Alternatives to Trick or Treating at Halloween

When I was growing up, my Mum wouldn’t let me go trick or treating, as she worried that myself and my friends would scare elderly people, or that it was like begging. These days trick or treating is much more the norm than it was when I was younger, but I know some parents still don’t like it and may be looking for alternatives to trick or treating for their children to enjoy on Halloween.

I never did get to go trick or treating, although I did used to go door to door carol singing later in the year – hopefully my Mum doesn’t read this post as she doesn’t know I used to do that!

With my own children they do sometimes go trick or treating, but I go with them, and we only knock at the doors that have pumpkins outside, or that we’ve seen other people be given sweets at. I wouldn’t want my children to worry anyone, but I feel like we do it in a safe and friendly way.

If you still aren’t happy with them trick or treating though, there are other ways you can have fun with them, and here’s a little list of some that I can think of.

Alternatives to Trick or Treating

  • Still let them dress up, and take it in turns to answer the door to the trick or treaters. You could always let them eat one sweet for every knock at the door, this should get them excited about opening the door. This way they get sweets and to dress up, and you get to stay indoors in the warm.
  • Have your own mini Halloween party. This could be either just with your own children, or invite friends or family. Dressing up, dancing and playing games will seem much more fun than lots of walking.
  • Take them to a locally organised Halloween party. If you do a search online, or check the events section of local attractions, then you may find one close enough to you to attend. If you’re in Cornwall, you can check out my what’s on in Cornwall – Autumn post, as there are already a few Cornish parties listed.
  • Spend the evening doing spooky themed crafts and let them get messy.
  • Go for a Halloween themed day out somewhere local, for Cornwall my What’s on post lists a few of these. Elsewhere it’s always worth checking what the National Trust has on in your area, as they often do seasonal themed activities.
  • Print out some Halloween colouring sheets, if you search online for ‘printable Halloween colouring sheets’ you’ll find loads.
  • Have a Halloween themed movie night, obviously with films aimed at the correct ages. Casper, Spooky Buddies, The Witches, Harry Potter and Gremlins are just some of those you could choose. Make sure you make it special, you could make spooky looking popcorn boxes, buy sweets shaped like insects or ghosts, and light some candles (in pumpkins!) for atmosphere.
  • Blow up lots of balloons, and draw spooky faces on them – make sure you use a pen that doesn’t rub off to protect your house. Let them go a bit wild and play with the balloons to use up some energy, this will work well for younger children to keep them busy. You can even buy balloons that light up and let them play with these with the lights off.
  • Go on holiday if Halloween falls during the October half term like it often does, if you stay at a holiday park they will most likely have Halloween events on, and if you stay somewhere out-of-the-way, you can either deny all knowledge of Halloween to younger children, or do some of the fun activities above whilst away. This is what we are doing this year – the going away bit, not the denying all knowledge bit, we wouldn’t get away with that now that they are 9 and 11.
  • In a room without carpet, do some bobbing for apples! It’s actually a lot harder than it looks, but good messy fun.
  • Play a game of pin the arm on the skeleton, pin the tail on the werewolf or pin the fangs on the vampire. All you need is to either print out a picture or draw your own, find some drawing pins and make a picture or tail to pin on with them. Don’t forget a blindfold of some description though!
  • Make them a Halloween treasure hunt, so that they have to work for their sweets or treats. This can just be around the house, and if you aren’t too keen on them having loads of sweets maybe see if you can find some Halloween themed rubbers or pencils cheaply somewhere, or other little non food treats. If they are fans of kinder eggs, you can always save the little yellow plastic containers for putting a few sweets in to hide.

If I think of any more, I will add them at a later date, but pretty sure there’s something here for everyone!

How do you feel about Trick or Treating? Do you take your own children/let them go on their own?

Stevie x

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70 Comments

  1. Colin
    28 September 2015 / 8:30 pm

    Some very good ideas that can be as, if not more, fun for all the family.

    • 28 September 2015 / 8:53 pm

      Thank you, since we’ll be staying in a pod this year (luckily with electric) we’ll be trying some alternatives out ourselves :)

      Stevie

  2. 28 September 2015 / 8:32 pm

    These are great ideas. There are always events going on that allow kids to dress up and even get candy from the vendors, so the door-to-door can be avoided if parents aren’t into that. I grew up trick-or-treating though so I don’t have any problem with passing that tradition on :)

    • 28 September 2015 / 8:55 pm

      Thanks Julie, trick or treating didn’t used to be that popular in the UK until recent years, but it’s definitely becoming more common! I’m always up for a an alternative to traipsing around in the cold though ;)

      Stevie x

  3. 28 September 2015 / 8:37 pm

    I’m not sure if I like my boy trick or treating or not. We did it last year but only because he got asked by a friend and I went with him. He was only 4 at this point and I just wasn’t sure, but he had a good time. I’m not sure whether we will this year, it’s the day after we get back from our holiday (to Cornwall, again?!) so we will have to see. I like the idea of doing our own party as an alternative and we can have treats on hand for visitors x

    • 28 September 2015 / 8:58 pm

      We’re near Constantine for the actual night so we’ll be doing something alternative from my list this year in our cosy pod :) We’re down that way Thursday til Monday and going down to St Michaels Mount etc nearer where you’ll be staying so we may even bump into you! #stalker ;) My boys love trick or treating…I like being warm hence the alternatives above that I manage to talk them in to some years ;)

      Stevie xx

  4. 28 September 2015 / 10:17 pm

    Some great ideas here! I’m like your Mum – I don’t like the idea of going trick or treating because my Nain has trouble every year with trick or treaters throwing eggs at her house. I’m going to dress up our girls and take them around people we know. But I’m really liking the movie suggestions!

    • 29 September 2015 / 8:25 pm

      Oh no how horrible! This is why we only ever go to houses with pumpkins though, I’d hate to worry or upset anyone!

      Stevie x

  5. 30 September 2015 / 2:01 pm

    What great ideas! We do go trick or treating, but like you I go with my boys. We do much the same and only go to homes that are decorated or have pumpkins outside. But if we ever have to stay indoors I’m definitely doing some of the things you suggest here. xx

    • 30 September 2015 / 2:23 pm

      Thanks Morgan, always good to have a back up plan for torrential rain Halloween nights ;)

      Stevie xx

  6. 30 September 2015 / 7:30 pm

    What a fabulous post Stevie, some great ideas here. I really struggle with Halloween and Trick or Treating. Might have to try the mini party with lots of balloons this year :)

    • 30 September 2015 / 8:25 pm

      Thanks lovely :) I bought some balloons in Tescos ages ago that actually had lights inside them, they were brilliant with the lights off and would be perfect for Halloween.

      Stevie x

  7. 2 October 2015 / 7:10 am

    Love this list, I’m always reluctant to do trick or treating so nice to have other options #picknimix

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:21 pm

      It’s a tricky one as so many do go trick or treating now, but you can have just as much if not more fun at home…in the warm ;)

      Stevie x

  8. 2 October 2015 / 8:05 am

    so excited for Halloween!

    We will probably be visiting a couple of local attractions during the week and then having a little party just the four of us at home. This year we are using the pumpkin seeds (toasted) in a box with a hole cut out of it to plunge your hands into for a spooky lucky dip :-) x #PicknMix

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:22 pm

      Ooh spooky lucky dip sounds like fun :)

      Stevie x

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:23 pm

      Parties are always a good idea ;)

      Stevie x

  9. Gemma @ Confessions of a Nagging Mother
    2 October 2015 / 9:05 am

    They are such good ideas! Love the first tip about staying indoors and letting the kids have a sweet for every knock on the door… this could extend to adults too! ;)

    #Picknmix

    Gemma xxx

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:24 pm

      I’m always tempted by their Halloween sweets and hope no one comes to our door so I have leftovers ha ;)

      Stevie xx

  10. 2 October 2015 / 9:13 am

    BB absolutely hates Halloween – it will be interesting to see what happens this year now she’s at school! #picknmix

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:26 pm

      Oh bless her, I suppose it can be scary for younger ones having ghosts and other monsters knocking at your door demanding to be fed ;)

      Stevie x

  11. 2 October 2015 / 9:46 am

    These are really nice ideas. We have yet to go trick or treating I am undecided. But last year my son loved opening the door to trick or treaters :) #picknmix

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:27 pm

      We have been some years and they’ve been so well behaved and polite to everyone that I don’t mind taking them, but I hate rude trick or treaters!

      Stevie x

  12. 2 October 2015 / 9:52 am

    We never went trick or treating as children. My Mum wouldn’t even answer the door to them! Last year was the first time we went properly with my friend (she’s American), we only went to houses that were decorated, and the kids got lots of treats. Personally I find Halloween a bit of good fun. We also went to our local farm shop last year and chose pumpkins, they also had a spooky trail and a witches cave.

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:29 pm

      I do love all the Halloween events around Cornwall I keep seeing advertised :) Mine love trick or treating but I know a lot of parents aren’t keen so always handy to have an alternative x

  13. 2 October 2015 / 9:56 am

    I never went trick or treating either as my parents weren’t keen (and honestly, I didn’t really want to either) so we always had little parties where we dressed up, decorated and just ate lots and lots of sweets. I don’t think I would like Oscar going out either so we will probably do the same for him & some of your ideas…apple bobbing sounds so much fun even for me!! #PicknMix

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:31 pm

      Apple bobbing is hilarious, but remember to use apples that aren’t huge to give yourselves a chance ha! ;)

      Stevie x

  14. Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    2 October 2015 / 10:29 am

    My oldest hates Halloween. He doesn’t like the scary decorations & has been that way since he was a baby. He has already said he’s not going trick or treating this year. A party would be a fun alternative. You have some great suggestions here & tips. #PicknMix x

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:33 pm

      Thanks lovely and aw bless him!

      Stevie x

  15. 2 October 2015 / 10:34 am

    What a great post with excellent alternative ideas. Growing up, my parents were extra cautious and only allowed us to go to certain houses, for many, many years with them and they would inspect the camdy first. Now, as a mom of a young child with multiple food allergies, ideas like you posted are perfect and much appreciated. Thanks for sharing ! #picknmix

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:35 pm

      My pleasure, it’s tricky when they have allergies or health concerns! My eldest has Type 1 Diabetes so I don’t let him binge eat his Halloween sweets much to his disgust, but they last him ages and he does have more than enough ;)

      Stevie x

  16. 2 October 2015 / 11:41 am

    Yes, my mum never let us go trick or treating as she thinks it is morally wrong, bullying & can make people feel vulnerable. I do agree with her, actually. I don’t particularly mind people doing it, & mostly it is young children & done in a very harmless (there would never be a trick) way. I am a little more dubious about whether it is acceptable when teenagers do it – I think they have more potential to intimidate. But I do think that, as a concept, it isn’t really right. & when taken too far, as it always seems to be in the US, for example, it is actually quite horrifying. I haven’t done it with my kids, & don’t think I will. In any case, it would be a nightmare if Toddler ever found out she could ask people for that many sweets! I love Halloween though, so we do the things you suggest here. It’s nice to get them dressed up & have some silly fun, and to go out for the day or to a party so people can see their little outfits. But really that is what I prefer – that people might be amused by them looking cute. I don’t want people to feel like they have to give them something. #PicknMix

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:36 pm

      That’s why we only ever go to houses with pumpkins etc outside, as I’d hate to worry anyone!

      Stevie x

  17. 2 October 2015 / 12:19 pm

    Love these ideas, we are in holland and Halloween isn’t really done here. There are getting more things in the shops now but we were one of the only ones in our village with pumpkins last year. I think I’m going to have a small thing this year with a few of the kids friends, costumes optional. #PicknMix

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:37 pm

      That sounds like a lovely idea :)

      Stevie x

  18. 2 October 2015 / 1:22 pm

    Some great ideas here! Love the idea of a Halloween treasure hunt, and I’ll be pinning your blog to remind me of ideas for when Baby Lighty is older! We were never allowed to trick or treat as kids either, but used to go to a Halloween craft party at our local library instead. Thanks for hosting #picknmix Fridays :)

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:38 pm

      Ooh a craft party sounds fun though! :)

      Stevie x

  19. 2 October 2015 / 1:28 pm

    For us, getting dressed up in most of the fun of Halloween. We do a bit of trick or treating, but there are community parties and such that are even more fun.

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:40 pm

      Got to love a party :) :)

      Stevie

  20. 2 October 2015 / 2:24 pm

    I love Halloween and will more than likely take my daughter trick and treating when she’s old enough. The local police run a poster scheme so people who don’t want trick or treaters just put one up, and I know the neighbourhood well. I might feel a bit more wary if we moved though.

    Other activities are good to know about though because I like to prolong the Halloween feeling! I’m even planning on having a Halloween wedding when we get round to it. :D

    • 2 October 2015 / 2:42 pm

      Oh wow a Halloween wedding sounds amazing!!

      Stevie x

  21. Sara @ Handy Herbs
    2 October 2015 / 5:06 pm

    Some great ideas here – which means children don’t have to miss out. My children are older now but I was never very keen on them going trick or treating so always tried to arrange something else. Thanks for the fab tips! #PicknMix

  22. Tracey Abrahams
    2 October 2015 / 6:02 pm

    When my boys were little we would go trick or treating but only to the houses of people we knew and that I had already spoken to so I knew we would be expected and would be welcome. We always carved a pumpkin and I still do this just for me!! #Picknmix

    • 4 October 2015 / 12:13 pm

      I love pumpkin carving other than the mess ;)

      Stevie x

  23. 2 October 2015 / 6:20 pm

    Great ideas here!I’ve never been trick or treating either.Don’t feel like I’ve missed out though.This year we’re going to have a Halloween party for all the kids in the family now we have moved to a bigger house.We do love having the kids knock the door though.I always buy far too much chocolate and end up having to eat it up…such a shame hey ;-) xx #picnmix

    • 4 October 2015 / 12:15 pm

      Ha I love leftover Halloween treats, I always ‘accidentally’ buy way too many ;)

      Stevie xx

  24. 2 October 2015 / 6:31 pm

    Super fun and creepy Halloween ideas! My parents would never let me go out Trick or Treating either… although I think it’s far more widely accepted these days.

    • 4 October 2015 / 12:16 pm

      Thanks, I love doing fun silly stuff with my boys :)

      Stevie x

  25. 2 October 2015 / 8:48 pm

    Great ideas! We never trick or treated growing up? My mum used to play a game involving a flour sandcastle and a smartie?! Anyone else play that?!! #picknmix

    • 4 October 2015 / 12:18 pm

      I’ve never heard of that game, you’ll have to do a post to show us all! ;)

      Stevie x

  26. Rachel (Lifeofmyfamilyandme)
    2 October 2015 / 10:03 pm

    I don’t particularly like going out trick or treating. We tend to go to local Halloween parties. Miss M doesn’t like the scary dressing up costumes so we don’t last long anyway but she insists we go haha! #picknmix

    • 4 October 2015 / 12:19 pm

      Oh no bless her! :)

      Stevie x

    • 4 October 2015 / 12:21 pm

      That’s a shame, but you can still have a fun Halloween night as a family :)

      Stevie x

    • 4 October 2015 / 12:22 pm

      Thanks lovely and ooh I love Pinterest ;)

      Stevie x

  27. 4 October 2015 / 9:12 am

    Like you Stevie – we I was never allowed to go Trick or Treating either but we did get to answer the door to trick or treaters!

    Some fab ideas in your list. I have done a fair few of them with my boys. Taking them to an organised halloween party or having one of your is a great idea especially for younger children who are too young to go trick o treating.

    Now my boys are older we have started taking them trick or treating over the last two years. They love dressing up! We just go down our road and knock on the halloween friendly doors!

    • 4 October 2015 / 12:32 pm

      Aw I bet your cute little men look ridiculously handsome all dressed up!

      Stevie x

  28. Philippa Wilson
    5 October 2015 / 10:04 am

    Great ideas! My kids love trick or treating, but it can be so awkward for us parents! Ugh! #picknmix

    • 5 October 2015 / 10:10 am

      Definitely can, they’d love to go on their own but no chance of me letting that happen ;)

      Stevie x

  29. 5 October 2015 / 12:40 pm

    This is great! Last year it was my very first trick or treating which I went with Ethan. I also never went to trick or treating when I was a child as I am usually stuck at boarding school. The most we did was a spooky dinner which was just mash and cobwebs (something that I don’t even remember what it is – only that it was not very nice to eat) that was it. I really enjoyed last year trick and treating. I want to do it again this year too but Ethan has just been invited to his school friend’s Halloween birthday party – so that is exciting! But it might be a little too late to go trick or treating after… we’ll have to see… Love your list! :) #PicknMix

    • 5 October 2015 / 12:45 pm

      Aw a Halloween birthday party could be very cute though! I hope you both have fun at it :)

      Stevie xx

  30. Mummy here and there
    5 October 2015 / 4:33 pm

    Great list and ideas that I shall incorporate. Thank you for sharing X

  31. 6 October 2015 / 10:11 am

    I went to a few nearby houses trick or treating when I was little. I took O for the first time kart year when he was 3, just around our estate, but as most people had kids there were a lot of decorated houses and dressed up kids around. He got quite a few sweets, which we then rationed and stole son ourselves as there were just too many for one little child! :) x #picnmix

    • 6 October 2015 / 11:26 am

      Ha I bet he looked so cute dressed up! I love it when teeny ones come to the door :) The boys always get way too many sweets too, and I have the usual argument with Fin who wants to eat them all in one go, but whose blood glucose would go through the roof if he did!

      Stevie x

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