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5 Kid-Friendly and Fright-Free Halloween Activities

mom working on Halloween crafts with her two children
Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Some kids might be spooked by the neighbor’s ghoulish decorations, or not have energy to go trick-or-treating. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on Halloween entirely—we’ve got some great options for kid-friendly fun.

Halloween can mean whatever you want it to mean. You don’t have to follow the traditional route of vampires, zombies, fake blood, and copious amounts of candy. These five fun-filled activities are bound to keep the entire family entertained this Halloween season, from your youngest to your eldest.

Host Your Own Party

Ultimately, you get total control over how much “spookiness” to include in the party. If any of your children are freaked out by scary skeletons and deranged zombies, you can decorate the house with pumpkins, orange and black streamers, bright decals, and fall decor (think apples and leaves).

You can play fun games, like bobbing for apples, pin the smile on the ghost, or have a few non-scary craft projects ready to make.

Have your kids help you whip up some friendly Halloween treats before the party.

A dance party is a must, with upbeat songs like the Monster Mash. You can have a costume contest, as well as fun prizes for everyone who attends.

Organize a Scavenger Hunt

You can divide into teams, which is helpful for younger kids who aren’t able to read yet. Make sure to have a bin of prizes, allowing everyone to pick out something afterwards for participating. We suggest non-candy items like toys, notebooks, and pencils because so much candy is already floating around at Halloween.

Need some ideas? Think about whether you want your kids to stay in or around your house, or if you want to venture out into the neighborhood. If your kids are wary of spooky decorations, make sure to venture out while it’s still light—before all the scary costumes hit the street.

Here’s a list of some fun ideas to include on the scavenger hunt list. They can either collect items or cross them off once they spot them (or even take a picture to look at later).

  • Pumpkin
  • Black cat
  • Something orange
  • Spider web
  • Broomstick
  • A piece of candy
  • The number 13
  • A scarecrow
  • Something white
  • A leaf
  • An apple

Check out this printable list for more ideas.

Greet Trick-or-Treaters

little girl holding a bucket of candy to hand out on Halloween

Don’t underestimate how exciting it is to stay home on Halloween! For a little kid, it’s thrilling to watch as countless kids knock on their door or ring their doorbell. Plus, they are the givers of candy, which is bound to make them feel super important.

Make sure everyone dresses up, yourself included. You can even put some time into creating a family-themed costume, like Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan.

Turn on fun music, flick on the lights, and wait for that doorbell to start dinging. Between trick-or-treaters, you can engage your child in some not-so-scary crafts, or watch a family-friendly Halloween movie.

Find a Specific Trick-or-Treating Event

Most towns will offer a family-friendly Halloween event, sometimes the weekend before Halloween. Malls will often have indoor trick-or-treating, with participating stores handing out candy. There’s also “trunk or treat,” which is where a parking lot is closed, allowing kids to run from car to car, grabbing treats along the way.

Any of these events are a great way to expose your small child to trick-or-treating without having to haul them all over the neighborhood. Usually geared towards younger children, events like these probably won’t have the same scary element as other Halloween events.

If your children do want to do regular trick-or-treating, make sure to find a friendly neighborhood, one that starts early and has plenty of families with young children. You can always decorate a wagon or your stroller, allowing your child to catch a free ride while your older children run from house to house.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Ah, pumpkins—such an icon of Halloween. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a local patch to visit, helping your kids pick out their very own pumpkin. Some local farms even offer hayrides during this time. Make a day of it, taking lots of pictures.

Then comes the fun of carving the pumpkins. Obviously, you’ll be the one handling the carving knife, but you can let your child draw out the design on the pumpkin in advance. Painting pumpkins is a fun activity, too.

Children can help scoop out the insides, wash the seeds, and season them for a tasty roasted snack.

Halloween is usually associated with everything scary, excluding those who might be easily spooked. However, plenty of kid-friendly options allow your family to celebrate in your own way. Get creative and enjoy the day fully, letting your child learn there’s more to Halloween than freakish ghosts and goblins.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »
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