6 At-Home Activities for Halloween Fun: Celebrate All Day - Even When Trick-or-Treating is Cancelled
Fill your Halloween with family fun—morning, noon, and night! Trick or treating and other traditional Halloween festivities may be cancelled, but you can still make this holiday one to remember (in a good way!). Oct. 31 falls on a Saturday this year, so plan on a day filled with activities your kids will enjoy, at home and virtually.
Here’s your round-the-clock plan:
9am - Carve Pumpkins
Nothing says ‘Halloween’ like a jack-o-lantern. Start the day off with some pumpkin carving fun! Here are some ideas to make decorating pumpkins with your kids easy.
- Practice First. Draw your design on your pumpkin using washable markers*. If it’s not quite right, wipe it off with a damp paper towel, let it dry, and start again.
- Scrape it Thin. The more pumpkin flesh you scrape from the inside, the easier it will be to cut. Once all the seeds and strings are removed, use a pumpkin scraper* to remove the pulp until the side you’ll be carving is 1 inch thick.
- Use the Right Tools. I was amazed the first time I got a pumpkin carving set*. The special pokers (for tracing your outline), drills, and saws worked so much better than a kitchen knife! Curves and fine details are much easier to handle with the right tools.
- Use Cookie Cutters. Did you know they make cookie cutters* in the shape of jack-o-lantern eyes, noses, and mouths? Just pound them in (gently) with a rubber mallet*, pop out the pieces, and voila! These are great for younger kids who aren’t ready to handle sharp carving tools yet.
- Just Cut the Rind. You don’t have to cut all the way through the pumpkin to get a cute jack-o-lantern! Draw your design with washable markers, and trace your marks with a paring knife—without cutting all the way through. Then, let your child scrape off the orange rind in the area you cut with a melon baller / fruit cutter*. They only have to dig down about ⅛” to create an orange pumpkin with yellow facial features. Added bonus, you don't have to clean the guts out.
- Draw, Paint, or Stick the Face on. There’s no rule that says you have to carve your pumpkin at all. Grab a Sharpie* marker, some Acrylic Paint*, or even a Sticker Set* to bring your pumpkin to life. This is another good option for younger kids.
11am - Costume Quest Treasure Hunt
Hide clues leading to different household items that make up the costume and props for a common Halloween creature.
Then send your kids on a treasure hunt to find them, and guess what character they’ve been transformed into!
Make up your own clues, or download our Wizards & Witches Costume Quest Treasure Hunt here.
1pm - Bake a 3-D Cake
Create something together that will make people ooh and aah. A cake that looks like a pumpkin is easy to make and fun to eat.
- Bake two matching cakes in your bowl. (Note: the cooking time may be significantly longer, since the cake will be much deeper than usual. For my second cake, I only filled the bowl halfway, and made a separate 9" round in a cake pan. That was much faster.)
- Trim the tops off flat, stack your two cakes, top-to-top, and trim any odd angles to create a pumpkin shape.
- Add some filling (frosting, pudding, jelly, etc.).
- Tint your frosting with orange food coloring*, and frost your 3D cake. (Hint: Frost the lower bowl shape first, holding it upside down on the flat side. Place your serving plate on the round side after it's frosted and flip the whole thing. Then add the filling & second layer, and frost the top half.)
- Soften some Tootsie Rolls* in the microwave for 10 seconds & roll flat. Cut out your jack-o-lantern’s facial features and decorate your cake. Use another Tootsie Roll as the pumpkin stem. (We had a lime Tootsie Roll.)
3pm - Online Costume Parade
Feeling lonely on this special day which is usually filled with social activities? Plan a Zoom call (or Skype, Webex, etc.) with friends, so your child can stay connected.
Have everyone arrive dressed up, and be sure to grab a screenshot of everyone in their costumes.
Play some fun games like I Spy a Pumpkin, Halloween Mad Libs, or a Super Spooky Scavenger Hunt.
5pm - TP a Neighbor’s House
Don’t worry, this form of Doorbell Ditch is more Treat than Trick!
Fill a gift bag with small toys and treats that will make your neighbor smile. As a joke about the great 2020 toilet paper shortage and an homage to the age-old Halloween prank, include a roll of toilet paper* in your goody bag. (It’s way too valuable to throw in trees these days!)
Leave the gift on the doorstep, ring the bell, and run and hide. Give your child a high five, knowing that you have brought someone a bit of happiness on what may be a lonely holiday.
7pm - Read a Halloween Bedtime Story
Bring your all-day Halloween celebration to a close with some together time. Tell ghost stories*, start a spooky book*, or introduce a new generation to the classic tale of terror: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow*. (I can hear the hooves of the Headless Horseman through the fog now...)
Whether you do one Halloween activity, or spend the day doing them all, I hope your family is able to make the most of the holiday in this most unusual year.
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.