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Get Your Fall On! Alternatives to Halloween

by Jessica Parnell | Oct 20, 2017 | 3 min read

Not everyone celebrates Halloween. The galloping ghosts, the spooky spiders, and meddling minions may be too much for your younger children or boring to older kids. How do you take October 31st and make it fun and exciting? We’ve got a few ideas for you to skip the candy bags (the ones you rush to get half-price the day before) and ringing doorbells. Check out our alternatives to Halloween below!

Harvest party. If you’re searching for alternatives to Halloween, a Harvest Party should be at the top of your list. Instead of a typical Halloween festivity, imagine hot chocolate, a bonfire, or lawn games. Try a DIY pumpkin photo booth for your kids to say “cheese!” For more pumpkin fun, combine those glow-in-the-dark necklaces and pumpkins to play ring toss. Embrace your inner “John Deere” with hay bale snacks (psst…they’re Rice Krispies!) or eat healthy with these satsuma jack o’ lanterns.

Reformation day. Another alternative to Halloween is Reformation Day! On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 statements, called theses, to the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This action created a divide in the Catholic Church about indulgences (certificates to “buy” yourself into heaven) and what it meant to be forgiven in the eyes of Jesus Christ. It’s the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year, so celebrate with fun and educational activities.

  • Pin the 95 Theses on the church door. This is a fun way to re-enact Martin Luther’s daring act of rebellion. Bonus points to dress up!
  • “Nailed it.” Be silly with these great photo booth props! You’ll hit the nail on the head with this craft.
  • Plan a lesson. The Holiday Zone has plenty of activities for both younger and older kids in your family. Try out a word search or art activity for the young’uns. For the older crowd, there’s a vocabulary guide and writing prompts. If you’re interested incorporating Reformation Day into your lesson plans, give these a shot!
  • Read more about Martin Luther. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Martin Luther. For instance, did you know he wrote an open letter to the nobility of the time regarding reform as well as the 95 Theses? For older kids, this may be a great literature assignment for them.

Pumpkin patch fun. Alternatives to Halloween includes a pumpkin patch! Who hasn’t been to a pumpkin patch? No matter what state you live in (or what the the weather is there), nothing says “autumn” like a pumpkin patch. It’s almost like a formal ceremony to pick out the perfect pumpkin. Nowadays, farms have expanded their offerings to other entertainment as well. So there’s a…

  • Corn maze. It sounds daunting, crazy, and possibly dangerous! (You’re bringing your family in there, after all.) A corn maze requires your kids to use critical thinking and memorization skills. Give them the map (and pray). Some corn mazes use clues to guide you through, so make sure your kids aren’t googling the answer! Find your nearest corn maze here.
  • Apple bobbing. This needs no explanation. Make sure you have a ponytail holder for anyone who has long hair. We don’t want any water mishaps!

Geocaching. Have you heard about geocaching? It’s a giant scavenger hunt around the world! Download the official geocaching app and spend a day exploring your local neighborhood. You never know what you might find!

Family movie night. Spend a night under the stars, snuggled under blankets, and have a family movie night! Here are the steps to pure party perfection:

  • Make this cardboard projector to house your smartphone in.
  • Hang a sheet in the backyard.
  • Pick a movie:
      • Fun. Try Disney’s Moana or Dreamworks’ Minions for laughter ringing across the neighborhood.
      • Educational. Watch a History Channel documentary on the Titanic or catch up on Mythbusters series. We highly recommend Mythbusters, because your kids will love the hosts of the show blowing up everything in sight – all in the name of science!
  • Create popcorn treat bags filled with your favorite candy and fresh popcorn, and a comfy environment.  Enjoy family time spent together!

Caramel apple bar. Entice your kids with “just one bite” with a caramel apple bar! Dip the apples into caramel (of course), then have five to six “toppings” laid out on the table for your kids to decorate their apples with. There’s no need to make it spooky — good ol’ fashioned sprinkles will do. Use whatever your heart (and kids) desire!

There are plenty of alternatives to Halloween ideas out there, including the ones we have here. Make it educational, make it fun — it’s up to you! The fall season isn’t just about the spooky stuff. It’s a season of renewal and changes as winter fast approaches. So pack up that witch’s hat and broomstick — here’s to a fabulous October 31st!

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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