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Countdown to Halloween

28 “spooktacular” ways to get into the spirit of the holiday and the scariest night of the year

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Let kids have a blast with these Halloween activities—starting now, and continuing through the 31st!
Let kids have a blast with these Halloween activities—starting now, and continuing through the 31st!

There’s more to Halloween than just trick-or-treating! Surprise your little ones with activities that celebrate ghosts and goblins now, instead of saving all the fun for later.

1. Play doggie dress-up.

Outfit Daisy in last year’s costumes, or raid your dress-up bin for the silliest hats, scarves, glasses, wigs, baby tees, socks,  and ties. Call your pup a fashionista and post pics of her online.

2. Scream Halloween in the kitchen.

Cut out pictures of ghastly ghosts and wicked witches, and tape them on your windows or the fridge. Paste or draw crazy jack-o’-lantern faces on paper cups and plates.

3. Walk creepy for me.

Take a stroll outside and look for spider webs. Find a really big one, one with a cool design, another with a spider in it. Just don’t touch the spider! Hand out prizes (little lanterns for trick-or-treating). Everyone wins!

4. Make paper plates look cute or scary.

Use clean white paper plates as a base for a simple jack-o’-lantern activity. Color the plates orange. Cut out construction-paper shapes and give your recyclable paper-plate pumpkin a terrifying or funny face.

5. Go Hallo-bowling.

Stack up paper-towel tubes in a pyramid shape, or arrange empty plastic bottles in a triangular formation. Knock ’em down with mini pumpkins or an orange ball. Decorate your “pins” with construction-paper shapes to turn them into ghostly dudes.

6. Watch a spooky movie.

But instead of a too-long feature, cue up a Halloween-themed episode of Doc McStuffins, Paw Patrol, or whatever show your kiddo loves. Create an indoor event by dimming the lights and serving popcorn and cider.

7. Practice…till perfect.

Polish trick-or-treating skills by letting little ones’ dolls or stuffed-animal friends parade around the playroom collecting pretend candy.

8. Call it a (mummy) wrap.

Grab tons of crepe-paper streamers (bathroom tissue works, too!) and loosely bind each other from head to toe. Then try moving around without damaging the wrap.

9. Tour the neighborhood.

Take a walk, or a drive, and check out your neighbors’ decorations. Whose is biggest? Best? Spookiest? Explore somewhere else tomorrow.

10. Read…or listen.

No Halloween books on your bookshelf? Not a problem. Make up your own ghostly stories—giggly, not ghoulish! Keep flashlights handy.

11. “Grow” the biggest pumpkin.

All you need is a sidewalk, or a driveway, and orange and green sidewalk chalk. Start!

12. Paint an unconventional decoration.

Grab a pumpkin by the stem, dunk the base in paint, and dab it on a piece of paper. Roll it around. Create a pattern. Use fall colors. Voilà! You’re done.

13. Make “gourd-geous” faces.

Turn a trip to the supermarket into a gourd-grabbing adventure. What shapes and colors can you find? Are any two alike? Add googly eyes, button noses, and red-felt lips at home.

14. Take the easy way out.

Bake a pumpkin pie that never goes in the oven. Kids can help!

15. Go batty.
See Also: Happy Halloween!

Bats make squeaky sounds that bounce off surfaces to help them navigate where they’re going. It’s called echolocation. Try it yourself. Close your eyes and pretend you’re a baby bat. Find your way to your cave.

16. Decorate with dough.

Break out the orange play dough (or make your own). Form pumpkins, then carve faces with craft sticks.

17. Host a mix-and-match shindig.

Get out this year’s costume and a bunch of new accessories (from the playroom or your closet). Try on several combos, pick one, and go to dinner all dressed up.

18. Give your meals an overhaul.

Serve orange or clementine sections for breakfast, cheese or orange bell peppers for lunch, or mac and cheese or sweet potatoes for dinner.

19. Do a makeup makeover.

Paint each other’s faces, or put your own best face forward and let your kids do you. Post the best—and the worst—on social media. LOL.

20. Say “Boo” in your birthday suit.

Let your kids make crazy shampoo hairdos in the bathtub and pretend they’re part of a new look.

21. Haunt a (tiny) house.

Build your own haunted residence with blocks or a giant cardboard box. Use fake money and charge admission.

22. Snack on Casper.

Peel a banana, cut in half lengthwise, and place the flat side down on a plate. Poke three chocolate chips into each half banana (two eyes and a round, open mouth). Then make the ghost disappear!

23. Be a scream queen (or king).

Cut two large eyeholes out of a brown paper bag. Put it on and utter creepy noises. Scare your neighbors.

24. Change your wake-up call or call for dinner.

Pump up the volume for tunes like “Monster Mash” and other Halloween faves.

25. Watch the sky at sunset.

Look for ghosts and goblins in the clouds.

26. Have a delicious “devilish” breakfast.

Make pumpkin pancakes or waffles. Let kids create scary or funny faces with bits of cereal, nuts, or fruit.

27. Trunk or treat?

Halloween may be different this year, as some towns are changing up customary events, so be sure to check out your hometown news for fun happenings for little ones. Then pack up the kids and have some fun!

28. Decorate your pumpkins without carving.

Try paint, paper cutouts, Washi tape, ribbons, buttons, bows, fabric, stickers, string, yarn, and glitter.