I don’t think we can place too much importance on family traditions. They give the family roots, stability, and a reason to come together. Each season has its own traditions, and at our house, Fall and Halloween are brimming with them. The following list includes my own family traditions and things I’ve gathered from good ol’ Pinterest. So get some inspiration, pick and choose, or cram them all into your October! (Check out this countdown chain idea here to organize all these fun traditions!)
Witchy Apple Carving
Carve a witch’s face into an apple, add rice for teeth and raisin or chocolate chips for eyes. Let it sit on your counter. The longer it sits, the uglier and witchier it gets! This activity is for adults to do and kids to watch. It doesn’t take a lot of time and barely any money, and it’s something the kids will be excited about for as long as you can handle watching an apple get disgusting on your kitchen counter. You’re welcome.
Dollar Store Decorations/Make Your Own
We spend a few days/weeks earning this one. If the kids have done a good job keeping their rooms clean, or getting along well, or whatever it is you want them to do, they get to pick out a few decorations from the dollar store for their rooms! Everybody wins! My kids also love to draw, color and make decorations. We display them around the house and the kids love to see their work!
This one doesn’t need an explanation. Carve or paint, light them up, and display!
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
Let the kids get dirty trying to find their perfect pumpkin. Buying pumpkins this way is so much more fun than picking them out at the grocery store (and can be a lot cheaper, too!).
Get Lost in a Corn Maze
You might get lucky and be able to combine this one and the pumpkin patch! There are different kinds of corn mazes nowadays: easy ones, ridiculously difficult ones, ones shaped like famous people, haunted ones…. pick the one that best suits your family and get lost!
Read Scary (or not) Books
My kids love this one, so we’ve built up quite a collection of Halloween/Fall books (you could always go to the library for this activity). We read one book as a family each night before bed. With my older kids, we choose a spooky chapter book and I read it aloud to them throughout the month. What better way to end your day than snuggling and blankets and books?
The food this time of year seriously rocks: soups in bread bowls, caramel apples, mummy dogs, hot chocolate, pumpkin everything, chili, apple cider, caramel popcorn, spiderweb soup….this list could get really long. Run to Pinterest, people!
Rake Leaves as Service
I think traditions built around service are the most meaningful and memorable ones. Growing up, the people across the street had huge trees. Their lawn would get absolutely covered in all the leaves. My mom would send us out after it got dark to rake and bag them up. We loved being sneaky and trying to not get caught.
“Boo!” Your Neighbors
Who doesn’t love finding a plate of goodies on their porch? This tradition involves printing out a few of these fun little things, whipping up something yummy, and leaving it all on a few of your neighbors’ porches. Then watch as everyone shares the love! But keep it a secret!!
Pick a flick and hit the lights! We have so many favorite shows that this one happens frequently at our house. Here are some ideas: Hocus Pocus, Nightmare Before Christmas, Ghost Busters, Addams Family, Casper, Haunted Mansion, Paranorman, Frankenweenie, Harry Potter, Corpse Bride, Young Frankenstein, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. OR if you have very young kids, you can always depend on The Disney Channel, Nick Jr, and PBS to supply you with at least one Halloween special from all of your favorite shows.
This one came from my husband’s family. They love their sugar cookies so they make them in all kinds of Halloween shapes and decorate them! This would be perfect to use if you “Boo!” your neighbors (see above). I also pinned these cute monster cookies. So fun!
Mad Scientist/Witch’s Potions
I just found this one this year and I can’t wait to try it! Let the littles “experiment” with water and food dye in this totally kid-friendly version, or have them watch as you make a few potions and experiments that require a little more work. Your kids won’t even realize they’re learning with this kind of fun!
Haunted Gingerbread Houses
Lots of grocery stores (Wal-mart and Target to name a few) carry kits (about $10) to make gingerbread houses, Halloween style! The parents assemble them, and the kids decorate! Once you’re finished, display it for the rest of the season!
Local Halloween Festivals
If you live around here (Wasatch Front, Utah) I’m sure you’ve heard about Gardner Village. They have so much fun going on over there. WitchFest is a must. They have scavenger hunts, darling witch displays, a petting zoo/pony rides, all kinds of fun with witches. And this year they’ve added Wee Witch’s Playground, and Wee Witch’s Weekend just for the kids! But if you don’t live around here, find something near you and get out of the house for some Fall fun!
Halloween Night Dinner
Of course, all this fun is building up to the big night! Both my mom and my husband’s mom did a good job of making traditions for the 31st. We combine their traditions and have homemade chili and breadsticks (my mother-in-law’s tradition) before going trick-or-treating. And when the kids come home, we warm up with hot apple cider and donuts (my mom’s tradition). Yum!!
Help us add to the list! What are you favorite traditions for this time of year??