FaBOOlous Fun for Everyone: Halloween Gatherings that Impress


Do your kids race around the house in costumes all year long?
There are so many fun ways to celebrate the whimsy of Halloween.

Create new traditions with one of these
faBOOlous events that anyone can pull together!


A trunk-or-treat transforms an empty parking lot into a Halloween celebration filled with decorated vehicles and a fun opportunity to trick-or-treat at a safe venue (often a school or church community).

Here’s how to do it: Reserve a parking lot in advance. Cconsider asking a local church or school. Secure participants who are willing to decorate car trunks or truck beds in a festive theme (popular kids’ films, movies or games). Ask participants to bring candy to distribute to kids.

  • Some participants may add a free carnival game to their trunk (or parking space) for kids to enjoy.
  • Advertise. Social media is a great way to get the word out!

Extra Credit: Lots of decorated trunks, free food, live music, photo booth and inflatables, carnival games, haunted library, cakewalk and food trucks.

Gross Science Play Date

Homemade slime is all the rage. If you’ve had kids over to play, chances are you’ve tried your hand at making the ooey-gooey stuff. A “weird science” play date where kids make gross concoctions is sure to impress. Our family used a gross science kit to make “veins”, “snot” and “earwax.” Most items needed are included in a kit, so there’s no need to drive all over town. It was easy and the kids were awed and delightfully disgusted. Gross science kits can be found at local toy stores, big box stores or online. End this play date with “dirt” pudding cups topped with crushed chocolate cookies and gummy worms.

Pumpkin Carving Party

After friends invited us to a pumpkin carving party, my kids were hooked on trying new wild and wacky jack-o-lantern designs each year. Provide an alternative to carving for young children. Paint, stickers and glitter help little ones get into the spirit and allow parents to relax and enjoy the party.

Gather Tools: Ask each family to bring their own pumpkins. Have a few pumpkin carving kits on hand for guests to use. They include tools and patterns to help get everyone started. Download additional patterns online for extra inspiration. Dry erase markers allow for mistakes as guests trace or freehand jack-o-lantern faces. Sharpie markers also work (but don’t wipe off).

Cover tables with butcher paper or plastic. Provide garbage cans and extra trash bags. If you plan to roast pumpkin seeds, place large bowls on each table where guests can put seeds.

Carve & Display: Tricks of the Trade

Be sure to have adults help and supervise kids with all sharp tools. Cut around the stem at a slight angle to make a “hat” for the jack-o-lantern that won’t fall in. Add an extra hole at the top to act as a “chimney” for the candle inside or use a battery-powered candle for safety. To preserve a jack-o-lantern, rub the inside and cut edges with petroleum jelly. Wrap in a plastic bag and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Halloween Movie Night

Nothing sets the tone of Halloween like a spooky (or not-so-spooky) movie night!

Choose a Movie: Younger kids love It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Monsters Inc., old Scooby Doo episodes and Hotel Transylvania. For teens and tweens consider The Nightmare Before Christmas, ET, or The Addams Family.

Provide Atmosphere: Gather cozy pillows and blankets for kids to sprawl out. Add twinkle lights.

Make Yummy Treats:

  • Take a hint from Laurie and Nancy from the blog Two Sisters Crafting. Their irresistible candy corn popcorn contains marshmallow topping, M&Ms and candy corn. Get the how-to instructions at
  • Let the kids concoct their own combinations with a festive popcorn bar. Kids decorate cups with Halloween stickers, and fill with popcorn and candy toppings.
  • Pipe icing onto madeleine cookies to create cute mummies.
    Press play and relax with friends. This no-fuss gathering is a tradition to relish.

Cherie Gough is a San Diego-based writer and has been published in HuffPost, Eating Well, and San Diego Family Magazine. She’s been writing for parenting magazines for a decade.


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