9 Fun Halloween Traditions to Start with Your Family This Year

Gather the whole family and start a sweet (or spooky!) tradition.

After skipping a lot of the traditional Halloween activities during the pandemic last year, we're excited to go above and beyond for the holiday this season. Whether you're looking to get back to the basics of trick-or-treating and visiting the pumpkin patch, or you're wanting to add a few new activities to your holiday routine, we've rounded up our favorite Halloween traditions to help you get started.

We have fun and festive activities that range from sweet to spooky, so you can choose which traditions to start for kids of all age levels. Our favorite thing about starting new traditions is that you can continue them year after year—and then your kids will continue them with their families later on, too.

01 of 09

Carve Jack-o'-Lanterns

carved pumpkin silly smiling face
Jason Donnelly

The tradition of carving pumpkins dates all the way back to the 1800s, and it's quickly become one of the most popular Halloween activities. This season, make it a family affair! Grab a pumpkin for each person, then let everyone choose from one of our free carving stencils. Then lay down some newspaper for the pumpkin guts, set out the supplies (here are 7 must-have pumpkin carving tools), and get to work!

Related: This Is Why We Carve Pumpkins at Halloween

02 of 09

Make Halloween Crafts

hanging halloween decor and pumpkin display
Carson Downing

Celebrate all month long by making a new Halloween craft each week. We have fun Halloween crafts for kids of all ages, from this super easy bat garland (perfect for little ones!) to more detailed projects like our candy corn hedgehog pumpkins.

03 of 09

Make Boo Bags

walmart halloween bags
Courtesy of Walmart

Making 'Boo Bags' is a sweet and easy way to bring a little cheer to your neighborhood this season. The idea is simple: Have the kids help you make a bag filled with all kinds of Halloween candy, toys, and other items. Then leave the bag on a neighbor's porch for them to discover, with a note prompting them to do the same for someone else.

Buy It: 36-Pack Halloween Bags ($11, Walmart)

04 of 09

Hit the Pumpkin Patch

pile pumpkins
Matthew Benson

It doesn't feel like fall until you've hopped on a hayride around the pumpkin patch with a warm cup of apple cider. Read up on how to pick the best pumpkin at the patch, then gather the family and start filling your wagon with the biggest gourds you can find.

05 of 09

Go Trick-or-Treating

kids wearing halloween costumes in a yard about to go trick or treating
Rawpixel/Getty Images

Going door-to-door yelling "trick-or-treat" might be the most iconic Halloween tradition. After many missed out on the activity due to the pandemic last year, go all-out this Halloween. Before you head out, teach your kids about the history of trick-or-treating, and have them prepare a trick to perform just like old times.

06 of 09

Light Luminaries

paper bag spider web halloween lantern
Matthew Clark

Light your driveway or sidewalk with spooky Halloween luminaries that'll light the way for trick-or-treaters. Get the whole neighborhood involved! Coordinate an afternoon for everyone to gather and create their own paper bag luminaries, then display them throughout the neighborhood on Halloween night. To keep them as safe as possible, use battery-powered tea lights ($5, Walmart) instead of candles.

07 of 09

Decorate Halloween Houses


Move over, Christmas gingerbread houses! This holiday, start a new tasty tradition: Decorating Halloween cookie houses! There are plenty of pre-made kits to choose from, or you can make your own from scratch. Whichever option you choose, be sure to deck it out with plenty of black and orange candy!

08 of 09

Make Halloween Cookies

ghost cookies with spider web
Blaine Moats

We'll take any excuse to eat more candy corn, and decorating cookies is one of our favorite ways to do so (besides eating it straight out of the bag, of course). Use Halloween cookie cutters ($10, Walmart) to make a batch of sugar cookies in all different shapes, then use Halloween candy and royal icing to decorate them.

Related: 16 Easy Ways to Decorate Halloween Cookies

09 of 09

Have a Costume Parade

Costume Cuties Airplane Costume

Dressing up in costume is one of the most memorable parts about Halloween for young kids, and this year you can make it even more special. Start a tradition of having a costume parade among siblings, cousins, or neighborhood friends. Get the costumes ready a few days before Halloween, then have all the kids do a big reveal for their friends before the big night.

Related: 21 Easy-to-Make Kids' Halloween Costumes

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