Not feeling the trick-or-treat scene this year? There are a lot of reasons why your family might not want to hit up the neighbors for candy, but that doesn’t mean you need to sit at home with the lights off.
Check out our tips for trick-or-treating alternatives that will still get you in the Halloween mood.
1. Find a Trunk or Treat (or start one).
Not interested in going door-to-door? Trunk or treats keep the best parts of trick or treating without the knocking.
Costumed kids safely collect goodies from trunk to trunk of well-decorated cars in parking lots.
Check out local churches, police and fire departments, and community event pages for trunk or treats already in the works — or host your own!
2. Take a trip to your local fire station or community center for a harvest party.
These fall festivals are almost always all-ages, with festive treats and games. Some even offer hayrides!
Keep in mind that sometimes these happen a few days before Halloween — especially if the big day falls on a weekday — and even though they’re typically free, you might need to RSVP.
Check with local fire stations, community centers, churches, etc. to see if they’re hosting something before you make plans.
3. Create your own spooky scavenger hunt.
Hide jack-o’-lanterns, candy and decorations around your neighborhood or a park.
Draw up a map, and make it a competition with the winner taking home a huge pumpkin or special toy.
4. Throw an old-fashioned Halloween party.
Chances are, if you’re not down with trick-or-treating this year, then you know some other families who aren’t, either.
Host a get-together with cider donuts, a costume contest and bobbing for apples. You could even kick things off with some free food.
5. Make a movie extra special by watching it outside.
Have a projector (or know someone who does)? Consider bundling up and having a backyard movie under the stars.
You can even load up an inflatable pool with blankets and create a seriously awesome outdoor theater.
6. Invite some friends over for Halloween cookie decorating.
Don’t feel like baking? No judgment! Grocery stores sell ready-to-frost sugar cookies in the bakery section.
7. Host a pumpkin decorating party.
Center your get-together around everyone’s favorite fall vegetable. Bake the seeds and keep some cider warmed in the Crock-Pot.
Tip: Keep it little-kid friendly with crafting instead of carving. You can check out some of our non-carving ideas for inspiration.
8. Get some chills and thrills at an amusement park.
If you’re close to an amusement park, find out if they have any spooky festivities. (Let’s be honest, the rides themselves can be scary enough.)
Amusement park admission can be spendy, but Halloween falls during a slower time, so look for specials on their website and Groupon.
9. Keep warm inside your local mall’s free trick-or-treat event.
These events typically involve costumes, trick-or-treating for goodies and — bonus — window shopping for you.
Outdoor malls and shopping centers will also sometimes organize these, if you’re willing to brave the elements.
10. Take your kids to see some creepy creatures at the zoo.
Zoos are known to put on a Halloween celebration by decorating animal enclosures, setting up educational tables, and giving treats to the kids.
These usually aren’t free unless you already have a membership, but they likely won’t cost more than the regular entry fee.
11. Keep your holiday active with a fun run.
Many communities have Halloween-themed races planned on or around the big day, and they encourage dressing up while you get your steps in.
While these are typically family-friendly, they can get costly if there’s a per-person entry fee.
Solution? Recruit neighbors and organize your own neighborhood fun run for free!
12. Pass out your own treats (and tricks).
If you don’t feel like hunting for candy, you can always pass it out instead.
Get the whole family involved to make the experience memorable for the trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Think creepy music, those bowls that grab you when you reach for candy, and special outdoor decor.
13. Visit a pumpkin patch — or take in some other fall activities.
Pumpkin patches are often free to visit, and the pumpkins are often the same price (or less!) than you’ll pay at your local grocery store.
The larger pumpkin patches frequently have corn mazes, games and other activities, too, but they might not be free. Make sure to check before you head out.
And there are plenty more fall activity ideas where that came from.