Halloween is the perfect time to break out from the 'normal' and connect with your loved ones in new and exciting ways.
The air is humming with changing seasons, breathtaking color, and no small amount of eldritch magic...
So why limit your Halloween repertoire to a tired lineup of horror movie reruns? (Does anyone really have the stamina to watch all of the 'Friday the 13th' movies, again?)
This October, try working your way through our Halloween Family Activity Checklist instead!
It's filled with screen-free family fun that's guaranteed to conjure laughs and fond memories that will last well beyond the post-Halloween sugar-high. Try out our best ideas on this list, or alternatively, do it all!
What's Halloween without a costume?
Honestly, it's probably a little more comfortable... but waaay more boring!
Don't leave it to the last minute. This year, try and make costume creation a month-long family event - from brainstorming around the dinner table, to exchanging quips as you tailor your epic costume cross-legged on the living room floor. If your mad scientist of a younger brother is running out of costume ideas, you should consult the wisdom of Google or Pinterest. There is a real treasure-trove of epic costume ideas there that you can use to shock your friends and family without massacring your budget.
Yes, escape room games are super fun.
But designing them is an adventure in itself!
You can bring your whole family together around this shared creative challenge. Or turn it into a competition to see who can design the best game! (of course, bonus points for 'spoopiest game')
Best yet, you don't have to start from scratch. We've made a family activity pack that guides you through each step of the process. Our Escape Room Master Class gives you all of the printable templates, puzzles, and props you need to get started now!
If you need ideas on how to be the very best party ghost on the block, check out our Halloween hacks here.
But why is this in the pre-Halloween checklist? Well, preparing for a Halloween party can be an epic quest in itself, taking days or even weeks to pull off properly. So why not involve the whole family? (After all, if they want to enjoy the party, they should help make it happen!)
Plus, with so many people and events vying for attention on Halloween day, it may be wise to host your party a weekend or two before Halloween.
Just remember, if you invite vampires into your house, it renders you powerless against them. Have your wooden stake ready.
Increasingly popular, corn mazes are a uniquely eerie Halloween activity. For maximum effect, go at night, when you can almost feel the creatures waiting around each corner to snatch you away!
...unless your little goblins are easily spooked... in which case, maybe go during the day... and hold their hand.
Google and Tripadvisor are great resources to find the most magical corn mazes near you.
Test your nerves as you navigate a frightening house full of zombies, werewolves, and IRS agents. Just about every town or city boasts a haunted house.
Tired of the same themes that keep popping up at your local haunts? Turn it into a road trip! See what terrors the next town over offers.
Look into your crystal ball for the first cold night of the season, and invite friends and family for a campout.
Erect a tent, build a roaring fire, and unleash your best 'ghost attacks campers' stories! Roast marshmallows as you see who has the creepiest story of all. Then, try to sleep (with one eye open?) as you whip around at every crinkling leaf, falling twig, and hooting owl....
... or, move the camp to your living room, as you all curl up in your blankets next to a cozy fireplace.
With the crisp air and autumn leaves, the atmosphere is just right for an epic scavenger hunt!
Create haunted treasure maps for your family and friends to follow, complete with riddling clues hidden each step of the way and a chest of chocolate goodies at the end. You can even make it a race. Winner eats the treasure!
This is an all-time favorite among kids, and secretly, adults love a good treasure-hunt too!
You can get a jump-start on your treasure maps using our printable treasure map templates. Need a bit more of a walkthrough? No worries! Our friends over on Datenight Wingman have written a step-by-step tutorial.
Fall means it's harvest time. And this is the perfect time to visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch.
Picking apples or choosing your favorite pumpkins makes for a deliciously fun (and dare I say it, educational?) day trip that the kids will love year after year.
Plus, you'll most likely have enough apple and pumpkin left over to fuel Thanksgiving dessert - epic win!
Of course, if you have kids trick-or-treating is basically a given.
This year, why not mix it up and have a competition? Keep track of whose costume gets the most attention. Give different types of candy different point values and count it up to see who has the most valuable loot stash.
The winner gets pride, glory, and bragging rights all year. If that's not high-stakes enough, then maybe the winner also takes a handful of candy from each of the losers...
Up the thrill of your trick-or-treat route by planting items around the house, neighborhood, or town. You decide. (This is a great opportunity to use the
treasure maps you've prepared earlier!)
Alternatively, give your avid adventurers a list of items they need to 'acquire' before they return home. Maybe you need a go-cup from your favorite restaurant, a shopping bag from the local grocery store, and breath mints from a gas station (receipt required!).
If it's a bit too dark and scary outside, you could also just plant things around the house, give the participants a list and a time limit, and see who comes up with the most items. Any candy they find they get to keep!
Make quick, one-minute horror movies using only a smartphone. Give everyone a chance to star! You can edit the movies with free video editing apps.
Show the films to everyone on Halloween night! Whether it's a quiet family night or a bustling party activity, this is a sure-fire way to get everyone laughing together.
(This is the only device-approved Halloween activity! For everything else, take a break from the tech and reconnect with the family face-to-face!)
Getting bored of just walking through a haunted house? Try escape rooms! An escape room requires you to use your wits to dodge zombies, slip away from mummies and solve gruesome murders before your time runs out.
Some escape rooms even feature live actors waiting in ambush to make your blood run cold.
And guess what? Now you can bring the escape room experience to your own Halloween party using a printable escape room kit.
Each kit is designed to be set up quickly and super easily, but is also fully customisable. So you can host the escape room adventure of your dreams, right in your living room!
Some houses and neighborhoods go all out for Halloween. You may know where they are, and you can find new, festive neighborhoods by searching online. Get in a car with family and friends and marvel at the creativity of some of the people near you. Just remember, no matter how real it looks, that’s not really a witch chasing your car!
You decorated. You threw a party. Now you need to clean up. I know... this is not the fun part (especially if somebody decided to egg your house again!).
Make sure to involve the whole family in the work. They all benefited from the fun. Kids need to learn that responsibility comes with fun. Placing them on the cleanup crew helps deliver this lesson. (Plus, it'll make less work for you!)
This one is more awe-inspiring than spooky.
You really should head to a park or take a drive in the country around this time of year. See the colors of fall on the trees. Nature’s decorations are second to none!
So stop, take a breath of the cool autumn air, and just enjoy the world around you.
Have a secret vote for the family’s best costume! Gather in the kitchen to witness the counting of the votes. The winner receives an extra piece of candy and decides the theme for next year’s decorations.
Alternatively, have everyone take pictures of their favorite costumes while they're out-and-about, and see who 'found' the best costume over Halloween.
I know some of you would kill me for saying this... which is why I'm saying it anonymously over the internet...
...but it's never too early to put up a Christmas tree!
Keep the magic flowing by replacing Halloween's eerily spooky vibe with some jolly Christmas cheer.
Begin planning your Christmas theme with the family. How big of a Christmas do you want? Are you having a party? Are you going on vacation?
Sit down with the family and discuss everyone's plans for the end of the year over a good cup of hot chocolate, while Christmas carols quietly roll on in the background.
Stores always have leftover Halloween candy.
If you can stomach the thought of even more sugar, now is a good time to snatch up some deals. Yes, the seasonally-shaped candy may seem odd when you rip open the bag later in the year, but in the end, sugar is sugar!
This can also be a good time for kids to practice money-skills. Release them into the store with a strict $10 budget, and let them figure out for themselves what the best deal is. (Just beware, it may take them a while!)
Halloween brings out the creative side of the family more than any other holiday.
Is it all the magic in the air? Is it the one month where 'normal' seems to disappear? Or maybe it's just all the sugar in everyone's systems?
Regardless, this is the perfect opportunity to shut off the devices and really connect as a family. (and it doesn't have to cost you a fortune! Read our cash-saving tips)
Immerse yourselves in all of the fun, frights, and candy the season brings! I guarantee that you will create much better memories than you would by watching 'Friday the Thirteenth, part 58'.... again!