Raise a few goosebumps with a ghost story. Sit in a circle and whisper the beginning of a ghost story into the recorder on a smartphone, then hand the phone to the next person for the next part of the story. When the story is finished, play it back, in a darkened room with sound effects.
Play a “pin the teeth on the vampire” game.
Replace candy giveaways with these treats kids love: balloons, rubber snakes, spiders or bats, sidewalk chalk, stickers, wash-off tattoos, yo-yos, trading cards or whistles.
Make a ghostly apparition to decorate your treat table, using a 1-liter bottle, cheese cloth, a Styrofoam ball and wire; find directions at everydayisacraftingday.com.
For a fall party, ask guests to bring a carved or decorated pumpkin for display, and award a prize to the best.
Try a pumpkin recipe or fall fruit or veggie every week in October.
Fill a child’s wagon with hay and put the smallest trick-or-treaters in it for a safe and fun ride through the neighborhood.
Connect Halloween to history by visiting a historic cemetery to make tombstone or marker rubbings (ask permission first), then research the deceased’s history at the library or through ancestry websites.
Make “monsters” snacks using mini pretzels, white easy squeeze decorating icing and candy eyes; directions at snydersofhanover.com.
Take the kids on a reverse trick-or-treating adventure – arrange with a nursing home or homeless shelter to hand out candy treats to residents.
Dress kids in group costumes – three could be Curly, Larry and Moe, a brother and sister could go as Peter Pan and Wendy.
Make your own face paint by mixing one part cornstarch and two parts shortening with food coloring; for white paint, use cold cream.
Add some blemishes or scars to your kid or make a bigger nose by dipping tissue paper in maple syrup; apply to his face or body and let dry.
Take a road trip to one of metro Atlanta’s corn mazes or pick-your-own pumpkin farms for photogenic fun. (See listings on Page 56 of the October issue.)
Make the candy bowl a haunting experience by covering the bowl with a spooky face with a cut-out mouth the kids have to reach through for their treat.
Replace your porch light with a red or orange one to create an eerie glow, then hide a CD player to play creepy music when trick-or-treaters approach.
Sing a Halloween song to the tune from “The Twelve Days of Christmas” such as, “On the first day of Halloween, my worst friend sent to me …a spider in an elm tree.” Make up your own lyrics, or use these at kididdles.com/lyrics/t066.html.
Make “Witch’s Hat” treats using fudge-stripe cookies, Hershey’s Kisses and a tube of orange piping; find directions at bettycrocker.com.
Roasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy snack. Harvest them from the pumpkin, rinse them and toss with two teaspoons melted butter and a little salt; roast at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.
Here’s another game: Roll 10 small prizes such as tiny candies or plastic spiders into a roll of toilet paper, then have players sit in a circle; each player wraps the end of the toilet tissue around an arm or ankle like a mummy until he uncovers a prize. Then the paper roll goes to the next player.
Make a platter of “bones” snacks (put mini-marshmallows on each end of a pretzel stick, then dip them in melted white chocolate; find a recipe at epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Funny-Bones-355110).
Create a “Candy Witch” tradition; the wicked witch strikes when the children are asleep to swap some of those candy treats for small gifts.
Make Halloween Frankenstein Cups using green food coloring, vanilla pudding, crushed Oreos and four-ounce plastic cups decorated with faces made with a Sharpie.
Have fun with sweat shirts and pants for an easy Halloween costume – turn a white sweat outfit into a dog or cow by adding black spots; use an oversized green hooded sweat shirt to create a dragon, with triangles sewn down the back.
Have a pumpkin-carving contest.
Make ghosts to hang from the trees – use white trash bags, stuff the heads with newspaper, give them some eyes with Sharpie and string them up.
Create a “broken windows” look to your home using frosted contact paper cut apart to look like broken glass.
Use cardboard and spray paint to make “tombstones” to place in the yard.
Decorate the sidewalks with paper bags filled with glow sticks or battery-operated tea lights.
Create glowing eyes to greet trick-or-treaters using small cardboard boxes, blue acrylic paint, yellow tissue paper, black card stock and white holiday lights; find directions at spoonful.com/crafts/spectral-eyes.