What to Do for Halloween: 23 Enchanting Ideas for Spooky Fun

Published September 8, 2021
Grandfather and granddaughter carving a pumpkin

While the standard Halloween activities of trick-or-treating or going to a costume party are lots of fun, sometimes you want to avoid crowds or try a completely new way to celebrate. If you're wondering what to do for Halloween that's a bit more creative and cool, these ideas will make your celebration spook-tacular.

Creative Halloween Ideas for the Whole Family

Whether you have young kids or teens, there are lots of ways to celebrate together. Try some of these unique options.

Read a Scary Story Together

Reading a spooky story as a family can become your new Halloween tradition. From not-too-scary kids' books to truly terrifying adult stories, you can scale the book to the age of your kids or family. Dim the lights, set out some candles, and try out your scariest voices for the characters.

Hold a Family Face Painting Night

Teenage girl with homemade face painting

If you're hoping to celebrate Halloween at home this year or want to add a little extra flair to your traditional festivities, a family face painting night is a great way to make the evening super fun and creative. Pick up some face paints at any store and review some Halloween face painting tips to get started. You can look at photos for inspiration or simply improvise with your own designs. The great thing about face paint is that it washes off (important when the face painters are kids). It's easy to try again until you get the exact look you want.

Put on a Play

If your family is a bit theatrical, you can put on a play for friends on Halloween. Write your own skit, or choose a scene from Macbeth, Alice in Wonderland, or a favorite Halloween movie. Make costumes and sets, and take some time to rehearse together. This could become your new favorite way to celebrate Halloween.

Have a Halloween Bake-Off

Have a family Halloween bake-off with lots of delicious delicacies. You can use traditional Halloween recipes or invent your own. Each family member can create a special offering, and then on Halloween night, everyone can sample the spooky selection of treats. This is a great way to celebrate Halloween with the extended family too.

Dance the Night Away to Spooky Tunes

Young girls dancing and wearing homemade crowns

Create a Halloween playlist of your favorite spooky music, such as Thriller, Monster Mash, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Then string up some lights or hang a disco ball and blast those ghoulish tunes. Bonus points for dancing in costume and for getting some great videos of your dance party.

Have a Halloween Movie Night

Everyone loves watching scary movies at Halloween, and this is a fun activity for all ages. Simply choose the right movie for the ages of the people watching it, keeping in mind that younger kids could be scared by real horror films. Make popcorn and have some Halloween candy treats while you watch the show.

Get Your Halloween Craft On

Smiling little boy cutting out for Halloween decoration at home

Halloween is a great time to have a family craft night. You can make anything you like, but Halloween-themed crafts are the most fun. Use everyday objects to create incredible Halloween decoration for your home, including mummies made out of toilet paper tubes and ghosts made out of fall leaves. This is a wonderful way to celebrate with kids of all ages.

Light Some Fireworks

Fireworks aren't just for the Fourth of July. You can set them off anytime, as long as it's okay with your city or town. Use some of your Independence Day leftovers to celebrate or pick up some special fireworks and sparklers just for Halloween. This is a great way to celebrate outside with friends if people are sick and you don't want to get too close.

Carve a Different Kind of Squash

Butternut Squash Goblin

Pumpkins get all the attention at Halloween, but you can create a new tradition by decorating other types of squash. Butternut squash is extra fun because of its shape, but any type of squash can allow for creativity.

Unique Halloween Celebration Ideas for Adults

Celebrating with kids is fun, but there are also lots of great ideas for things to do on Halloween with adults. Whether you're celebrating as a couple, spending a fun-filled night at home on your own, or having some friends over, everyone will love these ideas.

Place Some Prank Calls

Woman Wearing Bunny Mask Bunny Costume Talking On Telephone

Sure, prank calls are a bit juvenile, but Halloween is the perfect time to indulge your immature side. Make a list of friends and family you can prank and start dialing. You'll need to call from a landline to make this work, since your cell phone number will give you away. Remember, don't make the calls too scary, and always let people know it's you by the end of the call.

Make Your Own Halloween Scented Candles

You can host a candle-making party with friends or simply make lots of great candles to give out to people you know. You can use any candle-making recipe that works for you. Make smaller candles, such as votives, if you'll be giving them away. If you're keeping the candles, you can make larger ones to make your home smell spooky and divine. There are lots of Halloween candle scents to try, including pumpkin, apple cider, and candy corn.

Have a Franken-Doll Contest

Bizarre old doll at the flea market

There's nothing quite as creepy as a doll constructed from other parts. Whether you're getting together in person for a party or just want to exchange photos of your creations, you can have a scary assembled doll contest with friends. Everyone can get cast-off dolls and other items at the thrift store or garage sales and then reassemble them in creative and terrifying ways. They'll work as amazing Halloween decorations for years to come.

Create Some Halloween Cocktails

Whether you're having friends over for an informal Halloween get-together or simply want to celebrate with a little home mixology, you can create some incredible Halloween cocktails. Mix it up with spiked caramel apple cider and devilish cinnamon shots, or experiment with different colors and flavors to create your own ghoulish recipes.

Host a Halloween Manicure Night

Pumpkin and Witch Legs Nail Art Design

Manicures are always a great way to provide a little self-care, but they can also make an awesome way to celebrate Halloween. Get some friends together and pick up the supplies to create some Halloween-themed nail art designs. Paint your nails with candy corn colors, add skull decals, or simply go with green glitter for a witchy look. No matter what you choose, everyone will have a great time.

Hold an Adult Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are an exciting way to celebrate Halloween, especially if you need to party at a distance. It's really great to have an adult Halloween scavenger hunt with a fun theme like items from the 70s, super scary props, movie-related items, or anything else that sounds cool. Start by making a map and hiding items for your friends to find. When you're ready to do the hunt, pass out clues and let everyone have some spooky fun.

What to Do for Halloween During Covid

If someone is sick or you're just trying to keep your distance, you don't have to let the pandemic ruin your Halloween plans. These ideas are perfect for celebrating at a distance.

Set Up a Front Porch Portrait for Halloween

Trick or treat with family

Front porch portraits are a great way to document a moment or holiday at a moment and show how your family is doing. You can post the portrait to social media or simply keep it as a memento of your celebration. Hire a professional photographer or ask a talented friend to stop by to shoot some photos of the whole family dressed up for Halloween and posing together on your front porch.

Visit the Pumpkin Patch

Because it's outside, a pumpkin patch makes a great place to have a socially-distanced Halloween celebration. You can meet family and friends there and choose your pumpkins. Then go home and carve jack o'lanterns outside together at picnic tables or card tables in your yard. Be sure to dress warmly so everyone stays cozy.

Hold a Dog Costume Contest

Halloween vampire dog

There's nothing cuter than a dog dressed up for Halloween - except maybe another costumed canine. Holding a dog costume contest is a great way to get your spooky spirits up. Send out an invitation to friends and family via email or text, and give them plenty of time to plan a costume for their furry friends. When Halloween arrives, have everyone parade their pooch past the judges. You can give out prizes and awards to make the competition even more fun.

Have a Neighborhood Halloween Parade

Hosing a Halloween parade is a great way to celebrate this fun holiday without getting too close. Start by picking a date and time and a parade route. Then print up flyers to put in mailboxes and tape to posts or signs. When the big day arrives, everyone can parade through the neighborhood showing off their costumes. It will be a memorable event for kids in the parade, as well as anyone lucky enough to watch the procession.

Have a Halloween Picnic

Mother and son at park on picnic during Halloween

Whether you're celebrating with family but want to stay outside or are getting together with friends, a Halloween picnic is a unique way to make the holiday special. Choose a park and bring plenty of Halloween food and treats. Decorate tables with spider webs and pumpkins, and come in costume if you dare. Bonus points for lots of candy.

Set Up a Front Door Decorating Contest

Decorating your home for Halloween is fun, whether you're getting together with people or staying distant. You can organize a neighborhood contest for the best front door decoration. Just get in contact with everyone and give them plenty of time to plan their decor. Then on Halloween, everyone can drive around and vote for the best door in the neighborhood.

Build a Halloween Bonfire

Friends roasting marshmallows and playing guitar by the campfire

A bonfire is a festive way to celebrate Halloween outside, and it allows for plenty of socially distancing if people are sick. Invite friends and family and have plenty of hot apple cider or hot cocoa to help everyone stay warm. You can even get flame color powders you can toss into the fire to turn it spooky and magical colors. Don't forget the marshmallows.

Make a Halloween Scrapbook at a Distance

If you can't celebrate with friends or family this year, try making a Halloween scrapbook together instead. Each family or group can create a page of the book, using photos of kids in costume and lots of fun Halloween scrapbook paper and embellishments. Then each group can send the page to you, and you can turn them into an album that each family can take turns enjoying. It's a great way to stay connected and celebrate together.

Plenty of Inspiration for Halloween Fun

If you think beyond the traditional, you won't have to wonder what to do on Halloween. Try one of the ideas on this list or check out some printable Halloween activities. Whether you're celebrating with family, having a socially distanced holiday, or just chilling at home, Halloween offers plenty of inspiration for fun.

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What to Do for Halloween: 23 Enchanting Ideas for Spooky Fun