Many families have very solid reasons for not wanting to participate in Halloween activities, but that does not mean kids have to sit around feeling bored or left out. There are numerous alternatives to Halloween traditions that offer ways for children to celebrate this exciting time of year, have fun, and socialize with other friends.

Here are five of those ways to avoid celebrating Halloween, keeping in mind traditional fall activities while avoiding the ghoulish influences of Halloween.

Fall Festivals

Churches or community centers will sometimes provide fall or harvest festivals. These offer a chance for children to wear costumes, collect candy, and socialize with their friends without the traditional Halloween-focused activities. Typically, these will involve games and prizes, allowing for “earned” candy instead of the sometimes frowned upon “begging” associated with trick-or-treating. Check your local community boards or church websites for information on any of these festivals occurring this year in your area.

Pumpkin Hunt

Similar to an Easter egg hunt, consider having your child decorate small pumpkins with paint, glitter, glue, beads—whatever they can think of. After they are done and the pumpkins are dry, hide these around your house or yard. You can have some fun with lighting to make it more difficult or more like a party with multi-colored or strobe lights. Once it’s all over, they can exchange every pumpkin they find for a piece of candy or a prize. If looking for options away from your home, corn mazes and pumpkin patches can be great outings for a beautiful fall day.

Candlelight Game Night

If your family’s plan is to stay home the evening of the 31st, trick-or-treaters may be stopping by your house as they go through your neighborhood. To help avoid this, you can make sure your porch lights are turned off. Another fun idea may be to turn off all your house lights and plan a game night by candlelight. This not only helps to deter candy-seekers but can also serve as a teachable moment about life before electricity. Lighting candles or using oil lamps while having a game night will help to create unique, fun memories and may be a perfect alternative Halloween tradition.

Book Characters

Some schools have adopted book character parades instead of Halloween parties, but you can apply this concept in your home as well. Have your child pick out a favorite book. Depending on ages, have them either read it to you or read themselves. Once done, they can help design and create a costume based on their favorite character in order to role play and act out the events of the book. Have them discuss with you the reasons they like the book and this specific character. This experience will become not only a fun reason to dress up but also a learning experience as they evaluate a book and critique characters.

Charitable Treating

Instead of the usual trick-or-treating, where kids get candy for basically threatening to pull a prank if they don’t, take advantage of an opportunity for your child to give instead of take. Discuss a local charity or cause your child wants to support. In lieu of accepting candy, your child can create a simple craft or baked good to give away, asking in return for a small donation to their charity of choice, only if able. Once the collected funds are donated and your child discovers the joys of giving instead of receiving, perhaps then treat them to ice cream or something special to show just how proud you are of their selflessness and thoughtfulness.


For those of you who choose not to celebrate Halloween, what are some fun alternatives you have done for your children? Please comment below with your ideas—we’d love to hear from you!

Related Topics

Interested in learning more about k12's online schools and courses?