Get all your ghosts and ghouls in a row with these easy (but a little eerie) projects. They’ll help you celebrate all the fun and frights of Halloween, whether or not you’re trick-or-treating.
The weeks before Halloween:
- Watch a flick. Have a Halloween movie night, but skip the blood and gore in favor of kid-friendly features like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Casper, or Hotel Transylvania. Pop some corn, mull some cider, and dim the lights to set the mood.
- Deck the haunted halls. Visit a local haunted house on kids’ day. Or make your very own haunted village at home!
- Sink your teeth into the celebration. See if you can actually eat a meal while wearing plastic vampire teeth.
- Dazzle your dress-up. Are you ready with a cool costume for the Halloween season? If not, time to start brainstorming. Be inspired by your child’s favorite characters, or get a group together and go with a theme. Try superheroes, zoo animals, fairy-tale heroes, villains, a train, a subway car, or fruits and veggies.
- Definitely “glow for it.” Make this simple glow-in-the-dark ghost bowling set and have a lights-out tourney. Strike!
- Hide a sneaky surprise. “Boo” your neighbors. Fill a small bag or plastic pumpkin with Halloween treats, and then stash it at the front door. Ring the doorbell and run away before they catch you.
- Decorate your trunk. Give your car a Halloween makeover (think giant teeth or a stringy spider web), and elevate the trunk-or-treat event in your neighborhood. Or check out the Boo at the Zoo in your area, where you can visit in costume and maybe even see beasts devour pumpkin treats.
- Have some clean indoor fun. Drop tiny plastic spiders, eyeballs, or bats into clear liquid-soap dispensers. They’ll make handwashing a scream—and may motivate your kids to scrub again!
A few days before Halloween:
- Make some “smashing” pumpkins. Host a pumpkin-carving party or contest, or just get creative with your family and carve pumpkins together. Inspire each other with a family theme, or check our no-carve pumpkin ideas for goo-free gourd decor.
- Bring decor to your door. Design a dynamic front door that celebrates the season. You can tack up yarn for a web and embed plastic spiders, wrap the door in gauze to make a mummy, take advantage of the door’s rectangular shape to create your very own Frankenstein’s monster, or wrap the door in orange paper and add black shapes to create a jolly jack-o’-lantern.
- Craft awesome accessories. Go the extra mile and make some awesome add-ons for your costume. Glitter up a stick to make a wand, glue jewels on a headband, cut out a cardboard walkie-talkie, or practice your face-painting skills.
- Pump up your breakfast. Start the school day right with homemade pumpkin pancakes. They’re super easy!
- Make some mischief. The night before Halloween, play some pranks on family members (short-sheet their beds or hide a fake bug in a hairbrush).
- Yuk it up with humor. Tuck a Halloween riddle into your kid’s lunchbox every day until Halloween’s over. Try this knee-slapper to start: What does a witch put in her hair? Scare spray!
- Weave a tangled web. Create a creepy crawler maze with yarn or crepe paper in your hallway or playroom. Act like a spider and work your way through it.
- Build a something sweet. Try a gingerbread mansion. Pick up a kit, or simply use graham crackers for your walls and roof. Then decorate with candy corn, mini sugar pumpkins, gummy worms, and more.
- Give ’em an earful. Cue up a Halloween playlist. Include novelty songs and spooky sounds, like a ghoulish laugh or a witch’s cackle.
- Hide…and let them seek. Stash a plush ghost or plastic skeleton somewhere unexpected—the kitchen cupboard, a cereal bowl where you store your dishes, or behind the shampoo in the shower.
On Halloween day or night
- Do a Halloween tour. Scope out all the decorations in town or around the block. Hand out homemade awards for the most creative, the creepiest, and the downright scary.
- Avoid hungry trick-or-treaters. Fill them up with a DIY jack-o’-lantern pizza before heading out for the goodies. Make a Halloween pie using pepperoni rounds, olives, green-pepper pieces, or mushrooms.
- Let the games begin! Gather a crowd and play pass the pumpkin or capture the ghost, or hold relay races in costume. Try a scoop-the-candy-corn challenge (like egg-on-a-spoon, but with candy corn instead).
- Play doorbell Bingo! Hand out cards and earn points for spotting popular costumes (think emojis and political candidates), convincing fake blood, dressed-up dogs, unique candy carriers—whatever you can think of! When out and about, spot cool costumes, spooky decorations, and unexpected handouts.
- Make no bones about it. Construct a vegetable skeleton and eat it later. Set up a salad bar at home and let the kids connect the knee bone to the leg bone using celery sticks and broccoli florets. If they eat a few “bones,” no harm done! Let them enjoy it.