Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. What's not to love about candy, costumes, parties, and spooky chills? We have a few family traditions we do every Halloween to help celebrate the season and create some fun anticipation. However, I've heard of a few more traditions from friends that I would love to adopt. You certainly don’t have to do all of these, but pick one and plan some additional fun for your family this Halloween season.
1. Get in the Mood - Watch the Classics. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Need I say more?Watch it on ABC TV or rent it. If your kids are a little older, try another classic, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” I love Jack Skellington and we like to light the fireplace and curl up on the couch together to watch this spooky tale. (The kids and I made Jack Skellington Cupcakes. It wasn’t hard, see how.)
2. Show Your Spirit. One of my favorite parts about trick or treating is seeing how everyone spooks out their house. I love the creativity. Whether you prefer fall elegant to grotesque to friendly ghosts and monsters, let's see your Halloween spirit and get the whole family involved in decorating this year. Here are some fun Halloween craft ideas that the family can work on together for decorations.
3. Read Bedtime Stories. We love to read Halloween stories in anticipation of the big day. DesignMom.com and her family have a tradition of reading Halloween stories by candle light. I love it! We're going to read by the flickering flames tonight. Check out my list of 10 Best Halloween Books for Kids to start reading. Older kids might like reading chapters of Goosebumps or Bunnicula books.
4. Boo Your Neighbors. This fun Halloween tradition is growing in popularity so be the first to start it in your neighborhood as a way to connect. To start, make up a Halloween goodie bag for a friend or neighbor. Ring their doorbell then leave the goodie bag at their house with a poem and sign telling them they have been "Boo'd." Kids love to ring and run! The neighbor is supposed to reciprocate and "Boo" someone else on your block. Read this post for additional Halloween Boo instructions, ideas for the goodie bags, and links to download free printable Boo poems and “We’ve Been Boo’d” signs.
5. Family Halloween Costumes. I always envied families that created a theme for their Halloween costumes each year. We’ve only been able to do it once. My kids have very strong ideas about what they want to be each year for trick or treat. However, one year my husband was a Mad Scientist, I was Igor, my son was Frankenstein, and my daughter was a spooky, black lab cat. It was a blast to have us all trick or treat together in matching costumes. If you can convince everyone in your family to go with a theme, it’s a lot of fun and makes for great family photos. Check out these 15 Family Themed Halloween Costume Ideas for inspiration.
6. Bake Halloween treats. There is nothing like Halloween to inspire some creativity in the kitchen. Check out these Halloween cupcakes and Spooky Scary Cheesecake recipes that are easy for kids. They'll be a hit at any Halloween party.
7. Pumpkin Carving Party - Invite friends and family over to carve pumpkins. Pick a theme, provide the cutting tools and decorating material, and of course, Halloween-themed snacks. Here are some party ideas to get planning.
8. Throw a Halloween Costume Party - Hosting a Halloween party at your house doesn't have to be hard. Here's all the information you need on easy ideas for Halloween Party food, decorations, and games, including a video clip of easy Halloween party ideas that I shared with ABC TV Chicago.
9. Pumpkin Fairy - Don't want your kids to consume all of their Halloween candy in one night? Schedule a visit from the Pumpkin Fairy who trades fun toys and trinkets for your kids' candy stash. Here's what you need to know about the Pumpkin Fairy Tradition.
10. Day of the Dead Dinner. Technically it's the day after Halloween but every year we celebrate Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead in our house honoring and remembering our loved ones who have passed on. We set up an area in the house where we display photos of the people and pets we want to remember. To celebrate at dinner, we usually make one of our loved one's favorite meals and we share our favorite memories of Grandpa or our pets who have died. It's a nice way to keep memories alive and remember what we liked best about those we miss. Read how to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with your kids.
What Halloween traditions do you enjoy with your family? Have you ever had a family costume theme? Which one?
Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach, kids party planner, and weekly contributor to Patch.com. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, as well as her own family fun site ChocolateCakeMoments.com.