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Trick-or-Treat Ideas: Make Your House the Neighborhood Hit

We have collected all the best trick-or-treat ideas to make your house stand out this Halloween night. Happy Spooky Season!

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If you’e a Halloween lover, you’ve come to the right place! All Hallows Eve is a holiday like no other, and if you like to go over the top, we are right there with you! When else do you get to put on crazy costumes and scare children without it being weird? You can’t do that on Thanksgiving, now can you? Ok, so trick-or-treating is supposed to be a fun time for kids, but there is no rule that states we adults can’t have a little Halloween fun too!

In this guide, we have collected all the best trick-or-treat ideas to make your house the hit of the neighborhood. We have included fun activities for kids of all ages, snacks, costumes, decorations, and adult fun too! We are just assuming if you are a Halloween aficionado, you’ll be throwing a bonafide Halloween party with costumes, decorations, Halloween-themed games, the whole shebang! If you are, great! You’ll find everything you need on this list. If you aren’t, you can still handpick a few of our ideas to make your house special for trick-or-treaters. Here we go!

Adventures for Any Season

No matter what kind of adventure you are planning, you can gather some great ideas from Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition. This incredible scratch-off adventure book is loaded with activities ranging from in-home, rainy day boredom fighters to weekend adventures. It not only helps you come up with out-of-the-ordinary ideas, but it also doubles as a journal and keepsake. Snag one today, and get to adventuring!

20 Trick-or-Treat Ideas to Help You Stand Out on Halloween

1. Play a naughty trick.

Let’s get in the Halloween spirit right off the back with a little trick. If you are throwing a ghoul bash, you’re going to need some snacks. A quintessential Halloween treat is caramel apples. Make some lovely apples, covered chocolate, toffee, caramel, and sprinkles for your guests. In the midst of the platter, sneak in one or two caramel-covered red onions for your unsuspecting guests. It’s a Halloween trick that is sure to get a few hearty laughs (or you might get a cussing). Either way, it will be funny!

2. Set up a front-yard movie.

If you have a parking lot, driveway, or large grassy area, set up a movie screen and projector. Choose an appropriate movie like Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, or Coraline. Now, invite all your buds! All you need are a few blankets on the grounds, or you can tell friends to bring lawn chairs.

Set out a table with some candy and non-candy snacks, or combine your movie night with a trunk or treat by filling your car’s trunk with goodies for guests to choose from. You could rent a vintage popcorn maker and have a lemonade stand. If you really want to go all out, set up a full-blown concession stand in your garage. As payment for their treats, each guest must perform a challenge like hopping on one foot, doing a cartwheel, or solving a riddle.

3. Stage a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt.

Yes we know, egg hunting is for easter, but we are changing the rules. If it weirds you out, don’t make them eggs. Make them tiny pumpkins, gummy eyeballs, or plastic skeletons. It really doesn’t matter, as long as they glow in the dark. You could even just use glow sticks.

Whatever you choose to use, hide your goodies all over the yard. Invite the neighborhood kids over. Set up a starting line, and then when it gets dark, let the games begin. Each child will see how many treats they can find. The top three winners get an extra-special goody bag, and of course, everyone else gets to keep the treats they have collected.

4. Compete in jack-o-lantern carving.

If you want to keep some old-school nostalgia in your Halloween activities, buy a bunch of pumpkins (or have guests bring their own), and have a carving contest. You can invest in templates on Amazon or just have people free-hand their design. It’s really up to you and how much money you want to invest in the activity. If you don’t get templates, have a few Sharpies around, and don’t forget newspaper or trashbags for the mess.

Save all the guts from your pumpkins, and roast the seeds for a snack later in the evening! Make sure to have plenty of rubber gloves, big spoons for scooping, and a few carving kits or knives. It also helps to get in the creative spirit if you have a Halloween playlist going in the background!

5. Make DIY Halloween costumes.

Halloween costumes can get expensive, and some people aren’t on board with all that. We totally get it! That doesn’t mean you can’t still have a little dress-up fun. If you are throwing a fall fest that doesn’t involve costumes, consider playing a game where guests compete to create their own!

Gather scraps of fabric, lots of glitter, markers, glue, googly eyes, poster board, felt sheets, and anything else you can think of. Let each kiddo decide on what costume they want to make, and then have the adults help them realize their vision! Set a time limit, and when they have finished their projects, have a little fashion show to show off their creations.

For an eco-friendly alternative, compete in what we like to call Hobo Halloween. Gather tons of old clothes, shoes, and accessories. You can even have guests bring funny clothing items. Set up a jewelry table, and put out some face paint. Challenge the kids to build the most creative costume they can by using these repurposed items.

6. Capture your prey.

While all your guests are partying inside, sneak outdoors and hang a pre-constructed spider web across the front door. You will need to make it of something like fishing line that is pretty inconspicuous. You could also just buy some of the fake ones that are prevalent in the decoration department. As your first guest goes to leave, they will become your final victim of the night, wrapped up tight in your ingenious web! Make sure to video the exit for a good laugh later.

7. Build your own haunted house.

This one is for the extremists, as it will take loads of time and energy. However, if you have been collecting Halloween decorations, year after year, like a crazed addict, there’s really no reason for you not to build a haunted house. Haunted houses work best for people who have barns or old sheds on their property, but you can definitely do one in your own home too. Think of a theme for each room and recruit some friends to help you out with the boo jumps.

As the host, you should make yourself the tour guide. Use a sticker or stamp to grant each guest entrance, and then escort them through the haunted maze that was once your house. To really get a good spook, you will need alternative lighting in eerie colors, plenty of fake spider webs, and some dry ice. You could use a few camp stoves to boil your pots of witch’s brew, and it helps if there is something squishy or crunchy on the floor! Make sure you reward the little daredevils with some giant treat bags before they leave!

8. Gather around a backyard bonfire.

If your neighborhood allows it, build a giant bonfire in the backyard and throw a harvest festival. Plan fun, family-friendly activities like bobbing for apples, mummy sack races, corn hole, and pin the nose on the witch. For smaller children, fill up some orange balloons with candy and create a pumpkin patch in the corner of the yard. Children can go stomp the pumpkin to reveal the Halloween candy inside. You could also hang a pinata in a tree and let the kids battle it out for the treats inside.

Use wire hangers to safely roast hot dogs. Finish up the evening with smores and an age-appropriate scary story. If scary stories aren’t your thing, you can always end the evening with a little Monster Mash. Little ghosts and goblins love a good dance party!

9. Grown pumpkin lollies.

Gather several small planters (or orange Solo cups) and put a little dirt in each one. When your guests arrive at the party, have them plant a pumpkin seed, and write their name on the glass. Give it a little water. Then send them away to join the fun.

Before they leave for the evening, have them check their pumpkin seed. It will have magically grown into a full-sized Lollipop while they were playing games. Is it scientifically accurate? Well…no. But, it’s cute!

10. Give out non-candy treats.

For the sake of parents everywhere, consider making your goody bags from non-candy items. The kids will get plenty of sweets during the party or from the rest of their neighbors. For a memorable gift that won’t rot their teeth and make them insane little gremlins, fill your trick or treat trunk with surprises like hair scrunchies, fidget toys, glow sticks, Whoopie cushions, slime, vampire teeth, bubbles, temporary tattoos, and fingernail polish. You can snag most of these things at your local dollar store or the $1 Target aisle. It will probably cost you less than those huge bags of candy, the good candy at least.

11. Dazzle the neighborhood with lights and music.

You know those over-the-top Christmas folks who time their holiday music with extravagant light spectacles? Yeah, we love those people, and we can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t do the same thing for Halloween! Spookify your house with some orange and purple lights and crank up the Halloween playlist. The neighborhood kids will be mesmerized, and you get to enjoy the sight of happy littles having their own dance party in your driveway. It’s a win for everyone!

12. Play poke-a-pumpkin.

A spin on the classic trick-or-treat scenario, this cute little game can be prepped in minutes. Simply fill several plastic cups with either a sweet treat or a “trick” (challenge) that the child will need to perform to get their treat. Cover each cup in orange tissue paper, and secure it with a rubber band. You can even stack them up, and glue them together to create a cute pumpkin shape if you want.

Children will poke their chosen pumpkin (supply a pencil or witch’s wand for this), and pull out their treat, or their trick. Some suggested “tricks” could be to race you in a sack race, wrap their mom up like a mummy with toilet paper, give you their best zombie impression, or find a hidden treasure in your yard. Once they have completed the challenge, they get their treat!

13. Feed them spooky treats.

There is an endless array of Halloween-inspired food items out there, and they are so stinking adorable! Don’t serve boring old hot dogs to your best ghouls. Wrap your hot dogs in strips of crescent roll and put some googly eyes on them! Mummy dogs are way more fun…and they’re pretty tasty too.

A jello mold with floating eye gumballs is fun, and make sure you throw a few eyeballs in the punch cauldron too. If Halloween is still a little hot in your region, grab a popsicle mold and make frozen treats with candy bones inside. With a little creativity, just about all your favorite party recipes can move over to the dark side.

14. Challenge guests to a Candyland obstacle course.

If you have nice yard space, transform it into a Candyland-themed adventure. Kiddos can weave their way through giant lollipops, crawl under candy cane tunnels (hula hoops cut in half work great), swim through chocolate ponds (brown tissue paper or yarn in a kiddie pool), and fight their way through a marshmallow battle. Just beware of Lord Licorice dolling out his nasty tricks! If you are really dedicated, the obstacle course ends at a giant cardboard castle surrounded by mounds of cotton candy.

If you have small children, or a creepy Halloween theme just isn’t your taste, Candyland is a wonderful alternative! It’s wholesome, easy to put together with household items, and it makes for some really cute photos.

15. Provide a memory.

Speaking of photos, with all those amazing costumes…it would be a shame not to get some document the cuteness! Grab a few hay bales, some extra pumpkins, or whatever decorations fit your theme, and set up a space in your yard where visitors can take a professional photo with a cute backdrop! You can either volunteer to use their phones to take the shot, or you could do old-fashioned Polaroids for everyone. Parents are always the ones taking the pictures, and they usually forget to get any with them and their children together. Your guests will be grateful for these memories in the future.

16. Stage a marshmallow battle.

If you have older kids, velcro or tape a large target on their front and back. Give each child a set number of giant marshmallows and send them out in the yard. The rules are basically the same as laser tag. If you get hit, you are out. The last kid standing wins a special treat!

You can make the game last a little longer, and be a bit more interesting for onlookers, by challenging each eliminated child to a “trick” to earn their way back in the game. You can also play the game in teams if you like. When someone gets hit, they are frozen until a team member uses a marshmallow to unfreeze them! Whichever team runs out of marshmallows first loses. You might need a marshmallow monitor to ensure that gamers don’t re-arm themselves with spent marshmallows.

17. Create a giant board game.

Turn your driveway into an adventure wonderland with some sidewalk chalk and giant dice. Children will basically act as their own game pieces. They will roll the dice and move the allotted number of spaces, performing whatever action they land on. Some squares will contain treats. Some will contain tricks. Others will make them move backward or swap spots with a friend. The first to make it to the front porch gets the prize!

18. Set up mystery boxes.

For another activity with a bit of trickiness, set up three large boxes near your mailbox (if you are social distancing) or on the porch. Each trick-or-treater will choose a box to find their fate. They will either get a sweet treat, a non-candy treat, or a challenging trick. If you are having a party for older kids, you could also have someone, or something, scary pop out of the third box. We love this one because it is easy and inexpensive. If you don’t want to go all out, but still want your house to be a bit different, this is a great option.

19. Make it an adventure.

Another option for those who don’t like to get too close is a friendly game using walkie-talkies. Set up a sign on your mailbox with instructions for each child to push the button and give you the “secret password.” They will find the word under a rock by their feet, under the witch’s hat, or whatever decoration you have near the mailbox. You get the gist.

When you receive the password, you will send your excited guest instructions for their treasure hunt. Their candy may be hiding in the bushes, under the pumpkin patch, or in a flower pot. This one is also easy to put together and is a ton of fun!

20. Turn the treat around.

Just because it is a holiday known for trickery, doesn’t mean we can’t deliver a little love too! Load up your costume-clad kiddos and go spread some Halloween joy to an elderly neighbor or the local nursing home. Children inherently spread happiness, and it would be the highlight of the resident’s year if your cute kiddos showed up to deliver them a treat! While you should probably steer clear of candy (diabetes you know), each child could deliver a specially made holiday card to a resident, or sing them a Halloween song.

Once you have completed your joy mission, head back to trick-or-treat headquarters, and let the games and snacks commence. Some nursing homes even prepare for the arrival of littles and will have treats for them as well. This little outing usually doesn’t take long, and the nursing home residents will talk about it for weeks.

Time to Start Planning

With these top 20 trick-or-treat ideas in your pocket, your house is sure to be the neighborhood favorite! Whether you are looking to go big, or you just needed one small idea, we hope we found you the perfect solution. Now, go, go! You have shopping, baking, and decorating to do!

Let us know in the comments which awesome Halloween ideas you are going to use, and drop any questions you have too!

For more great autumn ideas, check out “40 Fun Fall Activities for the Whole Family.” It’s packed with cool-weather adventures that your whole clan can enjoy together!

Before Old-Man Winter arrives, you still have some time to get in a few “Classic Outdoor Activities Worth Reviving.” This list is full of innovative ideas to create a nostalgic day or evening worth remembering!

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you give out at Halloween that is not candy?

If you want trick-or-treat ideas sure to be remembered, fill your goody bags with glow bracelets, fidget toys, poppers, or hair scrunchies!

How do you make trick-or-treat fun?

The best trick-or-treat ideas are unique. Get creative! Consider setting up a pumpkin patch in your yard, having a photo booth, or making guests perform a challenge to get their treat.

What are some fun activities for Halloween?

Make Halloween fun by creating a creative trick-or-treat experience for visitors! Turn your driveway into a giant board game, send guests on a treasure hunt for their treat, or set up mystery boxes!

What can I do for fun in the fall?

As the summer days fade and cool weather kicks in, look for activities that can still be done outdoors. Try family scratch-off adventures, or use trick-or-treat ideas to set up a unique experience for Halloween visitors!

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