carving pumpkins safe and fun Halloween activities

Spooky Fun and Safe Halloween Activities

Updated September 1, 2020 . AmFam Team

Looking for something different to do this year for Halloween due to social distancing? Check out our fun and safe ideas for activities, crafts and recipes the whole family will enjoy!

It’s no wonder why people love Halloween — it’s a celebration filled with excitement and wonder! Folks of all ages eagerly plan their costumes and decorate their homes welcoming the fall holiday.

While trick or treating may be one of the most traditional ways to get into the Halloween spirit, it’s not the only way to enjoy some spooky fun this season.

Whether you’re skipping going door to door this year and looking for alternative activities, or if you’re just looking for some additional ideas for spicing up your Halloween celebrations, you’ve come to the right place! We have lots of tips and ideas for your family to keep themselves entertained and enchanted by the spookiest holiday of the year!

Fun Family Halloween Activities

Looking for things to do to celebrate the Halloween season? These fun activities will add some excitement to your holiday plans.

1. Costume Photo Shoot

Get your witch hat out of the closet, pick the most festive part of your home or yard and strike a scary pose! Get the whole family together for a silly and fun costume photoshoot. You can keep these photos for memories or share them with your friends for an online costume contest.

Create a private Facebook event to share your fun photos with family and friends. Have each kid or family win a costume category from “most spooky” to “most imaginative.” Everyone should feel like a winner and get a special treat accordingly.

2. Spooky Movie Marathon

Nothing gets you in the spirit quite like classic Halloween movies! Turn your living room into a scary movie-lovers dream with lots of pillows and blankets. Or, if the weather permits, have a nighttime watch party outside. Get out a projector and play movies in the backyard under the twilight sky with snacks and sleeping bags.

3. Monster Mash Dance Party

Who doesn’t love a good dance party? Clear the living room and turn up the Halloween tunes to bust a move. Your kids will have a blast and you’ll love seeing so much joy on their faces!

5. Check What’s Happening in Your Community!

Whether or not your area is doing trick or treat this year, there might be some other community activities happening. Make sure to keep and open ear out for upcoming events. Do you belong to any online communities, too? Check your favorite social networks to see what kind of virtual festivities may be in the works

Recipes So Good, It’s Scary

Cooking and baking Halloween-themed goodies is a great way to get in the holiday mood while staying at home. We have easy recipes the whole family can safely create in the kitchen, together.

1. Health-O-Ween

You can create holiday friendly treats without going straight to artificially sweet snacks. If your family prefers to eat naturally sweet foods, you can turn fruit in your fridge to frightful snacks! Give tangerines and bananas a holiday spin with just a matchstick of celery, a couple of raisins or mini chocolate chips to transform them to cute, yummy ghosts and pumpkins (Opens in a new tab) the whole family will enjoy!

2. Spooky Brownies

Craving something craftier than a fun-size candy bar? Melt a few marshmallows on top of a fudgy brownie and add dots of melted chocolate for a ghostly upgrade (Opens in a new tab).

3. Witches’ Brew

What do you have stewing in the cauldron? Make a mysterious mocktail (Opens in a new tab) with your favorite soda or sparkling water and a splash of colorful sherbet. Add garnishes like orange wheels, gummy worms or whipped cream, and finish with themed ice cubes or paper straws.

4. Classic Cookies

Just because trick-or-treating might be cancelled, it doesn’t mean you can’t share some goodies with your friends or neighborhood. Bag a few sugar cookies with packets of different-colored icing and send them to friends for a grown-up cookie-decorating challenge! Challenge each other for fun, or maybe do an online poll to declare a cookie-decorating champion.

Halloween Crafts

Crafts are a fun and simple way to celebrate this special time of year. With so many iconic characters to represent Halloween — Frankenstein’s monster, mummies, vampires, werewolves, etc. — there are an endless amount of crafts your family can do! Here are some examples to get your creativity flowing.

1. Halloween Toilet Paper Roll Crafts

Your crafts can be tricky, but you can still treat the environment! Reuse old toilet paper rolls to create your favorite Halloween character (Opens in a new tab). You can get as creative as you’d like using paint, paper or googly eyes to make a fun, sustainable decoration!

2. DIY Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Garland

Spending more time at home this year gives you even more reason to go all out for decorating your home! Why not start by adding a Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin garland (Opens in a new tab)? It’s the perfect way to welcome the October holiday.

3. Classic Pumpkin Carving

We can’t talk about Halloween crafts without mentioning carving pumpkins (Opens in a new tab)! It’s a timeless Halloween craft the whole family will enjoy. Just make sure to assist your little ones when working with sharp carving tools.

4. DIY Costumes

While it might seem easier to search and buy costumes online, creating costumes at home can be far less expensive and far more special! You don’t need to be a seamstress to create something totally unique and cool either; there are plenty of DIY costume (Opens in a new tab) ideas that’ll make wearing your Halloween outfit that much more satisfying.

Halloween Themed Games

With the house decorated and your tummies full of witches’ brew, it’s time for some family-friendly Halloween games! We have ideas for game time with your loved ones that could make Dracula smile.

1. Halloween Trivia

Do you know why we call October 31 “Halloween?” Or do you know Frankenstein’s middle name? Have your family dress in their festive best and challenge one another to a friendly game of trivia. It’ll keep your family entertained and you’ll learn a thing or two along the way.

2. Halloween Tin-Can Bowling

Skip the smelly bowling shoes and find a forgiving spot on your floor or driveway to do Halloween tin-can bowling (Opens in a new tab). This is a two-part game: First, you paint the cans to represent your favorite Halloween characters — and then you get to knock them down!

3. Pin the Bow on the Skeleton

If you’re hoping for something super easy that takes little-to-no preparation, look no further. Pin the Bow on the Skeleton (Opens in a new tab) is easy to setup and you can find it easily online to print at home, for free (Opens in a new tab)!

4. Halloween Charades

Do you think you have the best werewolf impersonation? Test your luck with a family game of charades. Winner gets to pick which scary movie you get to watch later!

Download and print a free game of Halloween charades here (Opens in a new tab).

However you plan to spend your Halloween this year, remember that there are an endless number of options. As long as you surround yourself with good spirits and add a dash of creative magic, every Halloween can be your favorite one yet.

Happy Halloween!

Did you find this article inspiring? Checkout other safe and happy family resources to support your family and their dreams.

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    Treat yourself to a bubble bath or face scrub. Stress and fatigue have a way of surfacing onto your skin. One way to combat this is soaking in a soothing bath. Baths are great for underneath your skin as well. Research shows bubble baths are good for strengthening muscle joints, balancing hormones, improving your lung capacity and oxygen intake and more.

    Stress or anxiety can be especially harsh on your face. A face scrub can strip away clogged pores, leaving you soft and exfoliated skin. If you don’t have a facial scrub, don’t worry about it! You can make DIY facial scrubs out of organic and safe products in your home. We think the banana oatmeal scrub sounds the most soothing — and delicious.

    Try aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses essential oils for therapeutic remedies. Some studies show essential oils can reduce stress, boost your mood and relieve headaches or migraines. Scents like lavender and frankincense are especially great for bringing your mind and body at ease.

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    Take a virtual workout class. Online exercise classes can be a great way to try something you’ve never done before, and you can try it in confidence within your home. Never done Zumba before but always wanted to try? This is the perfect chance to diversify your workout routine and try something new!

    Relaxation Remedies

    If you have a couple of hours, like a Saturday afternoon, these are perfect for making the most of your time and treating yourself.

    Add some greenery to your space. Tending to plants or your garden can be therapeutic. Not only does the activity of gardening calm you, but the plants themselves have benefits too. Plants help purify the air you breathe, which can help make you feel refreshed and give you the boost you need. Live in an apartment? No problem. Try out these tips for growing a garden in your apartment.

    Pull out the oven mittens. Baking is a great way to spend time away from your emails or the T.V. Focusing your energy on detailed recipes is a meditative, calming task. Bonus: it’ll make your home smell delicious and instantly improve your mood. It’s safe to assume everyone in your household will support your relaxation method — as long as you’re okay with sharing your final product!

    Reconnect with a friend. Sometimes, connecting with an old friend is what you need to get you in a better headspace. Plan a call with someone you miss. You could even do a virtual activity together like playing online trivia or board games!

    Plan a themed movie night. A movie night is a perfect distraction from the stressors of the outside world. Escape into different worlds or places all from the comfort of your living room. The theme could be your favorite director, actor, movie genre — there are countless options. Whatever theme you choose, just don’t forget to stock up on your favorite theater snacks!

    Plan a Full Staycation

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    Recreate a full spa day at home. Transform your home into the best spa in the neighborhood for a day of serenity. With soothing sounds of rushing water, crisp white robes, and water infused with citrus and herbs, it’ll start to feel like the real deal. Make sure to save some cucumbers to put over your eyes for face masks and a healthy midday snack.

    Camping in the backyard. Enjoy some fresh air and connect with nature for the day — all in the comfort of your yard. Pitching a tent on the lawn and sleeping under the stars is an excellent mini-escape from the world. Whether it’s a romantic evening of stargazing with your partner, or a fun family affair roasting s'mores and telling stories, it’ll be a staycation your family won’t forget.

    Create an at-home scavenger hunt. When the kiddos go to bed, place little trinkets around the house and yard for them to find. They’ll wake up the next morning to an adventure with maps and clues to find each hidden item. Once all the pieces are found, you can celebrate with a feast of pizza and cake or whatever your kiddos love. After all, all that exploring can make your little adventurers hungry!

    Tips for Relaxing and Self-Care

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    Disconnect from social media. Even if you don’t completely power it down, at least put your phone on silent or turn off notifications. Even if you miss scrolling through your feed for a moment, in the long run, it will feel good to disconnect. You can snap photos of your relaxing day to share and inspire your network afterward, but try to live in the moment while you unwind.

    Mix it up. We all have our go-to things that make us feel better — a walk in the park, your favorite snack, your happy playlist — but try to incorporate new relaxing tricks you’ve never tried before. You might find something that surprises you and becomes your new favorite feel-good hack.

    Do what makes you happy. Seriously, do only what makes you happy! Of course, your clothes can’t stay in your laundry bin forever, but when you dedicate time to self-care, leave the rest for later. Stay dedicated to taking care of your well-being and choose happiness.

    We all deserve to step away from our busy lives and treat ourselves to a refreshing day every now and then. It’s vital to our health and well-being! Remember to listen to your body, and when it comes time to relax, give yourself the break you need.

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    It may be a delicious treat to us, but chocolate isn’t a good snack for your pets. When large enough portions are ingested by cats or dogs, the symptoms can be life-threatening.

    Coffee and Caffeine

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    The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain a large amount of citric acid, which can trigger irritation and depression in your furry friend.


    Another surprisingly unhealthy treat for your pets, nuts have high amounts of oils and fats, which can lead to vomiting and potentially even pancreatitis in pets.

    Coconut and Coconut Oil

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    Some Bones

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    Bread Dough

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    If your pet has consumed any of these foods, be sure to call your local vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 right away to get their health back on track.

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