Halloween Bucket List: 14 Family Activities & Ideas to Celebrate October

Show of hands if Halloween tends to be more of something to cross off your to-do list, rather than a time of year you embrace and celebrate. *Raises both hands* Maybe you don’t even acknowledge the holiday, aside from picking up an obligatory pumpkin at the grocery store and buying bags of candy to pass out on Halloween night. It can be especially tough to get into the spirit when it still feels like you should be laying poolside, not breaking out the flannel. But weather appropriate or not, it can totally help you get in the right mindset and start enjoying the month leading up to Halloween if you just start doing. Today, in partnership with Walmart, I’ve put together a bucket list of ideas to keep your entire family busy for the month of October. And if you’ve been delaying, hopefully some of these Halloween activities will get you in the spirit 😉

*Posts on KelleyNan.com may contain affiliate links. While this post is sponsored by Walmart, all opinions, concept, and creative are my own. Click HERE for full disclosure.*

1. READ/TELL GHOST STORIES

Plan an evening to snuggle around an outdoor fire, under blankets with marshmallows and s’mores, or take the simple route and tell ghost stories in bed. I’ve even gotten together with girlfriends where we’ve exchanged some of the creepiest/unexplained events we’ve personally experienced, over a few glasses of wine. A few weeks ago, I found my favorite collection of scary stories growing up that I used to check out on repeat from the library. Remember the girl with the ribbon around her neck? The dog under the bed? They’re all in there 😉 They’re also perfect for a unique Halloween gift. You can find the box set HERE and like most items linked in this post, it’s available for Walmart’s free two-day shipping. I scored everything I needed to fulfill this entire bucket list online HERE and then wrapped things up with a quick run to Walmart for perishables. They have staples in-store, but tons more online.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Classic Halloween Books

2. VISIT A PUMPKIN PATCH

We are lucky enough to have some great pumpkin farms around us in north Georgia but even if you have to go for more of a drive, it’s totally worth it. This is a tradition of ours and yes, there’s the whole grab-a-wheel-barrow-and-fill-it-to-the-brim part, but there’s also the loading-up-on-fresh-jams-and-preserves part and sampling-homemade-pumpkin-pie part. You can even pack a picnic and turn it into a full day affair.

Burt's Pumpkin Farm in North Georgia

3. CARVE A JACK-O-LANTERN

So, while Dave and I have an annual standing pumpkin farm date, we’ve never actually carved a pumpkin together. I’ve wanted to for years and we’ve just never made the time… I think this may be the year 😉

Scroll & Tap to Shop the Pumpkin Carving Kits

4. MAKE CARAMEL APPLES

Have you ever made caramel apples? Like, not just pick them up, already packaged, but made them? If not, it’s super easy and you know I love any excuse to have a DIY toppings bar 😉

How to Make Caramel Apples

What You’ll Need:

  • Apples
  • 4″ Treat Sticks
  • Bag of Caramels
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • Toppings (crush candy bits, nuts, chocolate chips, graham cracker, etc.)
  • Bowls for Dipping (THESE are the perfect width and depth for apple dipping)

Instructions:

  1. Rinse apples in hot water to remove some of the wax.
  2. Twist off stem and dry completely.
  3. Insert 4″ treat stick where stem was removed.
  4. Unwrap bag of caramels and place in a non-stick sauce pan.
  5. Begin heating over medium heat; once the caramels begin to soften, add cream.
  6. Stir often until caramels are completely melted. If consistency is too thick, add additional tablespoon of cream.
  7. Dunk and spin apples in caramel until fully coated (you may have to spoon some caramel on top).
  8. Hold apple for approximately 30 seconds to allow caramel to set before dunking in topping. You can roll it in the topping to cover it to your liking, and also spoon/sprinkle additional toppings.
  9. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Bar with Toppings

Favorite topping: heath bar bits with mini chocolate chips! This milk glass cake stand and dome will fully cover any apples you don’t devour after making 😉

Halloween Caramel Apples with Different Toppings

Caramel Apples with various topping ideas

5. GO ON A HAYRIDE

Whether it’s a full blown tractor situation or just the neighborhood piling into the back of a pickup, it all counts 😉

6. HOST A PARTY/DINNER

If you’re up for a full blown, costume blow-out, awesome! If the thought of planning something big is daunting, have some friends over for a more intimate dinner. A masquerade theme keeps it on-theme but low pressure for you and your guests.

Halloween Masquerade Masks

Scroll & Tap to Shop Cobweb Drape & Masks

Masquerade Masks for Halloween Party

Need some inspiration? You can check out these past Halloween dinner party ideas:

7. DRINK APPLE CIDER

A stop in your favorite local coffee shop or run through the drive-thru is all it takes to start feeling those fall vibes!

8. HAVE A HALLOWEEN BAKING NIGHT

Why should Christmas get all the cookie decorating glory? If your family enjoys baking during the holidays, plan a day to whip up a batch of your favorite sugar cookies.

Halloween Baking and Cookie Ideas

Aside from the basics you probably already have on hand, all you need are some cookie cutters (I have THIS variety bucket) and some festive, Halloween-themed sprinkles (I used THIS assorted container). Cookie artistry isn’t my strong suit (obviously, that’s putting it mildly haha) but lucky for me, they all taste the same 😉

Halloween Sugar Cookies

Scroll & Tap to Shop Cookie Essentials

Halloween Baking and Sugar Cookie Night

9. VISIT A HAUNTED HOUSE

Ok, this isn’t for everyone – myself included. I used to love getting scared, going through haunted houses, if I could be sandwiched right in the middle of our group. But, I think the monsters could totally tell I was the most terrified and it painted a target on me every. single. time. Fun fact- when we were still just friends, walking through a haunted house is the first time Dave and I ever held hands 😉 And then he “fed me” to the ghouls haha. Not exactly romantic. Then, almost six years ago, we bought tickets to go to a haunted house (Netherworld if you’re around metro-Atlanta); we stood in line for over an hour before fear got the best of me and I made us leave before ever actually entering. Sooo… go to a haunted house, or just mark that one off your list 😉

10. GET LOST IN A CORN MAZE

Grab a hot chocolate (or apple cider!) and try to go at night, if you can. I will take a corn maze over a haunted house any day of the week 😉

Corn Maze for Halloween

11. PLAN AN EPIC COSTUME

For yourself, your kids and even your pets. Admittedly, I appreciate seeing kids in cute, creative costumes over getting totally decked out myself, but unfortunately for our pups, they are our kids. They’ve been lobsters, sharks, pigs, Santa’s helpers and this year, they’re a pride of lions. I even found manes to match their coats! You can find all different color lion manes, in all sizes HERE.

Dog Halloween costumes with lion manes

Scroll & Tap to Shop Some Favorite Pet Costumes

12. DECORATE YOUR HOME

You don’t have to go full-Halloween to add a little spooky flair to your fall. You can add some cobwebs, spiders, or bats to what you already have, in unsuspecting places. And by “unsuspecting”, I mean in your home. Dave put an artificial spider in my car once, close to my gear shift; I didn’t see it until I was at a stoplight… you can imagine the trouble he got in 😉

13. SNUGGLE IN FOR A THEMED HALLOWEEN MOVIE NIGHT

This is my FAVORITE part of celebrating Halloween – snuggling under layers of blankets (for safety and eye-covering) to watch all the movies. Planning a horror movie marathon makes for a fun date night but you can also treat your family to an on-theme Halloween movie night.

Tip: Keep it a surprise. When your kids/family come home from school/work, have a movie night setup ready to go. For example, if you want to start the season with Hocus Pocus, you can have a cauldron of candy/snacks, popcorn, witches socks, pajamas, etc. Another witch classic your kids may not have seen- The Witches!

Witches Cauldron with Hocus Pocus, Witches Socks, and Candy,

Scroll & Tap to Shop Witchy Movie Night

14. TRICK-OR-TREAT / PASS OUT CANDY

And when all else on your bucket list is finished, this should mark the close of your Halloween – not the one and only day you acknowledge it 😉 One of our favorite parts of our neighborhood is that on Halloween night, kids are everywhere. In our old neighborhood, we had maybe one group of trick-or-treaters. Now, Dave describes it as something out of the movies. We love sitting on the front porch, passing out candy and watching families navigate up and down the streets, golf carts… all of it. You’ll probably even find us, apple cider in hand.

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you probably already know that Dave and I don’t let not having kids keep us from doing all the fun things. In this house, we do Disney movies, Christmas pajamas, and scavenger hunts. And when you can find the magic and joy in all things, you open your heart to appreciate the small moments. Make the ordinary extraordinary. So, this list is for everyone, of all ages, any marital status, kids or not. If you are ready to mark the season, it’s time to get to work 😉

14 Halloween Family Activities and a Halloween Bucket List to Tackle this October

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21 Comments

  1. 10.9.18
    Kelley Kolpitcke said:

    I love all of these ideas! Thank you Kelley!
    Kelley from Boise ? ?

  2. 10.9.18
    Sharon said:

    I have no comment other than to say, Your posts are THE BEST. You make me smile and get my wheels turning every time. No over-the-top falderal that some of us can’t begin to afford, but real-life design, decor and FUN ideas for LIFE! Thank you, Kelley!

    • 10.9.18

      Sharon, THANK YOU SO MUCH! In our house, I’m always looking for ways to make things a little more fun; that means so much! xoxo

    • 10.10.18
      Julie said:

      I second that!!

  3. 10.9.18

    I am FINALLY in a Fall/Halloween mood after reading your post – thank you!!

    • 10.17.18

      Woo! Yay, Janet! We are finally starting to get some of those fall temps; I’m ready!

  4. 10.9.18
    Cecilia from Georgia said:

    All these are great! I like the shirt Dave is wearing with the Allman Brothers Band on it! You have such a great spirit and make an ordinary day fun with your posts. I love the cookie baking idea too!

    • 10.17.18

      Cecilia, I love that you picked up on that haha

  5. 10.9.18

    Kelley these ideas are the cutest and ones my girls would love! The Carmel apples are a must-do along with the pet costumes are scary books and movies! One stop shopping at Walmart here we come!

    • 10.17.18

      I can just see Hope in a lion mane! Maybe a black one haha

  6. 10.9.18
    Gretchen Thomas said:

    Love your Halloween “bucket list”! More than that, I love how you make all things fun! Thanks for all of the great and easy to do ideas.

    • 10.17.18

      Nan, it’s all about making the small moments fun! 😉

  7. 10.9.18
    Catherine said:

    Always love your posts! Your pictures and decorations are awesome! We don’t have kids either….just a spoiled French bulldog 🙂

    Every October we watch Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp. That is one of our traditions. Enjoy the season!!

    • 10.17.18

      Catherine, just reading that makes me feel close to you haha. And I haven’t seen that in forever! Adding it to our list this month!

  8. 10.13.18
    Andrea said:

    I really enjoyed this post. Is the pumpkin farm where you get the ones to decorate your front porch?

  9. 10.17.18
    Joni said:

    So many great ideas – thanks Kelley Nan! And, I can’t wait to see the “carved” pumpkin by Kelley Nan & Dave! Hugs!!!!

  10. 10.20.18
    Sojourner said:

    I love your home and your creative ideas, but what you wrote at the end of this post was special. It was deeply true and very loving.
    Thank you.

  11. 9.11.19

    WOW Kelley!!! Yes! I do decorate for Halloween….. every nook & crannie! I love to decorate for allll the holidays! Your decorating for Halloween is truly awesome! I love that all your decorations are neutral colors.. away from the overdone black & orange.. sooo tired of seeing those.. Your decorating isalways so fresh.. current & ideas we can always use.. change r add too! Please post More of Eliza!!! Seeet Pumpkin For Sure!

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