Halloween is, in my opinion, the best time of the year. If you have a love for the macabre, and you can’t wait to decorate your home with cobwebs and candles, your time to shine has arrived. From corn mazes and jack-o-lanterns, spooky stories and even scarier movies, to costumes, candy, and carnivals, there's no one "right way" to celebrate Halloween either, especially when you have kids. Romper asked moms to share their favorite Halloween traditions to not only highlight the fun ways to ring in this spooky time of year, but to perhaps spark some inspiration for those still wondering how to get their kids involved for years to come.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Halloween, and as a kid I promised myself that when I had a home of my own I would decorate to my heart's delight. When I was in my 20s my house turned into something of a haunted house, where I would gladly host pumpkin carving parties with friends. I also made it a point to attended several parties in the name of Halloween, never limiting myself to just one.
Now that I'm a mom, however, I've slowed down a bit. My son isn’t old enough to truly enjoy all things horror related, so I've had to tone it down from my haunted house days. Still, I’ve made sure to start and instill our own traditions that we can continue to enjoy as he grows older, including trick-or-treating and watching as many spooky or spooky-adjacent Halloween movies and TV specials as we possibly can. We also make our own decorations every year, which has been especially delightful.
No two families are exactly alike, though, so if you're looking for some Halloween inspiration here's how a few other moms plan to celebrate the holiday this year:
“We always watch Hocus Pocus, carve pumpkins, bake cookies, and [drink] hot chocolate. We always get our pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. We love fall!"
“We carve pumpkins, make ‘mummy dogs’ (hotdogs wrapped in crescent rolls), and watch Halloween specials!”
“The Great Pumpkin comes to our house. You put out all of your candy after trick-or-treating and that night he comes, takes most of it away, and leaves presents. (Works great for our kid with the dairy allergy who can't have milk chocolate. The Great Pumpkin leaves some suckers and tootsies rolls behind.)”
“Halloween is my hands-down favorite holiday, so I have a lot. Decorations go up September 15. Halloween movies are played throughout October. We always go pumpkin picking to the same small family farm and then stop on the way home for ice cream. (It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions.)
I also said I’d never go 'trunk or treating' but the one held in my town is so much fun. It’s on the town green, which is quintessential New England, and the cars go all out. Plus half the town shows up so it’s a big party.”
“We love to costume shop and make our own costumes. Kids trick-or-treat almost always, and if not, they pass out candy or go to a Halloween party if we're invited to one. One thing we definitely love to do is decorate the house every year, and sometimes make our own decor as well. Forgot to add we all love to watch scary movies and shows based on hauntings all through the month of October. We make it an obsession in October.”
“I love going costume shopping, watching scary movies, and looking at everybody’s decorations.”
“My teenage daughters and I have an annual tradition of going to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show and [enjoying] pre-show pancakes at the all-night diner!”
“We do themed group costumes as a family, which we wear to daytime Halloween events, like ‘Trunk Or Treat’ (the kids can choose to wear a different costume for school and trick-or-treating). I also give my kids matching Halloween pajamas in early October.”
“Going to the pumpkin patch!”
“We always host the trick-or-treat night for our 9- and 11-year-old. The kids all go out into the neighborhood with a few parents and the rest of us stay in with wine and cocktails, handing out candy and having a blast. When the night is over, there is a huge candy swap on the living room floor. It’s so fun!”
“Watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and going to the pumpkin patch.”
“My kids are 4 and 8. We love decorating the outside of our house. We have bins and bins of fun and creepy things and we add more to the collection every year!”
“Making our own decorations and themed treats is something that I've started doing with our girls and it's my favorite thing to do. Along with going to a corn maze and pumpkin patch. I didn't grow up doing holidays, so it's been great to start these traditions with my kids.”
“Forcing my family into matching costumes.”
“So every year we go to the pumpkin patch and try to get the biggest pumpkin we can. Only rule is you have to carry it out if the patch yourself! My dad has had pumpkins over 120+ pounds! I've had ones over 50! Now we do it with the kids and last year [my daughter] got a 15-pound pumpkin! We also only carve pumpkins the night before/day before Halloween. Never before. Also, Hocus Pocus MUST be watched ON Halloween.”
“Carving pumpkins and having a theme for costumes.”
“We just started a couple new traditions with my 8- and 9-year-old daughters this year, since they're old enough to really get into the spirit of things now. On Fridays, we have family movie night, and during October we only watch scary movies (well, family-friendly scary for e.g. Addams Family, Hocus Pocus, etc.). On Sunday afternoons, after we get home from church, we build a fire and sit in front of it while I read stories from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark with the original, terrifying illustrations. And each year at the beginning of the month (as of two years ago), we go to the costume shop/party shop in the morning and pick out one new Halloween decoration a piece, and then set them up in the afternoon. It's finally starting to look pretty spooky around our house, which we all love.”
“We do a pumpkin-carving party every year with our kids (6 and almost 4), as well as our core friend group (kids ages 2 through 9).”
“We make a big root vegetable stew in the crockpot on Halloween so that they have a hearty dinner before the treats. The house smells amazing!”
“Local Halloween parade with our neighbors the weekend before the holiday.”
“I love pumpkin carving. I love the mess, the art, and baking and eating the seeds. My 4-year-old is an amazing artist, so this year I had him draw the design on the pumpkin and I carved it out. I will definitely keep doing this until he's old enough to handle his own knife work. Before we had a kid, my husband and I watched old monster movies, but now we watch all things Scooby Doo.”