Halloween is a great holiday, but it isn’t one shrouded in family tradition. Most families have traditions that are a staple of their Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year celebrations, but aside from costumes and trick-or-treating Halloween is left without any deep rooted family traditions of it’s own. You can build family roots with Halloween, too! Here are 10 ways to make Halloween less about getting candy and more about making long-lasting family memories.
Throw a Scary Movie Party
Invite the entire family over to enjoy an evening of scary movies – of the family friendly variety, of course. Watch the classic favorite It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or try other family friendly movies with a slightly spooky side such as Monster House, Edward Scissor Hands, or The Nightmare Before Christmas. In place of popcorn pass out little bags of candy corn to munch on instead.
Host a Neighborhood Halloween Block Party
Help get your neighbors into the Halloween spirit by hosting a block party. You can play games, hand out prizes for best costume, and even have a contest for best decorated house in the neighborhood. It’s a bash that everyone will look forward to all year long.
Visit a Corn Maze
Almost every area has at least one corn maze open for the Halloween season, and they are great family fun. There is just something about getting lost together in never-ending rows of corn that really brings a family closer together.
The Thankful Pumpkin
I stumbled across this idea on One Artsy Mama (the picture, too) and it really struck a chord with me. We don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to acknowledge all that we are grateful for. Seeing a medium sized pumpkin entirely covered with the words of everything your family has to be grateful for can really put things in perspective and make us realize just how truly blessed we really are. And some of the things your kids come up with may surprise you (after all, we should all be grateful for chicken patties!).
Take a Family Vacation
Many families wait until Thanksgiving, Christmas, or summer break to go on vacation, but most schools have a fall break in October and this can be an ideal time to go on vacation. The weather is perfect, places aren’t too crowded, and many theme parks and area attractions host fun Halloween themed events during this time of year. Disney World’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party is one that you do not want to miss.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
Picking out a pumpkin to carve at your local grocery store is OK, but taking the kids to a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin is an exciting event fun for the whole family. In addition to the rows and rows of pumpkins to choose from, most patches also feature fun family activities such as hay rides, a corn cannon, and face painting. And when you get home the fun continues while you carve the 20 pound pumpkin your kids made you lug home. Good times.
The Green Pumpkin
According to legend, if you leave your candy out on Halloween night the spirit of the Green Pumpkin will visit and exchange some gifts for the candy. This is way to help alleviate the worry over you kids eating all that candy in a way that has them happily handing over their stash. The Green Pumpkin brings gifts such as Halloween books and small toys the kids can enjoy all year long.
Dinner in a Pumpkin
The credit for this one goes to Toni Spilsbury, dinner inside of a pumpkin! This is such a cool tradition, and it’s one that your family is sure to love. The basic premise is that you clean out a pumpkin and cook a casserole inside of it. Toni has several tasty recipes to choose from on her site. This is one tradition that is sure to get your family into the Halloween spirit!
“Boo” Your Neighbor
This is becoming an increasingly popular tradition throughout neighborhoods in the U.S. Basically you bake some homemade goodies, place them in a bag, put the bag on one of your neighbor’s stoops with a story or poem telling them to do the same for another neighbor, and then you ring the doorbell and run like the dickens. It’s a win-win – you get to do something nice for your neighbor and also get to enjoy the exhilaration and excitement that comes with a good old fashioned ring and dash.
Coming up with a costume idea is always great fun, but coming up with a theme for the whole family? Totally awesome. Get the whole family involved in the planning of the costumes. If everyone can’t agree on the theme, then have everyone put their idea in a hat or jar and have a non-family member draw to see which theme it will be. Some fun family themed costume ideas are the Addams Family, Power Rangers, the Simpsons, X-Men, the Brady Bunch, the Avengers, and the gang from Scooby Doo.