Halloween at Home!
Celebrate Halloween at home with these ideas to excite and entertain young boos and ghouls.
Check out more at home Halloween fun here.
No Halloween holiday is complete without the mythical creatures that roam the night.
Play Spooky Tic Tac Toe: Start by creating your game pieces using smooth rocks; orange, white, black and green paint markers; glue and googly eyes. Have your kids paint and decorate the rocks to resemble monsters and creatures. Set out a tic tac toe board using washi tape, and play using the rocks instead of X’s and O’s.
Create and decorate unique monsters by reusing tin cans: Start by removing the label and painting the cans. Add more details to create your monsters, and you can glue googly eyes onto the creatures. Stack the dried cans into a pyramid for a bowling game. Or you can turn these creations into cute décor by making a wind chime. Have an adult punch holes in the bottom of the cans with a hammer and nail. String yarn through the hole, and tie a washer to the inside of the can to hold it in place and another washer to create the chime. Hang on your front porch for an awesome, spooky decoration.
Make Halloween Monster Chomper Donuts: Using Lavender Candy Melts, prepare candy clay following recipe directions. Shape candy clay horns, 1 inch x 3/8 inch diameter. Shape into curves and set aside. Make donuts by following the recipe at wilton.com. Melt green and lavender Candy Melts separately, according to package directions. Place melted candy in decorating bags and cover tops of donuts. Chill until firm, about 10-15 minutes. Decorate with candy corn and candy eyeballs. Attach horns to the monster, and chill until firm, about 3-5 minutes.
More fun with monsters:
- Movie Night: Watch “The Addams Family” or “Monsters, Inc.” as a family.
- Creative Outlet: Get creative with printable bookmarks.
- Dance Party: Play a game of musical chairs to “Monster Mash.”
- Spooky Storytime: Read aloud a monster-themed book, such as “Monster Trouble!” by Lane Fredrickson and Michael Robertson or “Have You Seen My Monster?” by Steven Light. Older kids might enjoy the “Goosebumps” series by R. L. Stine.
- Retro Night: Enjoy a movie night of the classics, such as the 1931 “Dracula,” 1931 “Frankenstein” and 1941 “The Wolf Man.”
Create magic with your little witch and wizard!
Play Witch Pitch: Start by cutting a large piece of black foam core board into a witch’s hat. Decorate by gluing candy corn and strips of orange cardstock to the edges. Hot glue mini cauldrons on the hat to create targets. Have the kids toss candy corn into the cauldrons to see who can score the most points!
Make Witch’s Hat Cookies: Remove wrappers from Hershey’s Kisses. Place fudge striped cookies with chocolate-coated bottom facing up on wax paper. Place 1 cup milk chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium for 1 minute; stir. Dip bottom of chocolate kiss into melted chocolate and place in the center of cookie. Allow chocolate to firm before continuing. Pipe icing or gel around base of chocolate piece to decorate, and use sprinkles to make a buckle.
Create Witchy Potion Bottles for décor: Purchase glass bottles of different sizes and shapes. Start by printing out the labels. In a small spritzer bottle, add about 10 drops of ink and fill the bottle halfway up with water. Spray all over the paper to “age” the labels. Cut the labels out and crumple them up to age them even more. Spritz the labels again, and set aside to dry. In separate bowls, mix a couple of drops of food coloring and a scoop of Mod Podge together; for black, use black ink. Paint the jars with a foam brush and set aside to dry. Add the labels to the jars with Mod Podge, and then apply a layer of Mod Podge over the top of the label.
More fun with magic:
- Party with the Sandersons: Watch “Hocus Pocus,” and play the board game from Ravensburger for a themed night of fun.
- Retro Night: Watch episodes of “Bewitched” with the kids.
- Boil and Bubble: Play with STEM fundamentals with this Bubbling Brew Experiment.
- Wizarding World: Visit the magical world of Harry Potter with books, movies and activities.
- Scary Snacking: Make a sweet and salty snack of Witches’ Fingers.
Boo! It’s the season for spirits.
Make Spooky Boo Brownies: Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil, allowing some to hang over edges of pan. Grease bottom and sides of foil with shortening or cooking spray. Make and bake brownies as directed on the Betty Crocker Supreme Original Brownie Mix box. Cool completely before freezing in pan for 15 minutes. Remove brownies from pan, and cut into 4 rows by 4 rows. Heat frosting in microwavable bowl for 20-30 seconds until smooth. Top each brownie with a large marshmallow. Spoon 1 tbsp. frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Let stand until set, about 30 minutes. Use black gel to create eyes and mouths for the ghosts.
Play a game of Ghostbusters:Draw and decorate plastic cups with ghost faces. Stack the cups into a pyramid for a tossing challenge. See who can knock the most cups down. Or place them down to see who can land a ball in the most cups.
Create luminary ghosts by recycling milk jugs: Start by cleaning the milk jug. Draw the ghost’s face using a pencil before coloring in with a permanent black marker. On the opposite side, have an adult cut a 3-sided opening flap about 2 inches wide and 2 inches tall. Weigh down the jugs with rocks. Place a section of 5-7 lights into each jug, stringing the lights to the next opening.
More fun with ghosts:
- Movie Night: Watch “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” “Haunted Mansion” or “Ghostbusters.”
- Ghoulish Décor: Decorate a ghostly haunted house using a paper bag.
- Game Night: Grab a ghostly board game to complete the fun; try I Spy Spooky Mansion, Ghostbusters: Protect the Barrier Game, Ghost Castle or Disney Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits Game.
- Spot Spirits: Schedule a ghost tour to see if you can find ghosts. Covington, Decatur, Marietta, Roswell and Lawrenceville offer tours.
- Distressingly Good Dessert: Make easy ghost cookies.
It’s a hauntingly good time with these reanimated creatures.
Make Mummy Rice Krispie Treats: Start by unwrapping store-bought Rice Krispie Treats. Melt white chocolate candy coating and dip each treat into the chocolate. Set on parchment paper with non-covered side down. Press eyes into the top portion of the treat to stick to the white chocolate. After the white chocolate layer has dried, put the white chocolate into a piping bag and drizzle it over the treats, leaving the eyes visible.
Play Wrap the Mummy: Divide your family into two teams to see who can cover their partner in toilet paper the fastest. Whoever looks more like a mummy, wins!
Create cute mummies with yarn: Start by drawing the outline of your mummy onto cardboard. Cut out the mummy, and using the tip of your scissors, make a hole in the mummy’s foot. Cut out a long piece of white yarn, and tie it through the hole. Wrap the cardboard in yarn to complete your mummy. Younger kids can try this craft using white painter’s tape.
More fun with mummies:
- Movie Night: Watch “Hotel Transylvania” or “The Mummy.”
- Delicious Dinner: For a themed dinner, serve Pizza Mummies.
- A Jar of Fun: Use this cute idea to make mummy-themed décor.
- Mummy-o-Lantern: Use gauze wrap and googly eyes to turn pumpkins into mummies.
- Haunting History: Learn how mummies were made with National Geographic Kids.
Creepy and Crawly Celebration
Have an insect-ly fun time with these bug ideas.
Make Chocolate Millipedes: Start by baking and frosting a pan of brownies. Arrange five malted milk balls in a curve on the top of the brownies. Cut black and brown licorice into small pieces, ¼-½-inches long. Arrange the legs, keeping them as close to the malted milk balls as possible. Use a toothpick to dab tiny amounts of white frosting and round white sprinkles onto the millipedes for eyes.
Play Lair of the Spider Queen: In a hallway or room, tape white streamers around and poke spider rings through the streamers, creating a web-like obstacle course. See who can get through the fastest and without knocking down any of the “web.”
Create spider web-inspired art: Have an adult create a spider web on a piece of white paper using rubber cement. Let dry. Then, paint over the paper with watercolor paint, creating a tie dye effect. Once dry, peel off the rubber cement. Create black pom pom spiders using pom pom balls, pipe cleaners and googly eyes.
More fun with insects:
- Marvelous Mudpies: Make and eat dirt pudding with gummy worms.
- Sensory Slime: Play with bug-infested slime.
- Play with Spiders: Instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, set up a spider web on your wall, and have your kids pin a spider to the web.
- Weaving Wonder: Decorate your house with hanging spider webs.
- Dare to Drink: Freeze plastic spiders and insects in ice cube trays for a festive addition to your drinks.
More Halloween at Home Fun:
Parade-in-Place: Don’t let old costumes go to waste! Dress up as your favorite characters, decorate your bikes or car with spooky decorations, and schedule a parade with your neighbors for a festive walk down the street. Designate someone as a DJ to play classics like “Monster Mash” and “Thriller” as you make your way through the neighborhood. Throw candy from your “float” to the kids who gather and watch.
Virtual Haunted Houses: Get your fright on with virtual haunted house experiences. Check out Frightbytes, an interactive horror experience where your decisions determine your fate. Enjoy a tour of the Winchester Mystery House, designed by the late owner to confuse the ghosts haunting her. Explore Second Life’s haunted attractions with ghosts, goblins and scary surprises. Travel through The Chancery House and take on the scavenger hunt for a hauntingly good time.
If your child’s too young for haunted houses, try a virtual ride on Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.
Movie Night: Enjoy a night of family-friendly frights with a movie. Some of our favorites include: “Scoob!,” “The Addams Family,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Goosebumps” or “Hotel Transylvania.” If your kids have aged out of loving the cute creepers, try a blast from the past with the horror films of the ’70s and ’80s, like “Friday the 13th” or “Halloween.”
Inspired by the Movie: Continue the movie night fun with these activities.
If you’re a fan of the “Goosebumps” movies and book series, check out these STEM activities and cards from Scholastic. Don’t lose your place in your favorite scary story with these Corner Bookmarks with instructions from Easy Peasy and Fun.
Having too much fun with the crew of “Hotel Transylvania” and their sequels? Try these books from Scholastic. For preschoolers, help them work on their numbers with this themed dice game from The Activity Mom.
Distressingly Good Decorations: Don’t skimp on spooky and celebratory décor this year; spread the festive spirit to those in your house and in your neighborhood with decorations. Turn your house into its own haunted house with tombstones and a cemetery in the yard, ghosts on the porch, bloody hand prints in the window, spider webs in the entry way and halls and skulls on tabletops.
If your style is more cute than creepy, try these ideas. Decorate your porch with these emoji pumpkins with instructions from HGTV. Make this Black Cat Halloween Decoration from Brooklyn Farm Girl to string along doorways and on your mantle. These Mason Jar Ghost Luminaries from This Fairy Tale Life will help light the way.
In the Kitchen: Create sweet treats and ghoulish gobbles for a distressingly delightful time in the kitchen:
- Boo Bark from Sally’s Baking Addiction
- No Bake Halloween Cheesecake Parfaits from Inside Bru Crew Life
- Bloody Truffles from Sugar Hero
- Frightful Halloween Fruit Kebabs from SheKnows
- Crescent Mummy Dogs from Pillsbury
- Cheesy Spiders from Woman’s Day
Trick-or-Treat: You might not feel comfortable sending your kids door to door for Halloween candy, so why not take a page out of your Easter playbook? Reuse your Easter eggs and hide them around the house for a new way to trick-or-treat. For a more complicated hunt, have each child search for their own colored eggs, which contain their favorite candy.
Check out our ideas for safe trick-or-treating here.
Haunted Gingerbread Houses: Take what you love about decorating gingerbread houses for Christmas, but make them Halloween-themed. Get inspired by these images and instructions from Food Network. Or try your hand at a Towering Haunted House Cake from Country Living.
Perfect Pumpkins: Looking for new ways to decorate traditional pumpkins? Leave the carving tools in storage with these ideas. If you’re looking to fill your space with cute critters, you can make Black Cat Pumpkins from HGTV, a Witch Pumpkin from The Craft Patch or Happy Ghost Pumpkins from The Crafted Life. Make bright pumpkins that light up the dark with these Glow in the Dark Pumpkins from iLoveToCreate. For a celestial-inspired vibe, create these Moon and Stars Pumpkins from Oh So Beautiful Paper. Show off your dazzling wit with the Pun-kins from Studio DIY.
Superstitious Scavenger Hunts: Have a hauntingly good time with these scavenger hunts. Scavenger Hunt Fun lists 10 clues you can use to create your own hunt with a prize at the end. Walk through your neighborhood to see who can spot the most decorative items with this printable from Moritz Fine Designs. For $1, download this scavenger hunt from Etsy, created by PamsPartyPrintables, for a spooky scavenger hunt to see who can score the most points. Try the indoor Spider Web Scavenger Hunt from Hands On As We Grow to help your kids learn their numbers as they try to find all the bugs. Head to a local pumpkin patch to hunt for pumpkins and leaves with this idea from Life Over C’s.
Ghastly Games: Enjoy a themed game night. Turn up the music to play freeze dance or musical chairs to “Monster Mash” or “Superstitious.” Play a game of bingo with the Monster Match Halloween Bingo Cards from Play Party Plan. Paint miniature pumpkins different colors for a twist on tic tac toe; instructions from Iron & Twine. Reuse and decorate tin cans for a game of bowling with instructions from Party Delights. Compete in a themed game of Scattergories with this printable from DIY Adulation. Divide into teams to see who can wrap their teammate the fastest in toilet paper to become a mummy. Instead of pinning the tail on the donkey, pin the stem on the pumpkin or the hat on a witch. Face your fears by guessing what creepy or gross item is in the box by touch alone.
Carving Contest: Create a neighborhood contest with pumpkin carving. Have each household pick a Halloween character: vampire, bat, zombie, witch or monster. Each family carves and displays their pumpkins prior to Halloween so that the street can vote on the best one. You could also hold a contest for best decorated house.
Ding Dong Ditch the Ghost: Make goodie bags with Halloween-themed fun and treats for neighbors, but don’t label them. Drop the bags at the door with instructions to hang a ghost in their window once they discover their gift, so others know they have already been ghosted. Then, instruct them to pass it on by sharing the fun with another family to continue the chain of Halloween excitement.
Virtual Viewing: Set up a costume contest on a Facebook page with your friends and family for a fun way to make sure your kids can show off their cute looks. The picture with the most likes gets a fun prize.
Mad Scientist in the Lab: Use screw top jars and fill with water dyed with green or red food coloring. Deposit plastic spiders, snakes, rats and eyeballs for a creepy feel. Make slime with glue, saline solution, water and baking soda. Add Halloween glitter, plastic spiders or bats, eyeballs, confetti and other small, decorative items for a festive feel.
Build the Best Scarecrow on the Block: A silly or scary scarecrow would be a great addition to your yard. Use old materials to create the scarecrow’s body, and decorate with permanent markers, acrylic paint or cut out felt shapes and glue on using a hot glue gun. Visit your local thrift store or look in the back of your closet for plaid shirts, jeans, overalls, gloves, boots, hats and bandanas. Or use an old Halloween costume for a festive spin.
Create a family portrait using scarecrows. Have each person in your family decorate a scarecrow to represent themselves with their old clothes, Halloween costumes or decorative items. Stage them like you would a family photo, or have each scarecrow posing with their favorite hobby.
Halloween Face Masks: Get into the spirit with a new themed face mask. Find characters from DC, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, Peanuts, Hello Kitty and Harry Potter at MaskClub. Redbubble has sharks, whales, dogs, pandas, ghosts and more patterned masks for kids, and Disney has character masks.
Sensory-Friendly Halloween Fun: Create a sensory bin for your toddler with purple, green, black and orange items. Try pom-poms, candy corn, snakes, eyeballs, spiders, bats, dyed rice, candy pumpkins, skeletons and beads.
-Emily Webb and Mary Williams