Planning to celebrate Halloween at home this year and not sure how to make it special? Don’t worry! There are lots of ways to keep Halloween fun without traditional trick-or-treating and Halloween parties. Make the most of the holiday with these ideas for celebrating Halloween at home!
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So you’ve decided this year the family is going to celebrate Halloween at home, but you aren’t quite sure how to make it fun. With a bit of early planning, you can easily make the whole month of October memorable.
Decorate for Halloween
First things, first. Just because you’re not throwing a Halloween party this year doesn’t mean you skip the Halloween decorations. In fact, why not put them up earlier than you normally would? Seeing spooky fun decorations inside and outside of the house always puts me in the Halloween mindset.
Spider webs, hanging bats, spooky ghosts, blood sucking vampires, potion brewing witches, talking skeletons, light effects, bone chilling music…Halloween is in the air! No matter which direction you decide to go with decorations, friendly or gruesome, it will surely put you in the Halloween frame of mind.
Make Your Own Halloween Decorations
I love Halloween, so each year I’m browsing the stores for more and more decorations. But, that’s not to say DIY Halloween decorations can’t be as cool. Here are some of my favorite Halloween decorations that can be made at home.
- Emoji Ghost Balloons by Aww Sam
- Halloween Garland by Fleece Fun
- Spooky Halloween Jars by Hunny I’m Home
- Spellbook by Unique Creations by Anita
- Halloween Paper Lantern by Party With Unicorns
- Spider Lantern by Kids Activities Blog
- Glowing Jack ‘O Lantern Totem by Scratch and Stitch
- Spooky Spider Halloween Wreath by Ann’s Entitled Life
- Fab-Boo-Lous Pink Halloween Mantle by Love the Day by Lindi Haws
- Giant Outdoor Spider Webs by South Lumina Style
- Paper Mache Kraken by The Craft Crib
Many families incorporate a Christmas Advent Calendar to their holiday fun, so why not do the same for Halloween? Halloween Advent Calendars are most definitely a thing and it’s an engaging way to stay in the spooky spirit all October long.
There are different types of Halloween countdowns to choose from too – candy surprises, riddles, jokes, and even reusable calendars. This DIY Halloween Advent Calendar can be used year after year, and is perfect for families with more than one kiddo. If you wanted to incorporate candy or treats, you could easily include enough for all your kids in each tin.
Ah, an epitome of Halloween – pumpkin carving. You probably already know you can find tons of free pumpkin carving stencils online. I mean, the resources are endless. But how about this year making your family pumpkin carving event, a socially blind competition?
What exactly does that mean? Make each member of your family responsible for carving their own pumpkin with no help, including no stencils or patterns. Obviously you can help the little ones cut and carve, but let them draw on their pumpkin, creating their own design.
When everyone is done, post a single photo of all the pumpkins on your social media, marking them with letters or numbers (Pumpkin A, Pumpkin B, etc.). Then let your friends and family vote for their favorite. Since the pumpkins are marked with only letters, no one will know who carved what pumpkin. Whoever carved the pumpkin with the most votes, wins!
Before you start carving, be sure to check out these tips to help prevent early pumpkin rotting. After all that hard work carving your pumpkins, you’ll want them to last in all their beauty as long as possible.
Tips for Keeping Your Carved Pumpkin Fresh for Longer
- After gutting the inside and before carving, clean the pumpkin inside and out with a bleach/water solution (1 tsp bleach + 1 quart of water). Putting the solution in a spray bottle helps to cover the whole pumpkin (you’ll also use this later so don’t discard it). Allow the pumpkin to fully dry before carving.
- Post-carve, it’s time for a 24 hour soak in a bleach bath (⅔ cups of bleach + 1 bucket of water). Submerge your carved pumpkin in the bucket and let it sit.
- To help keep out new bacteria and mold, cover all exposed carved portions of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil.
- Rehydrate the pumpkin daily with the same bleach/water solution you used to clean the pumpkin. This will help ward off any bacteria that starts to grow and prevent the pumpkin from wilting.
- At the first sign of wilting, give the pumpkin an overnight ice bath. In the morning, be sure to completely dry the pumpkin to help with the elimination of mold growth.
- Use flameless candles or glow sticks to light the pumpkin. The flame from real candles has an adverse effect causing the pumpkin to rot faster.
- Avoid temperatures too low or too high. The ideal temperature for a carved pumpkin is 55-65℉. If these temps aren’t possible, do your best to display the pumpkin out of direct sunlight and in as cool a place as possible. When not on display, store the pumpkin in a dark, cool place. This can be your refrigerator (if you have room), your basement, or in my case, my bedroom. I always have the ceiling fan on when sleeping. Add the A/C to that and it’s easily the coldest room in our house at night.
Spooky Drinks and Snacks
It’s easy to fill the whole month of October with Halloween themed drinks and snacks. Whether at home or even at school, a ghoulishly good snack will send chills down your spine. Here are some eerily edible Halloween treats to get the job done!
- Halloween Juice Boxes
- Sally’s Stitched Sugar Cookies from Chicken Scratch NY
- Homemade Halloween Pop Tarts from Mama Likes to Cook
- Halloween Waffle Cake Pops from Moms & Munchkins
- Mummy Brownies from Dancing Through the Rain
- Skull Pepperoni Cheese Ball from Sula and Spice
- Monster Veggies with Dip from Maple + Mango
- Spider Cookies from She Saved
- Mini Ghost Pizzas from Crayons & Cravings
- Halloween Icky Intestines from Lemon Blossoms
- Melting Witch Punch from Food Meanderings
- Halloween Roasted Veggies from Live Eat Learn
- Eyeball Sub from Kitchen Sanctuary
- Oreo Mummy and Pumpkin Pops from Suburban Simplicity
- Green Slime Hot Chocolate from The Country Chic Cottage
- Mummy Hot Dogs from Mommy Made That
Much like we do with Christmas cookies, it’s also a great idea to have a Halloween cookie decorating party. You don’t have to invite anyone over, but just make it a family thing. Buy all the icing, sprinkles, and Halloween cookie cutters you want, then get the party started!
Halloween Movie Watch Party
Having a Halloween Movie Watch Party is one of the most fun and affordable ways to celebrate Halloween at home. Why? Because there are multiple TV stations that run month-long Halloween movie marathons, including Freeform, Syfy, and AMC.
Every year my family is glued to the TV, watching Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween movie lineup. With Halloween movie favorites like Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Addams Family, and the Hotel Transylvania movies, celebrating Halloween at home doesn’t get any easier.
If your audience is a little older and doesn’t get spooked by scary movies, Syfy’s 31 Days of Halloween and AMC Fearfest have all the thrillers. This is where you’ll find the Halloween/Michael Myers movies, Nightmare on Elm Street movies, Friday the 13th/Jason movies, The Shining, The Conjuring, and more.
You could do a weekly family movie night each week in October, or since you’re celebrating Halloween at home, make Halloween night (or day) the main event. Create hype within the house the week leading up to it and go all out on snacks and drinks. Make it a super fun Halloween movie watch party!
If you have kids in the house, hands-on Halloween crafts will surely be a hit. So pull out all the craft supplies and get to it! Here are some simple, yet haunting Halloween crafts for kids.
- Herbal Pumpkin Slime from My Homestead Life
- Witch Hat Popsicle Stick Craft from Hunny I’m Home
- Halloween Spider Picture Frame from Fashion Ave Mom
- Itsy Bitsy Halloween Spider from Mom in the Six
- Foam Pumpkin Face Magnets from The Flying Couponer
- Fluffy Ghost Craft from Crafted with Bliss
- Footprint Ghosts from Coffee and Carpool
- Googly Eye Halloween Headband from Tikkido
- Printable Halloween Puppets from The Printables Fairy
- Pumpkin Sun Catcher from The Suburban Mom
- Happy Pumpkin Stamp Art from Beary Sweet Home
- Spider Web Art from Lil Tigers
- Bat Corner Bookmarks from The Inspiration Edit
- Maple Leaf Ghosts from The Best Vinyl Cutters
And for even more Halloween crafts for kids, check out Simple Everyday Mom. My kids love her crafts!
Play Games in the Dark
Playing games in the dark, especially on Halloween, effectively creates an eerie vibe. You can play games inside or outside, it doesn’t matter. But since it’s dark, games that involve flashlights or simply sneaking up on someone to get a good scare, will bring out the inner ghoul in anyone who plays.
Here are some family favorite games to play in the dark!
Hide and Seek – Hide and seek during the day can be hard enough, but playing in the dark is tougher than tough. For small kids, Hide and Seek outside in the dark can be a little too scary, so try playing in the house with all the lights off. But for big kids and adults, there’s never a spookier night than Halloween to play Hide and Seek outside in the dark.
Flashlight Tag – Flashlight Tag is the ultimate game to play in the dark. It’s basically a combination of Hide and Seek, and Tag. Hiders have to try to make their way to home base without being caught by the seeker. The seeker, however, is equipped with a flashlight. Upon finding a sneaky hider trying to race back to home base, he shines the flashlight on them, (tagging them) and says their name. The tagged person then returns to home base until the next round. And the first person to be tagged in the game, becomes the seeker the next go round.
Shadow Puppets – Making shadow puppets is fun for the whole family. A bat is an easy shadow puppet to make and fitting for Halloween. Teach your kids how to do it and see what other shadow creatures you can create.
Zombie Tag – Beware the zombies who lurk in the dark! Zombie Tag is one of those games that starts out with one player doing the tagging and ends up with lots of players doing the tagging. One person starts the game as a zombie and all other players are humans. Once the zombie tags you (Agh! You’ve been infected!), you become a zombie too. Now, you have to help look for other humans to turn into zombies. The last human standing, wins!
Touch and Tell – Touch and Tell is a game that will mess with your mind. Playing it in the dark is even worse. Think of everyday things, and especially foods, that feel like gross things. Cooked spaghetti as intestines; Jell-O as brains; grapes or olives as eyeballs; corn husk silk as hair; a peeled tomato as a heart…you get the point. Enclose the item in a box or container, and have someone blindly reach in to touch it. They have to guess what they’re touching.
Host a Murder Mystery Dinner
Whether you invite friends over, or just do this with the people living in your household, hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner is super fun. The easiest way to go about it, is buying a murder mystery party kit. It does take a little pre-planning, so be sure to purchase a kit in advance.
A murder mystery party kit typically includes a pre-written story all ready to go. But you want to do some advance planning to help give the Murder Mystery Dinner a realistic feel. Think about things like decorations and a dinner menu that fits with the story’s time period.
A kit will also usually include invitations to the dinner. Each story has a certain number of characters to be played, so you want to make sure your guests RSVP so that each character role can be assigned. And by assigning the character roles early, you can ask your guests to dress for dinner as much like their character as possible. I mean, can you imagine the dinner guests from Clue! arriving for your dinner party?
Of course, as the host, you’ll also have instructions for making sure the night goes smoothly and plays out like it’s supposed to. And the kit may tell you who the murderer is, and it may not. So you could be in suspense the whole night, along with your guests.
Oh, the fun there is to be had with a Murder Mystery Dinner!
Wear Halloween Costumes
You may be celebrating Halloween at home, but there’s no reason you can’t still wear a Halloween costume. I have always been a fan of dressing up for Halloween and it’s very clear my kids have taken after me in that respect. They start talking about what they want to “be” for Halloween before the new school year starts.
I can’t even be mad at it because wearing costumes any time of the year is exciting. Who says you can’t make and wear a Sonic the Hedgehog mask in the middle of the summer?
Many, if not all, of the ideas shared here can easily incorporate dressing up in a Halloween costume – dressing up in costume for a Halloween Movie Watch Party, playing games in the dark on Halloween night, and especially while attending a Murder Mystery Dinner.
So, how will you be celebrating Halloween at home?
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