Build Precious Memories With Family Halloween Traditions

Read ahead to learn about some fun family Halloween traditions you can enjoy and implement with your children.

Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year. But I don’t know exactly why.

If I watch a spooky movie, I hide my face behind a pillow, and I only peek, ever so slightly, around the edge.

Spooky Spider Decoration – Part of Family Halloween TraditionsCredit: Jeni10

I’m terrified of all spiders, big and small, and I still haven’t been able to figure out what possessed me to have attended and graduated from a college with a spider for a mascot (University of Richmond).

And while I love dogs, black cats don’t particularly thrill me. Yes, I do get a little panicky when I see one. What, with all that speculation about bad luck raining down on you if one crosses your path? I’m educated, but why tempt fate?

But despite all these personal maladies, I’ve always been, and most likely always will be, fascinated with Halloween. Perhaps, it’s as simple as the fact that my birthday falls the day before, on October 30. I guess I’m just an almost All Hallows’ Eve baby, and ergo, it’s in my blood.

Whatever the sane or insane reasons for my affection for this spooky holiday, I’m here to share with you some of my Halloween family traditions, in the hope that they’ll inspire you to develop your own Halloween traditions.

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Fun Family Halloween Traditions

Childhood Halloween traditions - It all began with hot dogs ... .

For children, the night of October 31 is defined by the Halloween traditions of ‘trick or treating’, and this was no different for my best friend and me. My dad answered the door, and my mom, along with my friend’s mom, accompanied us while we collected our treats. In my family, where I’m an only child, our Halloween traditions began long before we ever hit the streets for our night of fright.

More than candy corn and chocolate bars, food, specifically dinner, kicked off our night and our Halloween traditions. All Hallows’ Eve always meant hot dogs and baked beans for dinner, as these were two of my favorite foods. If it was October 31, there was never a question of what Mom was serving for dinner, because this simple meal was an integral part of our Halloween customs.

With life’s hectic schedule, this is the first of several Halloween moments that will bring your family together. Food, and sharing of a meal together, is a basic component to our culture; make it a basic component of your family time together. Eating a meal together is an easy familial ritual to incorporate, and if you don’t have many customs already, it’s an easy place to start. Let this new Halloween activity set a precedent for establishing other, holiday and season specific, family customs.

So, on the night of October 31, whether it’s hot dogs, pizza, or spaghetti, fix your child(ren)’s favorite meal, and have everyone come to the table for a spook-tacular supper that will commence your night of ‘frightful’ Halloween family fun.

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Halloween traditions - Unique ways to 'Trick or Treat'.

One nasty monster possessed the power to mar my perfect All Hallows’ Eve and our Halloween traditions. That was my asthma. Some years, the cold came early in October; cold and asthma aren’t friends. When I was little, my mom would actually carry me, and take me to a couple of houses, keeping alive our Halloween customs. However, as I got bigger, this wasn’t a viable option. Sadly, I had to stay home, and watch as my parents answered the door, only to see all my friends come and go.

Asthma is on the rise. If you have a child with asthma, or maybe one with another health condition, here’s an option for making Halloween fun for them.

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Parents, transform your family garage into a haunted house. Everyone dress in costume, make it a spook-tacular party, and invite your child(ren)’s friends. For traditions that revolve around parties, check out the guide, The Halloween Handbook, for age appropriate, witchy games, yummy recipes for food and drink for those little goblins, and decorating ideas that will take your mild mannered garage to a ghosts’ lair.

For kids, who cannot tolerate walking or running in the cold, to ‘trick or treat’, a party is a wonderful way for them to celebrate this night in a safe and controlled environment. These parties, which can be held each year, become precious Halloween memories for your child(ren). When all your child(ren)’s friends learn that your family’s throwing the ‘coolest’ bash in town, then all the kids will want to come, allowing your child(ren) not to feel left out of the fun.

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Teen Halloween traditions - Spending time with Nanny.

Regrettably, in my community, when you hit your teenage years, your days of ‘trick or treating’ are over … at least until you have children of your own, and you can take them, creating Halloween traditions with them! I’ll never forget the year my mom told me I was too big to go … I’m still mad at her over that, as a matter of fact! But hey, there are always new and better Halloween ‘treats and tricks’.

By the time I’d reached this stage, my grandma, a.k.a. Nanny, was widowed. She was as much an All Hallows’ Eve fan as I. So, with my Halloween customs of hot dogs and beans, which were a favorite of hers, too, we’d share the night together, embarking on our own Halloween fun.

After our feast, our Halloween time, together, continued, as we counted out the candy and plated it up for our guests. We also ensured we had paper and pen, at the ready, so we could keep a tally of the number of kids who visited. That way, we could better calculate for next year’s candy purchase. Our Halloween plans were serious business!

Sometimes, for fun, Nanny would go into the bedroom, and close the door; I’d wait a second, and go knock; she’d open the door; I’d say, ‘trick or treat’; she’d give me a piece of candy. We’d trade off, and take turns. We were playing, or more like, any excuse to eat extra chocolate! In my family, eating chocolate’s definitely part of our Halloween activities!

If you have teens, spending the night of October 31 with their grandparent(s) makes for a fantastic bonding opportunity, and can begin a whole new round of Halloween memories; ones that are priceless. They can eat together, laugh together, and enjoy being kids, again, together. Let them share their favorite dinner together, and then pass out candy to the children.

For those parents who worry about their older parents being alone on this night, they can feel good knowing their kid(s) are with them, creating new Halloween traditions. And, by turns, when their kid(s) are with their grandparents, parents don’t need to worry over them getting into trouble - trouble that may cause a lifetime of heartache.

If your teen(s) cannot spend this time with their grandparents, everyone don a Halloween costume, and visit patients at an assisted living or nursing home facility, to spread some old-fashioned spooky mischief. This is a beneficial, learning treat for adults and teens, alike, and can be combined with other Halloween customs.

Miscellaneous Halloween Traditions

Above, I’ve covered those significant Halloween memories from my childhood, and teenage years, and I’ve shown how to incorporate them into your life. They’re the big ones.

Shimmering Pumpkin Decoration – Part of Family Halloween TraditionsCredit: Jeni10

However, there are a myriad other smaller Halloween traditions that you can begin this year in your family. Smaller is not less. Pick a certain day, a certain weekend, and decorate, inside and outside, for All Hallows’ Eve. Combine this day(s), too, with a special family meal. Another weekend, gather everyone in the kitchen, and bake everyone’s favorite family sweets and treats. The yummiest of Halloween fun, I’ll say.

Whatever you do, start right now, this October, this year; life’s too short to delay. Enjoy this spooky holiday with your family, and savor creating, and adding to, your family Halloween traditions.