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Are You All Tricked Out? Try These Alternative Halloween Activities

Are You All Tricked Out? Try These Alternative Halloween Activities
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BY MYRA FAYE TURNER

One of the things I love about being a parent is being able to relive some of my favorite childhood activities. The joy of waking up early on Christmas morning to see what Santa has left. The excitement of another birthday. And of course, dressing up for Halloween and begging for candy. But after a while these activities get as stale as the Halloween candy you find in the cushions of the sofa during spring cleaning. Getting up early on Christmas? Nope, as I get older I need all the sleep I sneak into the day. Birthdays? I was fine until my kid demanded that I make special cakes for his birthday. I’m good at creating novelty cakes but he seems to think I’m Buddy from the Cake Boss.

As for Halloween, the mad rush to find the right costume, the face painting and all of that jazz, well, let’s just say I’m glad my son’s obsession with trick or treating ending many years ago. Of course, we can still have fun on Halloween and so can you. If you’re trick or treating days or over, but you’re looking for ways to celebrate Halloween, try these alternative activities.

Trunk – or – Treat

One of the problems with going door to door, is the safety factor. This is why many have resorted to alternative Halloween activities. However, a kid should be able to trick or treat at least once in their lives. One way to safely trick or treat is to trunk or treat.

When my son Tyler was a wee lad, I looked forward to dressing him up and taking him out. My preference was to attend community-sponsored events like Boo at the Zoo or Ghosts in the Oaks Like a lot of parents, I didn’t feel comfortable traipsing through the neighborhood, ringing strangers’ doorbells just to get candy that may, or may not, have been safe. Many organizations and churches feel the same way and they have created a fun alternative.

Trunk or treating is growing in popularity and it’s easy to organize an event. Basically, a group of adults — church members, a group of parents, etc. — disperse candy from the trunks of their vehicle. While decorating your car is optional, most people choose to do so and the kids love it.

The event is usually held in the parking lot of the host organization. However, with permission (or for public spaces that don’t require permission), you can organize an event just about anywhere— a park, school, police station, library—any place with a parking lot. Need inspiration? Here’s a sample. Also check out these ideas here and here.

Treats but No Tricks

Halloween can be a good time to teach your young charges the importance of giving, rather than always being on the receiving end. Here’s a great idea. You can create gift baskets or goodie bags and deliver them to your neighbors, family members, and friends. They will be pleasantly surprised when you arrive on their door step with a treat for them! You can also take it a step further deliver gifts to nursing homes or daycare centers. You decide on the contents based on the recipients. For a nursing home, for example, you can give personal items (soap, lotion, toothpaste, etc.), with or without sweet treats. 

Visit Local Attractions

Many local attractions and organizations plan events for Halloween. For example, when we temporarily relocated to Mobile after Hurricane Katrina, the local library hosted an event where the staff dressed up like storybook characters. The kids went around trick or treating, plus there was a story time, food, and other special activities. If there’s an amusement park, children’s museum or other attraction geared toward young kids or teens, chances are they will have an event scheduled for Halloween.

Have a Progressive Party

This is a great idea, especially for older kids. A progressive party is one where guests travel for home to home, with usually one activity at each location. You can coordinate with family members or friends to make this happen. Usually partygoers have a meal at the first house, then move to the second house(s) for games and activities, then end with dessert at the last house. At the last house (or any stop, really), you can give participants a goodie bag to take home. The participating families plan and share the cost of the event, which is always a blessing. Most of all, the kids have a wonderful time traveling from house to house.

Plan a Block Party

Block parties aren’t as popular as back in the day. In fact, how many of us even know our neighbors? I feel embarrassed to admit that I don’t know all of mine. I know them by sight (well, most of them) but not by name. In my defense, some are new transplants but as one of the longtime residents of my block, I should have acted as the welcome wagon.

One way to get to know your neighbors or stay connect with the ones you know, is plan a block party. A Halloween block party is a good alternative to kids going door to door. Be sure to check with your local authorities to find out what permits you need to close the street. You don’t want to have to worry about the little ones getting run over as they dance and play in the streets.

If you’re good at bossing people around organizing, perhaps you can serve as party chair. Your responsibilities would include collecting money and donations from families on your block, planning fun activities, etc. You can also check with local businesses in your neighborhood. They may want to “sponsor” the event by donating goods or services; great advertisement for their business. 

Have a Backyard Campout

I have wanted to sleep in my backyard forever. There’s just one problem—I hate creepy crawlies. If you’re adventurous, why not plan a backyard campout as an alternative Halloween activity? The kids will love it and this is a relatively inexpensive activity. Even if you don’t have camping material (tents, etc.) you always make a tent from old blankets or use them as sleeping bags. You can make s’mores, tell ghost stories or simply enjoy the night creatures (real and imagined). If the little ones (or big ones) are squeamish about spending the whole night outside, it’s okay to move the campout inside and let the fun continue on the floor!

Have a Scary Movie Marathon

When you think of Halloween, you probably think of scary things like haunted houses and spooky movies. Movie marathons are always a good idea. If you’re entertaining teens, a scary movie marathon is an activity you can enjoy together.

Most households subscribe to at least one streaming service and you can be sure to find many movies that you can show during your marathon. What to watch? There are many good movies to choose from. Check out Halloween: Resurrection and Boo on Hulu. Netflix is streaming a bunch of new and classic favorites, like A Haunting at Silver Falls or Final Destination 3. Amazon has several good offerings including Halloween and The Witch.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of fun alternative to trick or treating activities for kids of all ages. I’ve given you ideas to get started, now it’s up to you to execute them. Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

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