditions for kids, so check out some of the books titles we’ve gathered below and pick your poison.

Ages 1-3I Love You, Little Pumpkin by Sandra Magsamen

Ages 4-6Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Ages 7-9Horrible Harry at Halloween by Suzy Kline

Ages 10-13:  Short & Shivery (Thirty Chilling Tales) by Robert D. San Souci

Ages 14-16The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Ages 16+ Rest In Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy

Boo to you!

Kid in a skeleton costume holding a pumpkin bowl of goodies.

 

Have you heard of ‘booing’ your neighbors? It’s basically Halloween’s twist on the Secret Santa. One person kicks things off by leaving a small bag of goodies at an unsuspecting neighbor’s house and including a note asking them to pay it forward to someone else. Included in your boo swag is a sign for the recipient to hang on their door or in their window to show that they have already been booed. What’s awesome about this is the fact that kids often get more enjoyment out of doing the booing than being booed themselves, and when it comes to teaching about thoughtfulness, we think that’s one of the best ‘scare tactics’ ever. [wink]

Rock a block party

Block parties aren’t just for summer. Contact a few friendly neighbors and plan an old-fashioned apple-themed fall party. Remember — it’s not a formal holiday affair, it’s Halloween, which means an easy, low stress, casual vibe. Serve up some spiced cider, set up a caramel apple dipping station, and have everyone bob for apples. (Because c’mon, when do you ever get the chance to ‘bob’ for anything? Carpe diem!) You might even want to hold this gathering after trick-or-treating so the kiddos can do a candy swap and trade goodies while the rents reminisce and trade stories.

 

We hope these ideas inspire you to grab the opportunity to embrace your inner child and have a little fun.  Starting your own traditions, with the family or with the neighborhood, will create awesome memories for years to come.

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