Ghosts, pumpkins and costumes...oh my! 'Tis the season for all things spooky, which means figuring out the best Halloween activities for kids is on every parent's to-do list.
Laura Linn Knight, author of Break Free from Reactive Parenting: Gentle-Parenting Tips, Self-Regulation Strategies, and Kid-Friendly Activities for Creating a Calm and Happy Home recommends families make a fall bucket list to avoid seasonal overwhelm for everyone.
“Perhaps everyone gets to pick one activity from the list,” Knight told TODAY Parents. “Maybe you put everyone’s favorite activities on pieces of paper and draw three of them at random. However you decide to pick your fall activities, keep it fun.”
From fall activities like going for a hayride to creepier adventures like visiting a haunted house, there are ways for everyone in the family to enjoy Halloween.
25 Halloween activities for kids
Whether you want to go all out celebrating or just want to add a few festive activities to the calendar, these 25 Halloween activities for kids are spook-tacular.
Maybe the house is decked out in Halloween decor, but adding a pumpkin night light or some spider webbing on the window is an easy kid-friendly approach to spreading holiday fun throughout the house.
Make a spooky playlist
They did the mash! Not all Halloween songs are kid friendly (ahem — "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC) so get down with some of the best Halloween songs for kids, like “Witch Doctor” by Alvin and the Chipmunks or “Spooky, Scary Skeletons” by Andrew Gold.
Maybe carving isn't in the cards this year. Paint to the rescue! Adding a splash of color to pumpkins is an easy way to avoid the mess of pumpkin guts.
Host a movie night
What's Halloween without a little "Hocus Pocus?" Plan an evening with the Sanderson sisters, or go for a classic Halloween movie like "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" which is ideal for all ages. Don't forget some spooky snacks!
Take the hassle out of shopping for a costume and make one at home this year. Perhaps your little one would make the perfect bubblegum machine or hot air balloon. With a little creativity, the options are endless.
Carve a pumpkin
You can't beat a classic, right? Make an event of it by having the kids pick their own pumpkins at a local patch and bring them home to carve.
Visit a corn maze
Get lost in a corn maze together as a family or pair up to race against the clock. The first one(s) out get bragging rights until next year!
"Boo" the neighbors
Spread the spirit amongst neighbors and friends this year. The modern Halloween tradition of "Boo"-ing includes gathering Halloween treats and leaving them on someone's doorstep with a note saying "You've been BOO'd" and encouraging others to pass it on.
Go for a hayride.
Perhaps the littlest trick-or-treaters have no interest in being spooked this year, so a daytime hayride is in order. No tricks, just a fun fall afternoon!
Halloween coloring pages
Grab some crayons or markers and get to work on your masterpiece! Crayola offers free Halloween coloring pages, including a handful of fun games.
Make spooky slime
Regular slime will have nothing on Halloween slime! Up the ante this season by adding glitter or food coloring for festive fun.
DIY mummy game
Gather up some toilet paper and all the neighborhood children for this timed game, which rewards the most creatively wrapped mummy. Using toilet paper, kids can be paired off or put into teams and given a specific amount of time to wrap their designated "mummy."
Host a mummy race
After your mummy game, send off your newly wrapped monsters on a race to a marked finish line. Last one there is a rotten egg!
Cook up a terrifying treat
Andrea at The Salty Canary called these bloody finger hot dogs "so gross and yet so amazing" and they make a devilish addition to any Halloween dinner or party.
Do a Halloween craft
Kick off spooky season by getting crafty! We love these Monster Lanterns from The Craft Train or Sand Art Pumpkins from Design Improvised. No matter what Halloween craft you choose, make sure it’s made for little hands.
Bake spider web cupcakes
Spooky...and sweet! Baking spider web cupcakes can be fun for all ages. Let one child assemble the ingredients, another can mix and then it's all hands on deck for decorating.
Halloween musical chairs
It's time to breakout the kid-friendly Halloween music and put the kids to the test with a classic game of musical chairs.
Read scary stories
Cuddle under the covers with "At the Old Haunted House" by Helen Ketteman or "Skeleton for Dinner" by Margery Cuyler. Younger readers might prefer something like "Spooky Pookie" by Sandra Boynton.
Capture the ghost game
TODAY Parenting Team contributor Roisin Bow recommends a fun Halloween twist on the classic game of capture the flag.
"After wrapping them up warm and adding some skeletal glow-in-the-dark face paint, give them their flags and encourage them to catch one another," Bow suggests.
Do a Halloween scavenger hunt
Once the house is decorated, send the kids off seeking themed items on a pre-made list. This can be as simple or complex as your kids' ages, and might be more fun with a special prize at the end.
Visit a haunted house
A frightful delight! While this may not be an age-appropriate activity for young ones, older kids and adults may enjoy getting spooked at a haunted house this year.
Go apple picking
Find a local orchard and stock up on a bushel or two of your family's favorite apples. Bring them home to enjoy as is, or dip them in caramel for a delicious treat.
Related: Candy-Dipped Caramel Apples
Eat cider doughnuts
Nothing says fall quite like an apple cider doughnut! Make your own, or pick up a box from a local bakery.
Create simple bingo cards — or print this free template from Studio DIY — and gather the whole crew. Use candy corn or gummy pumpkins for markers!
Host a candy swap
Little trick-or-treaters might not be entirely thrilled with everything they picked up on Halloween night, so set up a candy swap for the weekend after trick-or-treat to keep the fun going.