Alternative Halloween Activities

Last week as I picked up the little one from Nursery, I spotted the notice on the board requesting that kids should come dressed up as a Halloween character on the 31st of October. My heart sank for a couple of reasons:

  • Lack of desire or time to go costume shopping for a 1 year old
  • Halloween is not a period I celebrate or observe in any way
Autumn leaves image with Alternative halloween activities ideas text

That said, I don’t want him feeling like he’s missing out as he gets older. This got me thinking about traditions we could start that wasn’t Halloween-centred and would hopefully make lasting memories.

After a brief brainstorming session and some Googling, I came up with the following shortlist:

Dressing Up

It’s no secret that Halloween is big on dressing up so why not choose positive characters instead of skeletons and the like.

Some Christians sites suggest dressing up as characters from the Bible forgetting that the Devil, Witchcraft and Spirits are also mentioned in there. Sticking to positive characters hopefully covers all bases. I’m thinking cute animals, superheroes, angels, shepherds or other humans.

Growing up, I don’t remember dressing up for anything apart from trying on my parents clothes at home. This may explain my lack of enthusiasm for costume-making/acquisition.

Parties with a twist

To avoid being invited to Halloween parties, host your own with a positive vibe. Maybe incorporate some positive dressing up (see above). Play non-spooky games. Drink “normal” coloured beverages instead of fluorescent gloop. Eat food you recognise rather than those made to look like it’s been regurgitated by a an unwashed troll. Do Trolls wash?  Anyways, you get the idea. Maybe host it somewhere public where you can invite kids in the community too. Could be a great event for a Church.

Treats with a message

If hosting your own party is too adventurous, go reverse treating with a pack of sweets and a nice message included. A memory verse perhaps. What on earth is reverse treating? Well, it’s my made up term for door to door to give treats instead of receiving them. Could be fun with the kids and they could dress up too (again positively).

Alternatively, prep your pack, stay at home and hand them out if trick or treaters come knocking. Probably best to not binge on the sweets in one night if you don’t get any callers though.

Pumpkin Picking and Carving

Pumpkin picking is a fun event to do with kids but instead of carving scary faces, try a happy one or make them into Christmas lights. You could go to town on this one. For a Gospel element, symbols like the cross would go down well and memory verses too.

If inviting others, maybe get them to bring to already-hollowed out pumpkins to save on the mess 😉

Family affair

If you are not up for socialising or talking to strangers then why not make it an intimate family gathering. Perhaps watch a movie from the non-horror genre together of course, play a fun game (you know, the one that takes too long but is actually quite fun) or plan Christmas (yes I said the C word in October).
There you have it. Some ideas for alternative activities for Halloween if that’s your preference. If it were up to me, I would simply let the occasion pass me by as I didn’t grow up in an environment that celebrated Halloween. However, I appreciate that having a children may throw you into uncharted territory so I’m willing to be flexible as long as my beliefs are not compromised. I mean who came up with Hell Houses as a Church event? Dan Edelen has an interesting take on all of this and even compares Halloween activities with the Alternatives.

Have you had or are you planning an alternative Halloween event? If so, let me know what is and why.

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12 thoughts on “Alternative Halloween Activities

  1. Some years I enjoy getting into the Halloween spirit, but this year I simply don’t have time. We are off to a Halloween party and really need to find something for my daughter to wear, but don’t want to spend much for a couple of hours!

  2. These are some great ideas. I actually love Halloween as I grew up with it, but in the shops today, I just felt pretty disgusted about how everything Halloween related these days seems to be plastic tat! Definitely love these alternative suggestions…

  3. Love the idea about the Christmas Pumpkins, can imagine they will look great. I actually really like Halloween, I don’t like the comercialisation, but thats the same with most things nawadays!

  4. I love Hallowe’en. It originates from the Celtic tradition, so growing up in Scotland it was obviously a big thing here, and still is. We usually go for spooky costumes, because the idea behind that is to scare off evil spirits – and not, as portrayed in many American movies, anything to do with Devil worship – so in a way it is positive.

  5. I personally enjoy Halloween (or should I say that I always enjoyed the fun my kids got out of it) but nothing should be pushed on anyone, so to say that kids must dress up for nursery is not okay in my opinion. I think it is very important we don’t push our own personal views on our kids, though, and although you might not celebrate in your own house, I don’t think kids should be made to feel different or that they are missing out. As you said though, you don’t need to dress them up as skeletons – a cuddly animal is still a costume!

  6. Thank you for sharing these awesome tips. We should really stop scaring kids with some of these dreadful costumes. I really like the idea of carving a happy face.

  7. That’s a greta little list. I wasn’t keen on Halloween either before my children started showing a real interest. Carving a pumpkin is fun, especially when you can do it there and then where you pick it (no mess at home!).

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