Tell the truth, most Halloween parties are the same: there are Halloween costumes and a spread of kitschy Halloween-themed foods and drinks. This list of Halloween party ideas, however, are all family-friendly and center around specific themes like colors or an activity such as pumpkin carving or baking. 

Celebrating Halloween with kids is so much more than just trick-or-treating. It’s a chance to make new family traditions or pass down a tradition from your childhood. It’s a time to build new memories while also boosting your little one’s imagination and fine motor skills—scary stories, arts and crafts, costume building, need we go on? No matter how simple or extravagant you want your family’s Halloween bash to be, this roundup of Halloween party ideas has something for every party host and Halloween junkie. Whether you need last-minute family Halloween party ideas or you want to go full Wednesday Addams, you’ve come to the right place. 

Check out these Halloween party ideas to celebrate Halloween with your family and friends

1. Haunted house party 

What screams Halloween more than a haunted house party?! Decorate the house or garage in spider webs, break out the spooky, scary skeletons, and whip up a cauldron of (fake) poisonous brew. Get the whole neighborhood in on it, too—or you and other families can line up your cars and turn the trunks into mini haunted houses and pass out candy.

2. Pumpkin carving/painting party

Follow up your trip to the pumpkin patch with a pumpkin carving and/or painting party. Arts and crafts boosts imagination and gets the creative juices flowing. Not to mention, you end up with homemade Halloween decor. Help your lil’ pumpkin’ stencil or outline their design and then use the pumpkin insides and seeds for your next themed party, which you can find below!

3. Spooky treats party

Seasonal foods and ingredients, such as apple-and pumpkin-flavored everything, is one of the best and most sentimental parts about fall. If you’re having a small gathering, encourage each person to pick out their favorite Halloween-themed treat or snack and make it as a group. If you’re hosting a larger gathering, have each family bring one or two of their family’s favorite Halloween desserts to share with the whole group.

Related: Why you should just let your kids eat their Halloween candy

4. Black, white and orange party

Keeps things simple and easy with a black, white and orange party. The only rule is that decor, food, attire, it all has to fit within the color scheme. 

5. Halloween caricature costume party

Every Halloween, we surround our families with the holiday’s infamous caricatures—ghosts, witches, pumpkins, cats and skeletons—whether they’re in the form of decor, in TV and film, or somehow incorporated into our food (mummy hot dogs, anyone?) Have everyone dress up as their favorite Halloween caricature and invent caricature-themed games like pin-the-tail on the cat. Depending on the size of your party, you can have a costume contest, too.

6. Murder mystery party

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For families with older kids, throw a murder mystery party. You can place clues around the house and have each person dress up as a specific character. If you have the resources and time, you can even make snacks and decorate the house to fit the setting (did the crime take place in the woods or a farm?).

7. Spooky scavenger hunt party

For families with younger kids, consider making your own spooky scavenger hunt around the house or at a nearby park. Kids can dress up in costumes and collect non-food Halloween treats, like spooky souvenirs, along the way, too.

8. Witches and potions party

Gather your witch hats, broomsticks and safety goggles because we’re hitting the potions lab at this party. A quick search on the internet will lead you to tons of fun and safe potion ideas for kids to mix. 

9. Halloween movie party

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a Halloween movie night. Take turns queuing your favorite Halloween movie like “The Addams Family,” “Halloweentown” and “Casper.” Don’t forget to stock up on your favorite Halloween candy.

10. Halloween TV/film character costume party

You can either combine this idea with the one above or have a separate party where guests have to dress up as their favorite character from a Halloween TV show or movie. Make things extra fun by having everyone act in character, too!

11. Glow in the dark party

Invite your guests to use glow-in-the-dark details in their costumes. Decorate your party space with lots of glow sticks. If you’re really want to run with this Halloween party idea then you might also create a special table that lights up with black light.

12. Fangtastic Halloween party

That’s right, everyone has to wear fangs! Think of this as the spooky version of the family-fun speak out game. Guests can dress up in whatever costume they choose but the rule of the night is to keep their fangs in.

13. Monster ball

It’s more than just an evening of tricks and treats. A monster ball is a chance for all monsters to show up in their finest formals. But, if that happens to include a trickle of vampire blood running down their chin then that’s OK too.

14. Night of the (living) dead

If zombies are your thing then invite all your ghosts to dress up as the living/ walking dead. Set up a station for kids or adults to get their zombie look at the party with Halloween makeup supplies.

15. Little witch’s and warlock’s teaparty

Halloween party ideas can be all kinds of fun without going overboard on the spooky vibes. Throw a little witch’s and warlock’s teaparty for all the little guests who would be thrilled with a little bash without being overstimulated by all of the Halloween scares.

A version of this story was published July 20, 2022. It has been updated.