iStock_000074498557_Illustration b collageCostumes, candy and friendly spooks are coming your direction. If you’re a parent, the holiday of Halloween in the United States usually means great festivities for all. One of our most treasured traditions is the act of going from house to friendly house in your neighborhood and gathering bunches of candy to be eaten in their entirety over the next week.

But in truth, there are a number of reasons why you, as a parent, may not want to take part in this tradition. The weather may be unfriendly to tiny little cheeks and hands. Your child may have allergies to peanuts or chocolate. Your nearest neighbor may be a mile away. Whatever your reason, here are a few Halloween alternatives to trick-or-treating.


Halloween Alternative #1: Backyard Scavenger Hunt

If the weather is nice enough, a fun alternative to trick-or-treating is to have a backyard scavenger hunt. Sure, it takes a bit of planning, and creativity, but having a group of young kids running around your yard searching for clues and prizes can be great fun. Plus, since you created the scavenger hunt, you can make sure the “prizes” are fun and healthy for everyone involved. Plus, everyone can still dress up in costume, and if everyone gets tired, home isn’t that far away!

Halloween Alternative #2: Mini Pumpkin Decorating

Do you have colorful markers? How about access to mini pumpkins or squash? How about some “artistic” kids? Well, you have absolutely everything you need for a fun Halloween evening, even if the rain is pouring down outside. Simply roll out the newspaper over your table, sit the kids around the table, arm them with a mini pumpkin and a bunch of markers (washable ones, to play it safe) and let them have fun. You’ll be amazed at what everyone comes up with.

Halloween Alternative #3: Help Weave a Story

One of my favorite pastimes in the world is listening to and telling stories. It’s something that humans have probably done since they could talk. Why not start your own tradition and tell stories on Halloween night? Start by getting everyone in the same room, get everyone comfortable, and designate a person to start the story while holding an object like a flashlight. After a few minutes, have them pass the flashlight and story onto another person. Trust me, you, and the kids will remember the stories for a long time to come.

Halloween Alternative #4: Trick-Or-Treat at a Nursing Home

This idea is a great one because it not only has the fun of trick-or-treating, but also the act of doing something special for someone else. Nursing homes and retirement communities are filled with people who don’t get many visitors. So why not call your local nursing home or retirement community and see if you can arrange for a group of kids to come around and do some visits and trick-or-treating in the community? Chances are everyone involved will have a great deal of fun.

Halloween Alternative #5: Host a Party

If safety is a concern for you as a parent, consider hosting a Halloween party in your home. Not only can you make sure you have snacks and candy that everyone can enjoy safely, but you’ll know that everyone is enjoying themselves in a safe environment. Plus, you can design the party to fit what you need. From costume contests to bobbing for apples, everyone can have a grand time indeed.

What other alternatives to trick-or-treating have you come across?