alternatives to halloween

21 Fantastic Family Alternatives to Halloween For This Year

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21 Fantastic Family Alternatives to Halloween For This Year

Halloween is filled with ghosts, goblins and all kinds of scary stuff, but that’s just one side of the holiday. Not everyone loves creepy costumes, gruesome decorations, horror movies, and trick or treating. There are plenty of family friendly alternatives to Halloween. Some prefer a milder, more family-orientated way to spend the holiday.

If you don’t celebrate Halloween, this doesn’t mean your children can’t still enjoy a great time. There’s no reason to stay in and feel left out when there are so many other fun things you can do instead!

21 Great Family Alternatives to Halloween. If you don't celebrate Halloween there are still plenty of fun family friendly options to enjoy!

Here are 21 great family alternatives to Halloween you might enjoy:

1. Carve or decorate pumpkins. Instead of making scary jack-o-lanterns, get a friendly competition to see who can carve or draw the funniest, cutest, or weirdest pumpkin faces.

2. Bake fall treats with the kids. This time of year is perfect for baking homemade sugar cookies, pumpkin pies, apple pies, cakes, brownies, and more.

3. Decorate your home inside and out for autumn. Many decorating ideas don’t include ghosts, goblins, or anything scary. Use pumpkins, fall foliage, candles, metal art, wagons, hay, and similar items to create beautiful décor for your home.

4. Watch movies together as a family. Pop some popcorn, sit back, and relax for a while on Halloween day as you binge-watch your favorite TV show or movies. Skip the scary stuff and ring in the fall season with things your family will enjoy.

5. Have a backyard BBQ. Backyard BBQs are always a big hit any time of the year, and fall is no exception. Invite your family or close friends over for a nice, quiet, but fun way to spend the holiday. If it’s too cold to enjoy outside, you can do it in your kitchen, living room, or a covered patio or sunroom.

6. Take part in local events. Many communities host a harvest festival, carnival, fair, music festival, or some other type of event that includes games, food, music, and more for the whole family to enjoy. Look for events that are advertised as fall festivals and not Halloween events.

7. Put together a fall scavenger hunt. These are almost as much fun to make as they are to follow the clues and look for the prize. Be sure to have something special for the winner to make the hunt more exciting.

8. Host your own un-Halloween party. By hosting your own party, you choose how to celebrate the holiday. For example, you can allow costumes but exclude scary, gruesome, or inappropriate ones or decorate with fall foliage instead of witches, black cats, and scary jack-o-lanterns. Or, choose a different theme altogether.

9. Host (or attend) a Trunk or Treat event. Many churches host their own version of trick or treating by putting together a Trunk or Treat event. Everyone who wants to participate will park their cars in the church parking lot, dress up in non-scary costumes, and hand out candy to the kids who walk by their car.

10. Camp out in your backyard. Things look really different at night, even in your own backyard. Make smores, tell stories, and look up at the stars. If it’s too cold or not practical to camp outside, make your living room your campground for one night.

11. Hay rides and pumpkin picking are a great way to spend the fall season. These two things go together perfectly, and it’s a lot of fun, especially for younger kids.

12. Have a bonfire on the beach. Get your friends together and make plans to build a bonfire and party on the beach for the night of or the weekend of the 31st. Be sure to abide by your state’s regulations when building the fire for safety reasons.

13. Make crafts together. Craft making is a great way to spend the fall season or the holiday as a family, and there are so many things to do. For example, make your own fall decorations and then have a blast putting them up around your home.

14. Have a special family game night where you play games like Monopoly or Pictionary. If it’s nice outside, play ball, have a bean bag toss and other outdoor games. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and exercise before you’re stuck inside throughout the winter months.

15. Plan a backyard pumpkin hunt. Buy a bunch of little pumpkins, or collect some plastic ones and plan a pumpkin hunt in your backyard. Kids will love it just as much as hunting for Easter eggs. You could also paint numbers on the bottoms of some of them that correspond with prizes.

16. Create amazing family photos. This is something you can have a great time doing together, and you’ll be making memories to share with future generations. Make your own photo booth, dress up, and take lots of pictures together. Then, make a scrapbook to keep them in every year and compare photos.

17. Go walking, hiking, and skating, or take part in some type of similar activity. It’s a beautiful time of year to get outside, enjoy nature, and have some fun. You could also collect fall items like leaves, acorns, and pinecones while you’re out.

18. Have a day or night out. Go shopping, out to dinner, the movies, or wherever it is your family enjoys spending their free time. There is no better way to celebrate a holiday than by spending it with the ones you love doing the things you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be Halloween-themed to be fun. There are so many alternatives to Halloween once you leave the house. 

19. Visit the zoo or a theme park like SeaWorld or Disney World. Fall is a great time to take the family to your favorite theme park or spend time at the zoo watching and learning all about the different types of animals that co-exist with each other and humans across the globe.

20. Do a good deed and help someone in need. This could be anything from volunteering to help feed the homeless to cooking a special dinner for an elderly couple or a family in need in your neighborhood. You’ll feel good about giving back to the community and doing something positive this time of year.

21. Have a family talk night. After dinner, gather together and talk about your family’s history. Tell the kids how and where you met or talk about how things were when you were their age. Take this opportunity to help your kids understand you better and to teach them about grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Let them ask questions, and do your best to answer all that you can.

You don’t have to dress up as one of the walking dead or decorate your front yard with fake graves and skeletons to enjoy this time of year. There are so many other options available.

Bring your family closer together and build memories that will last a life time with one or more of these twenty-one alternatives to Halloween listed above.

Snag a FREE Fall Activity Pack for Preschoolers HERE

Homeschool FALL Fun for Littles with Books & Preschool Unit Study


  1. Cool ideas! I like the ‘host your own party’ option. Halloween isn’t even a thing here in NZ (although the big stores try hard to make it a thing), it’s just never been part of our culture.

  2. I’m glad someone like you thought to put a list like this together! I love the pumpkin hunt idea!

  3. Kristi

    Such a great list of fun things to do with the family! We will be getting together with some other families.

  4. I liked some of the ideas here, Courtney.
    We don’t do anything Halloween related and we don’t carve pumpkins either. Working overseas as missionaries have taught us the reality of witchcraft that does happen on Halloween night. Thank God, my kids can’t stand Halloween, we even void going into stores at this time of the year with all their bizarre Halloween products everywhere. Nothing glorifying to God.

    1. You are right Ana, we have to extremely careful! It looks like harmless fun to most, but that’s part of the deception.

  5. What a great compilation of Halloween alternatives. These can be adapted to almost any family budget, too.

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