There’s no denying that trick-or-treating is a blast. But it can also be a pretty late night for little ones. If you’ve got a ghoul or goblin who’s a bit too young to stay up, or if you want to mix things up and add more fun to your Halloween, here’s a list of seven great alternatives to going door-to-door.

1. Trunk or Treat. Gather a bunch of your little witches and zombies in an empty space like a school parking lot for this party. You can park your cars, decorate, bring treats, play music and let the kids run wild! Giving the party a theme—like ghosts or mummies— adds to the fun. This is great to do before Halloween, and you can even let the little ones who won’t be heading out at night go ‘trunk to trunk’ for a little candy action.

2. Go Scavenging! Gather a bunch of neighborhood kids and lead them on a backyard spooky scavenger hunt! Better yet, get all the parents together and make a whole afternoon out of it. You can hide age-appropriate treats or toys for the kids to find and finish it off with a party complete with yummy, Halloween-themed snacks and drinks for everyone.

photo: Personal Creations via flickr

3. Be a Trick-or-Treating Detective. Get everyone’s thinking caps on for this fun little play on a scavenger hunt. Set up a series of simple clues at a few select houses in your area and have the kids solve a riddle for great prizes at the end. This is perfect for the weekend before Halloween.

4. Pay it Forward with Reverse Trick-or-Treating. For this great activity, all you need to do is collect a few small treats, crafts or even appreciation cards and leave it on the doorstep of a house in your neighborhood. Then ring the doorbell, hide and watch the fun as your neighbors answer the door and find cute little notes like “Boo loves you??” attached to your gift! It’s a fun way to involve young kids—and to get to know your neighbors, too.

halloween-2013-robleto-via-flickrphoto: robleto via flickr

5. Tiny Trick-or-Treaters on Parade! If you’ve got wee little ones who won’t be up when it’s dark—take them out for a daytime parade! Lots of towns organize a daytime event where kids can head out onto the main drag fully decked out in their costumes for daytime trick-or-treating at the local merchants’ shops. Best part is, when your boo gets tired, you can stop for a coffee and relax.

frankenstiengiftbag_sharisberries_monstercrafts_halloween_national_redtricyclephoto: Shari’s Berries via flickr

6. Have a Decorating/Crafting Party. Invite a group of kids over and let their imaginations run wild with Halloween-themed crafts. You can decorate mini-pumpkins, or treat bags (perfect for the parade or scavenger hunt) or even just make spooky decorations for around the house. Get felt paper, googly eyes, pipe-cleaners, stickers and more and let the kids’ creativity shine through.

7. Host a Movie Marathon. What could be better than settling in for the night with a bunch of spooky movies and some great snacks? Find some age-appropriate flicks for the kids, pop some popcorn and get comfy! You can even create a theme, dress-up or bake a bunch of Halloween-inspired treats to add to the evening.

Will your family be partaking in any extra Halloween fun this year? Share with us in the Comments below!


—Heather Dixon