Trick or Treating Alternatives

Many kids love to go trick or treating. But, maybe your disabled child does not enjoy it. Or, maybe we’re in the middle of a pandemic, so you don’t feel like you can trick or treat safely. Either way, you need alternative activities to trick or treating, and here is a great list.

  • Bon Fire or Fire Pit with or without a Halloween Movie
  • Family Baking with Fall Treats
  • Family Game Night with Candy Prizes
  • Community Trunk or Treat
  • Visit a Nursing Home and show off your costume
  • Visit the Zoo
  • Halloween Scavenger Hunt in your home or yard
  • Pumpkin Decorating Contest

What to do if you can’t go trick or treating? There is plenty to do! You can celebrate Halloween without going trick or treating. I actually wrote this post long before 2020. My son has never enjoyed trick or treating. And even though many families do Trunk or Treating, there are never any around us.

One year, I pulled him around the neighborhood in a wagon for trick or treat. And, he was asleep almost the entire time. Once we reach 7:30 or 8:00, he’s going to fall asleep. It doesn’t matter where we are. That was the year I decided to stop forcing it.

There are plenty of alternatives to trick or treating available to you and your family. I know it’s early, but I wanted to post this to give you plenty of time to plan alternative trick-or-treat activities for your special needs child. Different, not less!

Halloween Alternatives to Trick or Treating

  1. Have a Family Game Night – There is nothing more fun to a child than sitting down with their parents at the kitchen table and playing some great games with the family. Pick out the games in advance to ward off any fighting over what is going to be played and have them ready to rock and roll. Place some snacks and chips around the table for everyone to enjoy and start playing.
  2. Host a Bon Fire – Invite all your family and friends over for a fun bonfire in your backyard. Hot dogs and s’mores are simple enough to make. And who doesn’t like sitting around a good old-fashioned fire? Grab some hay bales for seating and serve up some hot apple cider to keep everyone warm. You can make your party with a spooky Halloween theme or go untraditional and have guests dress like Disney characters. If a bon fire isn’t reasonable, you can now purchase outdoor fire pits at a reasonable cost. Add an outdoor movie to make it extra special.
  3. Pass out Candy – Have the kids dress up at home and pass out candy to all the trick or treaters. You can have a fun movie playing in the background to keep them busy in between guests. Passing out candy can be a whole lot less stressful than running around in the cold dark night. Smaller kids may be a little more comfortable just looking out the window while you pass out the candy.
  4. Make a Treat Night – This is one of my favorite alternatives to trick or treating. All kids love playing in the kitchen with mom and dad and what better way to keep them busy this year than by having a fun treat night in your own kitchen. Grab ups some baking supplies and get busy making cookies, cupcakes or candy at home with the kiddos. When you are done making your treat sit down and have a great big sweet feast.
  5. Make a Scavenger Hunt – Grab some candy treats and set up a scavenger hunt in your own backyard. Kids can still dress in costumes and experience the joy of candy without having to go door to door.
  6. Go to the Movies – With all the scary things that are happening Halloween night, it’s nice to be able to take your little ones out for a movie night. Check your local listing and see what non-scary cartoons they have playing in your area and take the whole family in to see it. See this list of 25 Not Scary Halloween Movies.
  7. Find a Local Trunk or Treat – A lot of times churches or community organizations will host a trunk or treat. Cars will line up in a parked position in a parking lot and they will pass out candy from their trunks of their cars. It’s a fun way to do a little trick-or-treating without all the dangers of crossing back and forth on busy roads.
  8. Go to the Zoo – The zoo is a great alternative to trick or treating and they often are open on Halloween night. In some communities, they even have trick or treating available for the kids. One very popular Halloween thing to do in Philadelphia is Boo at the zoo. You can get some candy and see the animals at night too.
  9. Pumpkin Decorating– Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween anymore. Many household decorate them with their favorite football team, or find other uses. Be creative, there are many no carve pumpkin ideas out there.
  10. Visit a Nursing Home-Even if your kids don’t like trick-or-treating, or can’t stay up late, you can do daytime activities. Consider visiting a local nursing home. Residents love seeing the kids in costumes.

Author’s note: This post was originally written before 2020. As such, some activities may require extra planning or safety precautions, or may have to wait until things are back to normal.

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