11 Trick-or-Treat Alternatives for a Fun Halloween at Home

Plan a fun night for the whole family!

Trick-or-treating is officially back on this year, but big Halloween parties are still a no-go, and group activities aren't a good idea in general for those who aren't (or can't be) vaccinated yet. So as the holiday approaches, we're making plans for an at-home Halloween.

Of course, even though trick-or-treating is back, you don't have to participate if you don't feel comfortable doing so. That might not be a popular decision with the little ones, but fortunately, we've got tons of alternative ideas that are just as fun—and still, involve plenty of candy!

Our biggest recommendation is to keep things as normal as possible: Let the kids decide what they want to be and make a big deal about dressing up on Halloween. Add in one or more of these festive Halloween activities, and they'll be so busy having fun that they won't be thinking about missing the usual festivities.

little boy with diy cactus costume and props
Andrea Hanki

Have a Virtual Costume Party

Even if the whole friend group can't go door-to-door, you can still show off your costumes! Have your little ones dress up in their DIY Halloween costumes and plan a virtual costume party so they can show their friends their new look. To make sure the virtual event goes off without a hitch, coordinate the details the week before. Find a time that works for everyone then send out email invitations with a link to the Zoom or Google Hangout meeting. Depending on how much time you want to fill, you could also plan a virtual game for the kids to play together when everyone has presented their costumes.

Organize a Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Make your kids feel special this holiday with a festive activity created just for them. Hide some candy and create a scavenger hunt around the house with clues about different locations written on orange cardstock. Once the kids are in costume, hand them the first clue and watch as they collect the hidden candy or prizes in their trick-or-treat bags.

Victorian style black and grey Halloween haunted house advent calendar
Courtesy of Etsy

Hang a Halloween Advent Calendar

Make the month leading up to Halloween extra special with a spooky countdown calendar. Halloween advent calendars exist, and they're the perfect way to get your whole family in the spooky spirit. Fill each drawer or pocket of your calendar with candy and small prizes that the kids can discover each day.

Send Halloween Cards

Halloween typically isn't a greeting card holiday, but sending Halloween cards became one of our new favorite traditions during the pandemic. Help the kids craft some homemade Halloween cards from cardstock, markers, and glue, then mail them off to all their friends or out-of-town family members. If DIY isn't your thing, add Halloween greeting cards to your next pick-up order. You can even attach a piece of candy to each card—just be sure to attach an extra postage stamp to the envelope.

halloween ghost cookies on orange background
Andy Lyons

Decorate Holiday Cookies

Since trick-or-treating is back this year, you may find yourself with an overload of candy. Once you've munched on all the Snickers and Reese's you can, start baking with your favorite candy! Whip up one of these festive Halloween desserts that use Halloween candy, or make a batch of Halloween cookies and spend Halloween at home decorating cookies with the family.

Carve Pumpkins

We're ready for our front porches to be full of smiles and laughter on Halloween night as little princesses and monsters walk up to say "trick-or-treat." This year, create a fun family night on your front porch by setting up a pumpkin carving station. Pick up some pumpkins, play some spooky music, and get to work carving jack-o'-lanterns with our free pumpkin carving stencils and a pumpkin carving kit.

Eat Halloween Candy

Most kids' favorite part about trick-or-treating is the candy—so if your family isn't participating in trick-or-treating this year, make sure they still get their sugar fix. Add a bag (or two!) to your next grocery pickup order and let the kids have fun sorting, counting, and eating the treats.

Alice & Lois

Make Halloween Crafts

As brisk October weather approaches, kids are sure to be looking for new indoor activities. Luckily, we have no shortage of fun Halloween craft ideas (and free printables!) to help keep them busy and entertained all season long. On Halloween weekend, set up a craft station and set them loose to create whatever they like—while in costume, of course!

Tell Ghost Stories

Older kids will get a thrill out of this family activity. Light up the backyard fire pit and gather around it with enough hot apple cider and s'mores ingredients for everyone. As you roast marshmallows, go around the circle and tell age-appropriate ghost stories and spooky tales. If you need help getting started, the collection of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark ($12, Target) is a favorite among older kids and pre-teens.

cute Halloween treat bag labels
Carson Downing

Make Individual Treat Bags

Whether you're organizing a scavenger hunt, eating candy straight out of the bag (no shame!), or rationing it out during the virtual costume party, individual candy bags will bring a familiar touch to the evening. These creative candy bags and containers are easy to put together, and kids will appreciate the feeling of carrying around a treat bag full of chocolates, even if they aren't going door-to-door. Dress up a paper bag with markers and stickers, or use our free printable tags to transform a recycled gift bag into a festive Halloween prop.

Host a Candy Hunt

Who says hunting around the house for candy can only be done at Easter time? This season, put on an Easter egg hunt of sorts, but hide Halloween candy instead. Buy a set number of candy bars (be sure to count them!) and hide them around the house during the day. Once the kids are in their costumes and everyone has a treat bag, set them loose on the hunt for candy. Once they've found all the pieces, count them to be sure there are no Snickers bars still hiding in your couch cushions.

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