October is right around the corner, meaning it’s time to start planning for a Spooktacular Halloween! It’s the time when the air turns crisp, the leaves change color, and the world embraces its spooky side. Whether you're a Halloween enthusiast or starting to dip your toes into the festivities, this blog post is your ultimate guide to making the most of this haunting holiday.
From traditional activities like trick-or-treating to unique experiences like haunted house visits or cemetery tours, there’s something for whatever level of spooky you want. Grab your favorite pumpkin-spiced treat, and let's dive into the 13 must-do activities for a spooktacular Halloween!
1.Trick-or-Treating: The Quintessential Halloween Experience
Possibly the most classic of activities, Trick-or-treating is the heart and soul of Halloween. It's the activity that most people, young and old, associate with October 31. Children decked out in costumes of their favorite characters go door-to-door, saying "trick or treat" to receive treats from neighbors. Historically, candy and sweet treats were handed out. In recent years, people have added more creative options beyond sugary sweets to accommodate dietary differences.
Trick-or-treating is a rite of passage. It's a tradition passed down through generations and continues to be a beloved part of the Halloween experience. Plus, who can resist the allure of free candy?
To get the best Trick-or-Treating experience:
- Plan Your Route: Choose a safe and well-lit area for trick-or-treating. Some neighborhoods even go all out with decorations, making the experience even more magical. Only go to houses that are lit up.
- Safety First: Always go in groups. Younger children should be accompanied by an adult. Stay in neighborhoods you know.
- Costume Safety: Make sure your costume is safe to walk in, and consider adding reflective tape for visibility.
- Check the Weather: Make sure to check temperatures before heading out to be aware of potential storms or inclement weather. If your child doesn’t want to wear a coat, try to layer underneath their costume with thermals. Bring hand warmers that you can slip in their gloves to help keep their hands warm.
- Visit Businesses and Community Trick-or-Treating Events: Check local community and business calendars for early trick-or-treating routes and events. These are often especially good for younger children as they generally happen during earlier hours of the day.
Even if you don’t go trick-or-treating, staying at home and handing out candy is still a great way to spend Halloween night. See all the excited kids in their costumes, use it as a chance to dress up yourself, and even enjoy your own sweet treat.
If you do decide to hand out treats, it’s smart to consider common allergies like nuts when picking what treats to give. A simple solution if you want to hand out a wide variety is to have two bowls, one with more allergy-friendly ingredients and the other will hold everything else. Label them for easy access.
2. Haunted Houses
After trick-or-treating, visiting a haunted house or haunted attraction is another activity that ranks highly for a spooktacular Halloween activity. Haunted houses are specially designed attractions filled with jump scares, creepy characters, and eerie settings. They range from professional setups to homemade haunts in someone's backyard and differ from child-friendly scares to intense, fully immersive experiences where the actors are allowed to touch visitors.
If you're a fan of adrenaline-pumping experiences, haunted houses are for you. They offer a controlled environment where you can face your fears and have a good scream.
When visiting a haunted house, make sure to follow the rules. Each haunted attraction will have its own set of rules. These ensure both the safety of visitors and the performers. Know your own limits. Haunted houses are genuinely meant to be scary.
If a haunted house becomes too much for you, there should be exits available. There is no shame in passing on this one.
A more friendly alternative could also be visiting an escape room. Instead of having to face jump scares and more frightening imagery, an escape room is great for families or a group of friends to collaborate together to solve puzzles to escape from a room before time runs out.
Escape rooms often have themes with different types of challenges you have to overcome to escape from the room in the allotted time frame. While there are some horror-themed escape rooms, it is much easier to find ones the entire family will enjoy.
If haunted houses or escape rooms aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of other Halloween family-fun activities to fill your October.
3. Visit a Pumpkin Patch
A pumpkin patch is yet another autumn and Halloween classic. Pumpkin patches often let visitors pick their own pumpkins right off the vine. Find the perfect pumpkins to use as fall decorations, make into pumpkin pie or other delicious goodies, and, of course, carve or paint your very own jack-o-lantern.
Pumpkin patches are an easy Halloween activity to bring the entire family to. They are often locally owned, so not only are you getting a fun fall activity, but you’re also supporting local farmers.
Many patches will have photo opportunities, homemade treats, and other activities like hayrides, petting zoos, and corn mazes. It’s always a good idea to bring cash with you, as some smaller patches only accept cash. Check the weather before you leave and bring hats, gloves, and jackets if it’s supposed to be chilly or sunscreen and a hat if it’s going to be a warm day.
4. Pumpkin Carving or Painting
Now that you’ve visited a pumpkin patch, it’s time to decide what to do with all those pumpkins. Carving or painting a pumpkin to put on your porch for the Halloween season is a great way to spend time and festively decorate your home for the season.
Pumpkin carving involves hollowing out a pumpkin and carving a design into its surface. The carved pumpkin, also known as a jack-o'-lantern, is then usually lit from the inside with a candle. If you don’t want to light it up with an open flame, people have begun replacing real candles with fake, battery-powered candles for a safer option.
If there are little ones in your home, carving pumpkins can be a daunting task. A great alternative is to pull out some paints and let them paint designs and faces on their pumpkin instead. Not only is this potentially less messy and sharp knives don’t have to be involved, but the pumpkins will last a little longer than carved ones.
Either way, if you decide to decorate a pumpkin for your spooktacular season, it will be a great time to unleash everyone’s creativity.
Consider these tips for a smooth pumpkin decorating session:
- Choose the Right Pumpkin: This will mean something different to everyone, depending on the shape and what they are hoping to carve or paint. Typically, it’s recommended to look for a pumpkin that is smooth, has no bruises, and sits flat.
- Setup a Designated Painting or Carving Station: To avoid having a huge mess to clean up, place down newspaper, a large drop cloth, or something similar to protect surfaces from messes. Have the tools you need already out and set up to prevent pumpkin guts or paint from being spread around the house.
- Use Pumpkin Decorating Kits: Many stores will sell special pumpkin carving or decorating kits that include the necessary tools.
- Safety First: If you choose to carve a pumpkin, remember to always carve away from yourself, and if children are involved, make sure an adult handles the carving.
Have fun showing off your newly decorated jack-o-lanterns on your porch once you’re finished. If you carved them, don’t forget a candle (real or fake) to light it up from the inside.
Once the end of the season comes, if you want to do more than simply throw or compost your pumpkin, look for a pumpkin smashing event. This is a great way to get one last hurrah with your pumpkin while smashing it in a controlled environment.
5. Costume Party or Parade to Show Off Your Halloween Spirit
A costume party or parade is an event where people gather to show off their Halloween costumes. These events range from small gatherings at someone's home to large, organized parades. Schools will often host these for their students as well as local neighborhoods and church groups.
Costume parties are not only a great reason to dress up in fun costumes, but also to play seasonal games, eat themed foods, and watch scary movies.
Costumes can be made or bought. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase your creativity. Other ways to make costume parties fun are to create themes for them, get a group together and do a group costume, or host a costume competition to see who has the most impressive or creative costume.
6. DIY Halloween Decorations
A creative way to spend your Halloween month is crafting your own decorations. This can range from cute projects for children to more in-depth, complicated options. Either way, it’s a great way to get into the spirit.
Not sure where to start?
Local craft stores often stock cute, seasonal projects that come in ready-to-make sets that are the perfect starting point. YouTube, blogs, and reels will also contain lots of fun ideas for you to try covering a wide range of skill levels and required equipment.
It doesn’t have to be a big complicated project. Keep it as simple as you want. Pull out some construction paper and cut out bats, pumpkins, and ghosts. Print off coloring pages. The ideas are endless for Halloween family fun.
7. Halloween Movie Marathon
A Halloween movie marathon involves watching a series of Halloween-themed movies back-to-back. This is an easy Halloween activity, and the great thing about Halloween movies is the wide range of ages and types they cover. From children’s fun-filled movies that showcase the joys of trick-or-treating or a local neighborhood mystery to full-blown horror films with all the blood, jump scares, and intense storylines a person could want.
Halloween-themed movie marathons are perfect for when you want to celebrate but stay home. Cozy up with blankets, popcorn and treats, watch a movie, and enjoy a comfy way to celebrate the spooky season.
There are tons of movies out there for all age groups. Here are some classic Halloween movies to start with, ranging from family-friendly to horror-filled:
- “The Nightmare Before Christmas'': This Tim Burton classic has had a cult following since its release in 1993. Follow Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, as he discovers Christmas and decides to take it over from Sandy Claws.
- “Hocus Pocus”: Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” is another long-time favorite. Follow what happens when a coven of witches is reawakened by accident, and the protagonists must steal their book to save everyone.
- “The Addams Family”: Follow this kooky, dark-loving family as they live their lives in contrast to the norm.
- “The Sixth Sense”: M. Night Shyamalan’s quintessential thriller follows a child psychologist helping a child who sees dead people.
- “Halloween”: This film franchise originally starred Jamie Lee Curtis and follows the story of Michael Meyers and his thirst for murder.
- “Scream”: A film that is both satirical, funny, and scary, “Scream” is about a masked killer who stalks high-school students in a suburban neighborhood.
- “The Conjuring”: For those who love the paranormal, “The Conjuring’ follows a demonologist couple as they help a family of five who have been experiencing supernatural phenomena.
If you still want to get out of the house to celebrate but prefer how low-key a movie is, check your local movie theater to see what new scary movies might be playing. Some theaters might even host Halloween specials playing iconic classics.
8. Scary Stories by a Campfire
Spooky stories are always a good idea around Halloween, but tell them around a fire for added ambiance. It combines the love of campfire stories with the spooktacular Halloween element. Take turns sharing your favorite spooky stories, find a book with short stories that give you goosebumps, or make them up as you go.
The flickering flames and the dark surroundings add an extra layer of spookiness to the storytelling, making it perfect for hair-raising stories.
Don’t forget to dress warm, as temperatures often drop at night. Bring fun treats like s’mores, or other things you can roast over the fire while telling scary tales.
9. Corn Maze and Hayrides
Corn mazes and hayrides are perfect for Halloween family fun. Local farms will cut their cornfields into fun mazes for people to venture through trying to find the exit. Tractor or horse-drawn hay rides are often paired with corn mazes and sometimes even pumpkin patches. Pair a hay ride with a warm cup of cocoa or cider and enjoy the cool ride around the scenic location.
Both activities offer a rustic, traditional fall experience that can be a fun and less scary alternative for families with younger children.
Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes if you plan to do the corn maze. Visit during the daytime for more family-friendly times or at night when spooky friends might come out to play.
10. Make and Eat Fall-Themed Treats
Tis the season of pumpkin spice, apple cider, and candy corn. It’s the best time to indulge in all kinds of delicious treats that come around during the fall. While there are some classic food items associated with Halloween, don’t let that stop you from trying a new tasty recipe. Of course, if you’re looking for a classic treat to make, try one of these:
- Pumpkin Pie: A classic fall dessert, pumpkin pie is the perfect treat to make after carving your pumpkins.
- Caramel Apples: Fresh apples dipped in creamy caramel and then dipped in a wide variety of toppings, caramel apples allow for a lot of creativity. Add nuts, chocolate, sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs, or candy pieces for a delicious treat.
- Apple Cider: A great drink to warm yourself up with after a chilly day. Apple cider can also be made into a cold treat such as a slushy.
- Donuts: From glazed to unique flavors like cinnamon sugar, pumpkin spice, or apple cider, donuts are a fall favorite.
- Sugar cookies: The best part about sugar cookies is how adaptable they are to any season. Cut them into fun-themed shapes and decorate them with frosting, sprinkles, and candy.
This is definitely the tastiest way to celebrate the season and delight in some of the unique flavors that autumn has to offer. It’s also an easy Halloween activity to enjoy for a while after the hard part is over.
Don’t want to deal with the hassle of baking and cleaning up. Look up specialty treats from restaurants or pair another activity with getting a treat while you’re out. Places like Cornbelly’s offer yummy treats to add to the experience, like pumpkin donuts, caramel apples, funnel cakes, and so many more.
11. Cemetery Tours
This one might sound a little strange. Cemetery tours often take place in graveyards with historical relevance with recognizable figures or events. Museums or local history associations will put on tours for special events, especially around Halloween. These tours can be self-guided with maps or have a historian guide you through the cemetery. Some will even include “ghosts” — hired actors — standing next to their graves to share their stories.
This is a great educational experience. Learn more about the history of the area as well as about the people who resided there. Remember to be respectful while visiting graveyards and consider donating to programs to help restore and preserve old headstones.
12. Tarot Card Readings
If you’re a fan of the occult, the mystical, or even curious about what your future might hold, then getting a tarot card reading is another one to add to your list.
When looking to get your cards read, look for a reputable tarot reader. Find one by searching local events to see if they have hired one as part of the entertainment. Check reviews and ratings, and ask for recommendations if any of your friends have someone they have used or trust.
When you get a reading, remember to keep an open mind. Tarot readings are often symbolic and are open to interpretation. Tarot readers will do their best to help you understand your cards, but there will always be some subjectivity to them.
13. Host a Murder Mystery Party
Hosting a Murder Mystery Party is the perfect time to invite a handful of friends together to have dinner and enact a murder mystery. This will take more planning and preparation than the majority of the other activities, but don’t let that deter you.
There are many different kinds of murder mystery party guides or boxed sets that have everything you need to plan it out, from the invitations to everyone’s character they will be acting out during the party.
If you’re more practiced at hosting this kind of party, you can try your hand at writing and creating your own story for the party for an even more original take. This can add a fun challenge and allows you to create your own theme instead of choosing from pre-existing ones.
Murder mystery parties truly encapsulate the Halloween experience. They encourage costumes, role-playing, thrilling storylines, and often delicious food.
Spooktacular Halloween Happenings at Cornbelly’s
Halloween offers a wide variety of activities for all ages to enjoy. Cornbelly’s is adding to the fun by incorporating multiple of the above 13 activities, plus others to amp up the Halloween family fun.
Bring the family or friends and enjoy multiple of your favorite spooktacular Halloween activities like exploring a huge corn maze, Scarytales & S’mores around a campfire, the trick-or-treat parade, and Cornbelly’s own haunted house — Insanity Point Extreme.
The spooky-good fun doesn’t stop there. Check out the Twistical Light Show & Fireworks, the Halloween Night Parade, the Spookley Puppet Show, the Candy Cannon, and more. Don’t forget to grab a snack or sweet treat while you’re there. A pumpkin donut will help you get into the Halloween spirit.
End the season on a high note with the Halloween Bash & Pumpkin Smash on October 30. There will be the annual pumpkin smash, a costume contest, pumpkin pie eating, trick-or-treating, a night parade, the Twistical light show, and more all wrapped into this one night.
Add Cornbelly’s to your list of October festivities. Get your tickets to the Fall Festival or Insanity Point for a fun ghoul time.