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