7 Halloween Things To Do That Aren’t Trick Or Treating


The good news? Halloween is on a Sunday this year, which means you can plan Halloween-themed and costumed activities all weekend. Scroll down for some fun Halloween ideas, and who knows, these could become new fall family traditions.

featured image via @juleswestonphotography

Here Are 7 Ways To Celebrate Halloween Without Trick-Or-Treating

halloween party nj mom social idstance

A Halloween-theme party with friends is a fun way to celebrate, via @brynnora.

Throw a Halloween Party

Gathering some close neighbors or friends in the backyard to show off those costumes and trade pre-made treat bags is a fun way to celebrate. Have the kids get in on the fun by making treat bags for their friends and customizing the candy based on their friends’ favorites. As for the adults, keep it simple with fall-themed pre-bottled beverages (think pumpkin beers or ciders) and seasonal snacks you make yourself or pick up from a local caterer. If it’s chilly, or once the sun sets, you can fire up the firepit and have s’more stations ready to cap off the night.

Plan a Halloween scavenger hunt

Make a Halloween hunt by doing it Easter egg style—fill these re-usable pumpkins with candy to place in and out of the house. Or for older kids, plan out strategic hiding spots, then print out clues for them to figure out and follow all around outside.

nj mom halloween ideas trick or treating

With a candy treat board, kids can satisfy their sweet cravings without trick-or-treating via @atuftedlife

Go all out on making treats

Why should Christmas be the only holiday where you decorate cookies? Set up a Halloween cookie-decorating station in your kitchen with candy corn, Halloween size candies, and seasonal sprinkles, and let the kiddos use pieces to decorate a fresh batch of cookies. Or get in on the board trend, and create a themed sweet-treat board (like the gorgeous one above from Nicki at A Tufted Life) and serve it with the cookies on Halloween eve for a sweet way to celebrate.

Start a neighborhood “BOO”

This anonymous gesture—a friend or family leaves a bag of treats, rings the doorbell, then disappears—can be a thrill for your kids to make and receive one. Put together small games, treats, masks, stickers, and even a bottle of wine for the grownups, as well as a Boo poem explaining how to keep the tradition going with a sign to display that you’ve been “booed.” When it gets dark, set out to deliver the treats to a neighbor or friend, and then ring the doorbell and run (you can also hide nearby to see the reaction when they open the door). And if you hear your doorbell one night at your house, well then—BOO!


Make it an outdoor movie setup via @catchmyparty

Have an outdoor Halloween movie night

If there’s anything that will get kids excited, it’s an outdoor movie night in your backyard. And with so many classic Halloween movies (think Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters, and Goosebumps), you can make October 31st a night at the movies. Check out FunFlicks, which rents inflatable screen and projector for backyard parties and have a few families over. Set up chairs, make up individual snack boxes with popcorn and candy, and have kids wear their costumes while they watch on blankets under the stars.

Put the scare into your Halloween decorating this year via @markshocknyc.

Haunt your house and take a haunted drive-through tour around town

Just because you’re not trick or treating doesn’t mean you can’t go all-out with decorations. Turn your house into one of the spookiest in the hood and enlist the kids to help you decorate. You can also look for others that are doing the same and map them out for a Halloween eve surprise. That night, pile the kids in the car in their costumes, and drive around stopping by your faves, and vote on the best.

And there’s always a fun escape experience

If it turns out to be a crummy day weather-wise or older kids want to try something different, an escape room with family and friends is always an adventure. Check into ones like Escapology in Garwood or Escape Room NJ, where you only play with family and friends, and never strangers. To make the night feel more festive, have everyone dress in costume, and bring treats to enjoy during the game.


About Author

Marisa is a mom to two sweet boys and a little lady (all under 4!) as well as one precious girl in heaven and her heart. A true Jersey girl, Marisa loves raising her family here and embracing all that being a #NJMOM has to offer. Whether it's summer days on Spring Lake beach or down on LBI, or heading out to sample some of the state's best eats (Montclair and Jersey City are favs), family days out and about together are her favorite way to spend a weekend. A former news anchor turned on-air lifestyle host and expert, you might also catch her on TV or in the kitchen cooking up something delish for the littles.

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