Try one of these ideas to organize a neighborhood contest for family-friendly Halloween fun.

Craziest Costume

Pass out fliers inviting all the neighborhood kids to meet at your house an hour before trick-or-treating begins. Give everyone a name tag when they arrive. Then each child and adult can fill out a voting slip. Include best costume, scariest, funniest, most creative and more. Hand out a special prize to the winners of each category. And don’t forget a small consolation prize for all children who participate.

Most Ghoulish Yard

Invite everyone in the neighborhood to join in a decorating contest. You could have a few categories such as scariest, cutest, silliest and best overall. Set a decorating deadline for Oct. 21. Provide delivery instructions on the flier so every house in the neighborhood can vote for the addresses they like best. Also, mention that neighbors should view all the houses after Oct. 21 and deliver their votes to you by a specified date. Ask some of the participating neighbors to help you make up fun “Scariest House” and other signs. Then post them in the yards of the winning homes.

Funniest Carved Pumpkin

Ask the neighborhood to join you in a carved pumpkin contest. You can schedule a date and time when everyone will meet with their pumpkins at your home or a neighborhood park. Suggest everyone who participates pitch in $2 per pumpkin for a jackpot. To keep it fair, allow only one pumpkin per child. Prepare numbered cards in advance so each pumpkin will have its own number. Then have everyone fill out a voting slip. The carver of the winning pumpkin gets the jackpot. You could also pass out small goody bags for all the kids who participate.

Best Halloween Game

Hand out fliers to everyone in the neighborhood or on your street to hold a Halloween game day. Ask each participating house to set up a Halloween kids game in their front yard. Participating houses can give out small prizes such as stickers or treats to each kid who plays their game. Kids can wander the neighborhood playing the games for the afternoon. When they’re done, have each child fill out a ballot for the most fun Halloween game. Then post sign in the yard of the winner.

Mummy Relay Race: Divide kids into teams of two, and have one child wrap the other in toilet paper from head to toe as quickly as possible, then the first “mummy” to race across the finish line wins.

Scariest Scarecrow

Ask your neighbors to participate in a scariest scarecrow contest. To keep the scarecrows safe until voting, set a specific day when the scarecrows should be displayed in everyone’s yards. Have everyone in the neighborhood, whether they participate by making a scarecrow or not, hand-deliver their vote to you by the end of the day that the scarecrows are set out. Then deliver a yard sign to the winning home.

Creepiest Food

Hold a simple neighborhood potluck Halloween party. Each participating family should be instructed to bring a Halloween-themed food or dessert. Place a numbered card next to each dish. Then have everyone fill out a ballot for the cutest, grossest, funniest and scariest food. Once the winners are announced, take photos of the families next to their creepy food. Then everyone can dig in and eat the yummy dishes and treats.

RECIPE: Crescent Mummy Dogs

1 8-ounce can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

2 ½ slices American cheese quartered

10 hot dogs

Cooking spray

Mustard or ketchup

Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll dough; separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. Cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough.

Slice cheese slices into quarters. Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like “bandages,” stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate “bandages” so hot dog shows through for “face.”

On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down); spray dough lightly with cooking spray. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard, draw features on “face.”

Organize a Neighborhood Halloween Contest
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