25+ Fun Halloween Traditions

This post is sponsored by Walmart

I wasn’t huge into Halloween as a kid, but now as a parent, it’s become one of my favorite holidays!

Over the years, we’ve developed some fun Halloween traditions (one of our best being our annual Halloween dinner!). There are so many fun ways to make October and Halloween feel extra festive, whether you want something simple and easy or you want to go ALL OUT.

halloween traditions

I try to focus on things that are fun for ME as well as my kids – I love decorating a few key spots (the living room and kitchen are my favorite!) and I love a special Halloween meal.

Walmart has so many fun Halloween decorations this year and I added a few to our collection.

I also REALLY like items that can play double duty for the holidays and beyond.

For instance, these black dishes ($22 for four place settings) are perfect for everyday use but also look extra fun for our Halloween dinner (and then my plaid Christmas dishes really pop against them in December!).

halloween traditions

And these purple goblets? They work for any occasion but feel a little spooky and special for our Halloween dinner (I’ll be using them at Easter too!).

Last year, my mom bought me this cobweb runner and it’s super festive, plus folds up really small so I can store it easily. It’s under $10 and is perfect on my coffee table all month long and then on my dinner table for Halloween night.

These green candlesticks (and the cast iron candlestick holders!) were the perfect finishing touch to add some dimension to the table, along with a bunch of miniature pumpkins, which I love all through the fall, both for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

halloween traditions

And this pack of black bats is the ultimate example of low effort and high impact – just over $5 for 80 bats. The moment we put in our fireplace in this house, I knew the bats would be perfect there and I love putting them up each year!

However you like to celebrate, here are some great ideas for Halloween traditions (some are ours, some are ones suggested by my Instagram community!).

25+ Fun Halloween Traditions

  • Dry Ice in Root Beer. This is a favorite Halloween tradition from my childhood and one of those prime examples of HIGH impact and low effort/cost. I pick up a pound or two of dry ice at Walmart (it’s usually by the ice at the front of the store – ask for it at checkout and they’ll cut you off a block). Drop it in a pot of root beer (I like to do it in a big silver cauldron looking pot) and let it work it’s magic. My girls LOVE this so much. Note that you don’t want to buy it more than a day ahead of time because it’ll disappear in your freezer because it’s not as cold as dry ice storage. And also don’t touch it with your bare hands because it can burn you.
  • Halloween Pajamas. I bought Ella pair of skeleton pajamas when she was a toddler and all four of my girls wore them over the years – it’s just so cute! (And you can get ones for the whole family!).
  • Jack-o-lantern shaped pizza. This was a wildly popular suggestion and for good reason. It’s so easy and affordable and a quick way to get a festive dinner on the table before you go trick-or-treating.
  • Halloween Boo Baskets. This was another popular recommendation – parents fill up a Boo Basket for each child (or one for the whole family) and deliver it on October first with Halloween pajamas, books (they can be new or ones you already own!), popcorn and candy. This is a prime example of where you can go big or simple, depending on your preference.
  • Halloween Bar Graphs. This was such a clever Halloween tradition! Everyone makes a guess at what Halloween candy will be the most popular before heading out to trick or treat and then the next morning, the family creates Halloween bar graphs with the candy to see what was given out most (and least!).
  • Halloween Movie Night. This is such a fun way to kick off Halloween – pick a favorite spooky-ish movie and grab some festive snacks and snuggle up for movie night. Depending on the weather where you live, some people said they love doing their Halloween movie night on an outdoor screen while they carve pumpkins!
  • Glow Stick Bath after Trick or Treating. My younger girls especially would LOVE this Halloween tradition – what a fun idea to add glow sticks to the bath tub for a little spooky fun and wash off any costume makeup and grime from trick-or-treating!
  • A new Halloween Lego set each year. This is so fun – the mom that suggested this said that they rebuild all the past Halloween Lego sets each year along with the new one. Plus, what a great seasonal display!
  • Haunted Gingerbread Houses. We do a gingerbread house party every December, but it had never occured to me to do one with haunted houses in October – I love it! You can get these little kits for under $5 each and lots of families said they use leftover Halloween candy to decorate!
  • Halloween Snack Party on October 1st to kick off the season! Ah, I love this idea (and my girls would be SO INTO THIS). The parent who suggested this said the whole house is decorated and they listen to spooky music while they eat their snacks.
  • Pumpkin Pancakes for Dinner. Whether you do this on October 1st or Halloween night or some other night in between, this is a super simple and delightful Halloween tradition. (If you don’t like to bake from scratch, this Pumpkin Spice Pancake and Waffle is under $2 and makes it simple and delicious!).
  • Haunted Canoe Ride. This is a Halloween tradition from one of our friends and we’ve joined them a couple of times – it’s so fun! Each family brings a carved pumpkin with a battery powered light inside and then we tape them to the front of the canoe and then paddle down the river as the sun goes down until we’re going entirely by the light of the pumpkins.
  • Jack-o-lantern quesadillas for dinner. This is a simple, kid friendly dinner that’s easy to make and eat before you head out trick-or-treating. Bonus, salsa can look a lot like blood!
  • Halloween yard decoration scavenger hunt. This would be a great project for older siblings to do for the younger kids – make up a list of things they might see around the neighborhood and go around finding as many as you can. This is a perfect activity a few days before Halloween when people have outdoor decorations up, but it’s not as busy as Halloween night.
  • One new Halloween picture book each year. Naturally, I’m onboard with this Halloween tradition and I LOVE buildling up my holiday book collection. A few of my favorite Halloween books include The Widow’s Broom, Ghosts in the House, Stumpkin, and I Love My Fangs.
  • A Glow in the dark dinner. I’m stealing this Halloween tradition this year – my girls would LOVE it. Plenty of glow sticks on the table, glow stick bracelets and necklaces. How fun is this?
  • Bonfire and pumpkin carving party with friends! I would LOVE it if one of my friends organized this – I’m not sure I’m up to hosting this Halloween tradition but I’d love to participate!
  • Make a pumpkin patch chocolate pudding. This is such a fun, easy idea – the mom who suggested this said she decorates it with candy corn pumpkins, Oreos, gummy worms and green icing.
  • A Halloween Breakfast. Whether Halloween falls on a weekend or a school morning, a little bit of extra planning can make for a really fun Halloween morning. Lots of ideas for Halloween breakfasts – ranging from simple to over the top – here.
  • Halloween Dance Party. This is a perfect after-school activity especially when the excitement of Halloween is really riling up some kids. Search for a kids Halloween playlist and go to town!
  • Boo your neighbors. I’ve been a lifelong fan of this Halloween tradition where you drop a plate of goodies on your neighbor’s door, ring the doorbell and run like a ghost is after you!
  • Decorating the Christmas tree after trick or treating. If you want Christmas to come as quickly as possible, this is a fun Halloween tradition! (I’m in awe of any parent who has the energy to get out the Christmas tree after a full day of Halloween celebrations!).
  • Display Halloween photos from past year. This is one of my favorite Halloween traditions – my kids love seeing the pictures of their costumes over the years. I have them printed as 4×6 prints and framed in these inexpensive black frames from Walmart. Another parent said, “I have them from every year all the way back to my husband and I as kids!” How delightful is that?
  • A neighborhood dinner before trick-or-treating. This one is so delightful – what a great way to foster community and friendship. Chili and cornbread was a popular suggestion and so were mummy hot dogs!
  • Donuts and cider the first weekend in October. Sign me up for this Halloween tradition. We used to go to an apple farm in Wisconsin when I was a child and I’ll never get over a good apple cider donut.
  • A Halloween Reading Calendar. If you haven’t printed off your free Halloween reading chart yet, this is the moment! It’ll take you just a few minutes and you can enjoy it all month long. Add a new box of crayons or colored pencils and a new Halloween book (or stack of Halloween books from the library!) to make it extra special.
  • A Candy Scavenger Hunt. One parent said, “during Covid, we switched from trick or treating to a candy scavenger hunt and the kids preferred it.” If the weather, timing, or location makes trick-or-treating difficult, this is a great option instead! Plus you can make sure you get just the good candy!

halloween traditions

halloween traditions

Any other fun Halloween traditions? I’d love to hear!

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Photos by Heather Mildenstein

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  1. We get the mystery Mountain Dew and some of the suspected candy for the year. We try to guess what the flavor is. It’s a fun kickoff. On Halloween Mtn Dew announces the candy it was flavored after. It’s fun to pretend to be candy flavor judges. 🙂

  2. I’ve been displaying my kids’ Halloween costume photos every year since you mentioned it! And bought 18 frames at IKEA so I’d have matching ones at least to get through most of their childhood!
    And LOVE Stumpkin. Maybe in my top 5 favorite picture books of all time. It’s so good.

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