Trunk-or-Treat, Halloween Carnivals and other Trick-or-Treating Alternatives
Sometimes door-to-door trick-or-treating just isn’t an option. Whether you’re worried about safety, aren’t too fond of your neighborhood, have a sick son or daughter or you just want a less-scary alternative, use some of these tips so your child doesn’t miss out on the holiday fun.
Trunk or Treat Ideas:
If you are new to the community or living in a neighborhood that doesn’t really “do” Halloween, try a Trunk-or-Treat as a social alternative. Participants decorate their vehicle trunks from simple to outrageous, and children visit each trunk to get candy in a safe environment. For someone new to the area, Trunk-or-Treat events are great because parents get the benefit of chatting with other adults while the kids scamper about. Usually put on by the community or a social group such as a church, these also give you a chance to find new groups to tap into for social activities.
Halloween Events – Local Churches
Many churches also host carnivals and Halloween alternatives that provide a safe place for teens and children to hang out.These activities are ideal if you don’t want your child around blood, guts and all things frightening. Some churches try to create more of a carnival atmosphere, with bounce houses and games to keep the focus off of the scary aspects of the holiday. Watch your church newsletter if you’re a member of a parish, or keep an eye out on community events boards to see when and which churches or groups are offering events.
Halloween Events – Police and Fire Department
Fire and police departments sometimes put on special trick-or-treat programs, too. Call your local department’s (non-emergency) dispatch number, or check their website to see if anything is planned. If there isn’t a formal event scheduled, see if they would be willing to do a station or department tour with kids in costume. Invite your child’s friends and neighborhood kids for a tour and give each child a goody bag at the end. Many cities also run community Halloween events, such as parades and costume contests for people and pets. The local mall may even have Trick-or-Treat hours that invite children to go to stores in costume.
Halloween Events – Local College or University
If you live near a college or university, check their website to see if any campus groups are putting on community events. Some residence halls will have trick-or-treat hours for kids in the community. It’s a nice way for college students to feel like part of the community, too. Other campuses will host pumpkin carving or other activities geared towards youngsters. Keep an eye out also for carnivals and fun fairs put on by fraternities and sororities looking to raise cash. Your child’s school may even put on a special trick-or-treat event where kids visit each classroom. Ask your child’s teacher if anything is organized, or jump in and offer to organize one for the school. Not only will your child collect treats in a secure place, parents will get to know your local school better. Senior living centers and retirement homes often put on similar activities on and around Halloween. It’s not only a great alternative to knocking on doors, but it also brings plenty of visitors to those who may not get them often.
Home Parties for Halloween
- If you can’t find community events to take part in, plan your own party at home. Invite your child’s friends, and parents, too, for an evening of games, food and costumes. Encourage costumes and have a contest with different categories. Go old school and bob for apples or pin the tail on the black cat. Use a cauldron or bag and fill with slimy, hairy and other odd feeling objects and see if kids can guess what it is without getting grossed out. Prepare small prizes for winners. If your yard allows, have a small bonfire or use a fire pit. Roast marshmallows or make s’mores, making sure any hanging ribbons or costume accessories are safely away from the fire. For creative kids, have one child start a scary story and then each child adds on bit more until you have a complete tale.
- You can also make Halloween a family night by staying in. Rent a few age-appropriate scary movies, make popcorn and settle in for a marathon of frights. If you still want to pass out candy, get in costume and have your child help pass out candy. This way, you still get to see other costumes and participate with the neighborhood. For more active children, play themed games or have a round or two of flashlight hide-and-seek (shut all the lights out and only use flashlights to find participants). Spend the afternoon beforehand decorating the house with homemade crafts to get a festive atmosphere.
- There are tons of opportunities if you don’t want to take your child door-to-door for Halloween. Keep an eye out for events on community calendars, online or in the newspaper. If you can’t find someplace to go, make your own fun at home. What trick-or-treat alternatives have you and your family participated in?
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