Although trick-or-treating is a little hit-or-miss this year, your family can easily host Halloween activities at home. And what better place is there than outdoors—beneath the haunted trees, rustling leaves, and glowing moon itself. Don your costumes, skip the candy binge, and let your kids’ imaginations run wild with these silly & spooky Halloween activities!
Dressing up is everyone’s favorite part of Halloween—it’s one of the few times each year when we can finally let loose our inner werewolf or pretend to be our favorite celebrity. Rather than having the fun inside, get some neighbors together for a socially-distanced parade in costume. Haunt the “spookiest” parts of your neighborhood and end the march in the local park after nightfall.
Your leaf-strewn yard and abundant fall garden make the ideal course for a scavenger hunt. Hide a witch’s broom, wand, or clues to a mystery box filled with treats. Let your kids’ imaginations fill in the blanks. Or, conceal costume parts that you can use in the next game!
Ask all of your family members to bring 5-10 pieces of clothing to your yard. Set the clock for two minutes and see who can put together the silliest costume. Kids will get a kick out of their hilarious costume creations for hours!
Often the guise of nightfall is all that’s needed to make a place feel haunted. With costumes on, the mood will be all the more mysterious.
Ghost Balloon Relay Race
In preparation for this friendly competition, each team draws a spooky face on a white balloon. Then, it’s a race to move the balloon across the yard and back again until each teammate completes a leg. What’s the trick? You have to keep the balloon in the air by hitting it before it touches the ground!
Mummy Relay Race
It’s similar to a potato sack race, but with a Halloween twist. On the starting line, wrap each racers’ legs together with toilet paper. See who can make it to the finish line first without tearing any of the mummy covering.
Bobbing For Apples
This is an ancient Celtic game that was played at the time of the apple harvest. To adapt this game for safer play, give each player their own plastic “basin” (salad bowls or mixing bowls work great) with one or two apples apiece. The apples will float on the surface. With hands tied behind their backs, each contestant must race to pluck the fruit from the water with their teeth. Remove the stems from each apple to make the activity harder. The first player to empty their basin wins!
Mystery Feel Box
This sensory game may not be ideal for sensitive tummies! Put blindfolds on the children and let them reach into boxes filled with cold spaghetti, peeled grapes, gelatin, pumpkin guts, or other unusually textured materials. Let kids guess what’s inside—the best guesser gets a treat!
Walk Through a Haunted Park
Often the guise of nightfall is all that’s needed to make a place feel haunted. With costumes on, the mood will be all the more mysterious. Keep eyes and ears open for animals. If you can plan ahead, stash a mystery item that the kids will discover along the way.
Ghost Story Circle
Around a fire at night, one person starts a story with a single sentence. The next person repeats the phrase and adds another sentence. The game goes on until the story breaks down in laughter, or it stops making sense. Let everyone have the chance to begin a tale.
Make Your Own Horror Movie
Choose your favorite mobile device and head to the woods or your backyard wearing your costumes to film your own family “horror movie.” The film is guaranteed to be more funny than scary, and it’ll make a treasured memory you can revisit when the kids are older.
You don’t need much to have a howling time at home this Halloween! The colorful leaves and naked branches already dress our landscapes in haunting beauty, but if you do need any supplies to enjoy your activities at home, please don’t hesitate to visit our local garden centers in Bloomingdale and Carpentersville!
Platt Hill Nursery is Chicago’s premier garden center and nursery.