Fall is my absolute favorite time of year! I love it ALL! The football, crockpot meals, colors, clothing, the anticipation of holidays, the WEATHER, festivals, pumpkin patches etc. There are so many fun things to do and how nice is it to get to outside and soak up the crisp fall air?! Sometimes though too many things can overcrowd our calendar and our minds and we end up not having the time to do the things we really love. We wake up and it’s the next season and we missed out on some of our favorite activities. It always helps me to put together an idea list or bucket list at the beginning of the month of things I would like to do with my family. We don’t necessarily schedule them all but the list is handy and when a free day or evening comes up we have fun ideas ready! Some of these are specific to Halloween but most are ones you can do all season long!
- Attending fall festivals and pumpkin patches filled with kid friendly activities is always a great time. Yes please to hayrides, corn mazes and who doesn’t love swimming in corn?! You can find information online about what your town offers. Several churches also have festivals or trunk or treats (where people decorate the trunks of their cars) and kids dress up and walk around the parking lot getting candy. I promise you will find endless activity options online for your kiddos. Simply search Halloween activities near me.
- Visiting an Apple Orchard. This is something I did growing up when we lived in Wisconsin and I have the best memories! I have not taken my kids to one yet because they are about 2-3hrs from us but I have plans to do it next year. My kids love apples and it would be so fun to see them pick their own and drink apple cider on a beautiful orchard! I was able to find several near our area and the best time to go depends on the weather where you live. In North Carolina, September is the best time. I can’t wait to go next year!
- Making pumpkin muffins or whatever your favorite fall treat is. Make it a tradition, something your kids will look forward to every year. We have a tradition of making pumpkin muffins so we can eat one for breakfast on the first day of fall. My kids love this tradition. The recipe to our pumpkin muffins is here if you need an easy go-to! You can make fall recipes all month long but intentionally choosing something to be a tradition gives your child excitement and anticipation of it happening every year.
- Surprising the kids with Halloween pajamas! I used to buy my kids festive clothes or pj’s but I wouldn’t always make a big deal out of it. I would pull it out of the bag randomly to show them or simply fold it and put it in their drawers. Until I realized…ITS ALL ABOUT THE DELIVERY. This year I set them aside for when we got home from the pumpkin patch and surprised them. I forewarned them that the surprise was not eatable or a toy 😉 and then made them sit with their eyes closed until I placed the PJs in their hands. The anticipation is the best part! My kids went crazy over the new pajamas. I love these from amazon and I found these skeleton pajamas from Target and they glow in the dark. I bought them for all 3 of mine so their skeletons can chase each other around at night.
- Carving pumpkins or painting pumpkins! We typically carve one family pumpkin together. This stage in life our kids lose interest in it quickly…the girls don’t like the goop (me included) so the boys handle the dirty work and then the cutting is left to me and my husband…so one jack-o-lantern works for us right now! Painting pumpkins is a different story. My kids love to paint and it’s fun and easy. Or they love simply coloring or decorating them with these stickers which actually might be their favorite thing of all.
- Boo your neighbors. This is a fun tradition that I learned about when we moved into our neighborhood 5 years ago (I love our neighborhood). Your doorbell rings and when answered there is a Halloween bucket sitting outside with goodies in it and a sign that says you’ve been booed. You then tape the sign to your front door and you have a few days to boo 2 of your neighbors. My kids love this…being able to ring the doorbell and run is their favorite part! Here are free printables so you can start this tradition in your neighborhood! You’ve been booed printable We’ve been booed printable
- Playing family games! This squirrel board game is really fun and cute for a fall-themed board game. There are also some great outdoor ones you can play like ghost in the graveyard! Some of my best memories as a kid were playing this game outside in the dark with neighborhood friends! Check out this post for the directions and a few other fun active Halloween themed games!
- Bon Fires & smores of course! Sit around a bonfire with your family or friends and tell ghost stories while making smores. If you don’t have a fire pit there are several free-standing ones you can get that are super reasonable and can be placed anywhere. Check out this one! And for a smores hack, a friend of mine just taught me, you can buy fudge stripe cookies and use those in place of the graham crackers and chocolate. There are also pumpkin marshmallows you can use if you really want to get festive.
- Go hiking & bring a picnic lunch. Look up some local parks in your area and do a simple hike through the woods stopping for a picnic lunch. Kids love the outdoors and talking about the fall things they see. Better yet have them collect fall items in a bucket on the hike and bring it home with them.
- Jumping in the leaves! This is more of a November activity for us- when the leaves are everywhere. One of the kid’s favorites!! Rake the leaves into a monstrous pile and go crazy!
- Go camping or set up a tent in your backyard or in your living room for a special family camping night! Make stories with hand characters on the wall using your flashlights. If you are outside make sure to do some stargazing!
- Chili nights! My family loves chili- it is one of my favorite meals to make during the fall and winter. A great meal while watching Sunday football! Recipe coming to the blog soon!!
- On Halloween do a pizza dinner tradition before leaving to go trick or treating, or whatever the kid’s favorite meal is! The one that’s easiest for mom of course!
- Halloween breakfast- This is something I have started doing for all the holidays and on the morning of the kids come downstairs and I have a festive tablecloth and plates/napkins/cups a few other things. There are tons of fun festive ideas on Pinterest if you wanted to jazz it up even more…pumpkin pancakes or decorate their pancakes with candy corn, a sneaky spider, etc. But honestly, it’s just as exciting for them if they eat the same food for breakfast as usual but on a fun Halloween plate and their same milk in a cute Halloween cup. I am all about simple and remembering that it’s the thought that counts!
- Get a few new festive books for the kids. My mother in law is great about this and I love the books the kids get from her and so do they! Books about fall or Halloween are fun to be reading while in the season. I usually put them away after the season and save to take back out the next year.
- Playing fun festive music in the weeks leading up to a holiday is fun for the kids. We will put it on in the car or at the house. Their favorite Halloween songs are by bounce patrol and I can actually tolerate them. The music can be found on Amazon or you can youtube the music videos. Click the image below to check out a few of my kid’s favorites.
- Lastly, print out your favorite pictures from the previous Halloweens and have them displayed for your kids to see. I thought about making a book for each holiday but it gets hard to keep adding the new ones. You could do a scrapbook and leave blank pages to add to it every year or you can simply display on your refrigerator or mantle. It’s fun to look back on all the memories and more personal to have the photos tangible than glancing at them on a phone or device.
I hope these ideas have given you a few places to start some fun traditions with your family. A lot of them can be tweaked to use for any holiday. I hope you have a wonderful fall that’s full of warmth and joy!