Winter is on its way; the nights are drawing in and the festive season is looming large, but first there’s the little matter of Halloween – and children love it.
Hallowe’en as it was traditionally written, has its roots in ancient Celtic traditions and a festival called Samhain which marked the end of the harvest season.
It is now a night of ghoulish mischief, costumes and of course, trick-or-treating.
If you’ve got younger children, grandchildren or are simply young at heart – you need to embrace the spooky season and plan some ghostly fun. From classic pumpkin carving to telling ghost stories – here’s our top Halloween activities…
Trick or treating
For a lot of us, Halloween is all about the sweets and going from door-to-door on the hunt for goodies. You’ll love seeing the joy in their faces – and If you have a sweet-tooth, you can always teach them a lesson about sharing.
If you have grandchildren or children that are into crafts which, let’s be honest most are, then there are plenty of fun crafts to do over Halloween. You can create willow lanterns to decorate your outdoor spaces, or make monster bookmarks – Country Living Magazine has some great ideas for Halloween crafts.
If you are planning to trick-or-treat or go to a party, you will all need a great costume. Sure, you can buy one but where’s the fun in that?
It can be as simple as wrapping them in toilet paper to turn them into a mummy, or getting creative with a bed sheet to get a Scooby-Doo like ghost.
Whatever you do, get creative and get the kids involved, it’s the perfect opportunity for a bit of fun DIY.
If you really want to make sure your children get into character, then add a bit of face painting into the mix.
Apple bobbing is almost as old as Halloween and dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain. During an annual celebration, young unmarried people tried to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from a string on a line and the first person to do so would be allowed to marry.
If you have a few children to look after then, apple bobbing is a real crowd-pleaser, and it’s easy. Just fill a shallow bucket with water, add some apples and let the fun begin.
Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? We all know at least one and Halloween is the best time to share it. Turn the lights off, gather everyone around and pass a torch between the story-tellers for frightfully good fun.
If you haven’t got the gift for tall tales, there are some great kid-friendly scary podcasts like Unspookable.
There’s a lot to be said for pumpkin carving, it’ll keep everyone amused for hours!
If you haven’t quite got the knack for it, there’s plenty of pumpkin carving events like the pumpkin carving fest at Morden Hall Park in London where you can pick your own pumpkin at the stables to carve before taking on an adventure trail.
Decorating the house
If you’re hosting a party or a sleepover or just fancy getting into the spirit of things then decorating your house with your children or grandchildren is a great way to spend a few hours.
Make use of your carved pumpkins and crafts, hang some skeletons and add some spider’s web and voila, your house is Halloween ready!
Much the same as crafts, kids enjoy baking or at least helping in the kitchen – and they’ll definitely love the treats! If you know your way around a cookie-cutter then spider-shaped biscuits, decorated by your children, of course, are a win-win.
If you really want to go for it, and your children or grandchildren are on the younger side, you can make all your meals Halloween-themed.
Sausages and breadsticks become witches’ fingers; you can make ghostly pie crusts and tomato sauce… well you get the idea.
Go ghost-hunting, if you dare.
The UK is packed haunted places, and if there’s such a thing as a perfect time to visit a haunted house, it’s Halloween.
The National Trust has put together a list of its most haunted venues across the country, so you’re sure to find some ghostly goings-on nearby. King Henry VIII’s headless second wife, Anne Boleyn, is said to reappear at Blickling on the anniversary of her execution and at Buckland Abbey in Devon, Sir Francis Drake remains a regular guest – over 400 years since his death.
Have you got a top Halloween activity? Let us know in the comments.