How-To

10 Family-Friendly Halloween Traditions That Don’t Revolve Around Candy

Oct 21, 2022
By Kelsey Lawrence

As the leaves change colors, the temperatures encourage you to get outside and usher in fall's wholesome and spooky sides. From carving pumpkins and eating sugary sweets to telling eerie stories around an open fire, there is a limitless joy to celebrating this time of year. It’s the perfect season to kick off traditions that lead you to and through Halloween.  

Here are 10 ideas to make the spooky (or Harvest) season unique and memorable for your entire family. 

Make a Spooktacular S’more-gasbord

Photo: Sammy Seles

Think charcuterie board, but sweeter! Graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows are a given but don’t limit yourself to the staples.

Light your Mesa and get creative to make your s’mores board delicious and worthy of the graham (Instagram, that is!). 

Consider adding Reese’s peanut butter cups, Halloween Oreos, candy corn, or a few mini gourds. Your dessert tray will be so pretty you’ll need to snap a photo before digging in. 

Carve Pumpkins, But Don't Stop There

As you’re hollowing out your pumpkins to prep them for your carving knife, set the seeds aside and save them for a light snack.

When you’ve finished carving your creative masterpiece, toast your pumpkin seeds over an open flame.

1.) Separate the seeds from the pumpkin guts. 

2.) Rinse your seeds in a colander and spread them on a towel to dry. 

3.) Light a low fire in your Solo Stove fire pit. Then coat your Cast Iron Cooktop with a thin layer of oil before placing it on the cooking hub on your fire pit. 

4.) Add pumpkin seeds to the cast iron.

5.) Toast them for about 5-7 minutes. Keep them moving and flip them often to keep them from burning.

6.) When the seeds start to appear golden on both sides, they’re done toasting. 

7.) Don’t forget to add some seasoning! We recommend salt, but feel free to add chili powder, garlic powder, or paprika. If you’d prefer a sweeter version, skip the salt and add cinnamon and sugar instead! 

Click here for Solo Stove approved spooky season pumpkin carving stencils

Get Lost in a Corn Maze

Get your steps in and let the kiddos run wild by getting lost in a corn maze. There is almost certainly a corn maze within driving distance, but here are a few of our favorites:

1.) The MAiZE on the Lowe Family Farmstead in Kuna, Idaho, is 18 acres of corn-fusion! With a new design carved into the cornfield, it has become a notable family tradition worthy of a road trip. 

2.) The Cool Patch Pumpkins Maze in Dixon, California, holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest corn maze. This year, the design is a tribute to the modern farmer. The maze covers 40 acres and is made up of 3 million stalks of corn. 

3.) The maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is perfect for all ages and skill levels. Maps containing clues are provided for beginner, intermediate and advanced explorers. This year’s theme is an ode to our National Parks, celebrating Glacier Park, the Everglades, and every park and monument in between. 

Bonus–you’ll wear out the kids and earn an early bedtime!

Host an Outdoor Pizza and Movie Night

Photo: Bridney Hergert

Fire up Pi and prep the toppings. Set up a projector or even move the TV outside to host a memorable outdoor pizza and movie night for your family and friends. Make it a double feature by choosing a kid-friendly movie and follow it up with a spooky classic. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Feature 1: Kid-friendly 

1.) Hocus Pocus

2.) The Nightmare Before Christmas

3.) Beetlejuice

4.) Casper 

5.) The Addams Family

Feature 2: Not-so-kid friendly

1.) Halloween (1978)

2.) Halloween (2018)

3.) Poltergeist (1982)

4.) The Shining

5.) Scream

Add More Trick to the Treat

Photo: @abby_thepinkpiggy

Have you ever wondered what happened to the ‘trick’ in trick-or-treat? Add some tricks to the holiday by pulling a harmless prank on your friends or family. Here are a few easy jokes that will conjure some screams and a few laughs:

1.) Use rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to write a hidden message on the bathroom mirror. The next time your unassuming “victim” takes a shower, they’ll see the secret message when the mirror fogs up. Choose your words wisely! It’s bound to be a memorable moment.

2.) Add plastic bugs to your candy bowl on Halloween. Ask the trick-or-treaters to reach for the treats themselves, so they’ll be startled by your creepy surprise when they pick them up! The best part? The kids can pay it forward and use their new ‘trick’ on their parents later!

3.) Stick to the classics and torment your friends with the timeless game of “ding, dong, ditch.” If you really want to create a few monsters, teach your kiddos to play too. We recommend only pulling this prank on people you know and love.

Book a Ghost Tour or Haunted Hayride 

Many cities and towns have a spooky history, and if yours is one of them, there is bound to be a ghost tour available! Ghost tours are usually family-friendly and include many exciting historical and spooky recounts. Here are some of our favorite places to book a tour:

1.) New Orleans, Louisiana: Considered one of the most haunted cities in the country, NOLA is a great place to visit for those who enjoy a spook. Hear the stories from a haunted church, hospital and perhaps encounter a vampire or two. You can even take a cemetery tour or stay in an “occupied” hotel. 

2.) Salem, Massachusetts: More suitably known as Witch City, there is no shortage of haunts to explore. The Salem Witch Trials may have happened more than 300 years ago, but the stories continue to pique the interest of those searching for a ghost story and history lesson. If only streets, walls, and trees could talk. 

3.) Memphis, Tennessee: With a haunted theater, bar, and abandoned hotel all within a few blocks of one another, you can get your haunted history fix in a single neighborhood. The rich history of the South Main Arts District adds to the intrigue. With a walking tour, pub crawl, true crime tour, and bus tour – there is something for everyone and no shortage of local haunts to visit. 

Tell Scary Stories Around the Fire

Light your fire pit and pour a cup of hot cocoa. It’s the perfect time of year to roast some marshmallows and share spooky stories around the fire. Come up with your own tall tale, or use the resources at your fingertips to find a story that will scare your family’s socks off. Set the mood by tossing a color pack into the fire and watch your flame take on a new color with every twist in the story.

Take Your Family on a Haunted Hike

Photo: @mantis_photography & @shutterteam6ix

There are haunted hiking trails known for their ghoulish history all around the United States. 

1.) The Grand Canyon is home to the Transept Trail, which is where the Wailing Woman calls home. 

2.) Located north of Knoxville, the Hutchinson Farm and Cemetery along the trail is where the stories were born. Numerous legends about untimely deaths in the family and ghost sightings contribute to this trails spookiness. 

3.) In the 1800s, one of the caves in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave national Park was home to tuberculosis patients because the doctor believed in its healing powers. Some visitors have reported hearing the voices of patients who did not survive. 

Chances are there is a hike in your area that is swirling in mystery. And if not, blaze your own trail and come up with fun stories to share along the way to keep the family entertained and on edge. 

Become the Coolest House on the Block

Photo: Ryan Kost

Many parents love to take their kids trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. But for some, it can be a chore. Make your house a fun stop by firing up your Solo Stove in the front yard and welcoming your neighbors to partake in some impromptu community building around the fire. Have some s'mores and beverages on hand and become the neighborhood pit stop. After all, we have a lot of catching up to do after all that social distancing.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch for an Annual Fall Family Photo

Visit your local pumpkin patch and plan to take an annual family photo! The colors make it a beautiful time of year for photographs, and it’ll be fun to look back on the pictures taken year after year to see how your family has grown. While there, pick some pumpkins to carve, drink some cider, and take a hayride. You’ll create memories and photos that will last a lifetime.

No matter which tradition you choose, it will be special as long as you're creating memories together. Take a picture and share your spooky season moments with us.

Happy Halloween!