How to Keep Your Kids Occupied on Halloween Day, Before Trick or Treating Begins!

Ways to keep your kids entertained while they wait for Halloween night to arrive!

Thanks to our Vancouver city editor, Lindsay Follett for this fun and helpful post!

When Halloween falls on a school day, all is right with the world. When Halloween falls on a weekend… good luck parents! If your kids are anything like mine, the hours between wake-up and trick-or-treating are long and full of “can we go, yet?”. In an effort to cling – with weakening fingernails – to my sanity, I’ve come up with a checklist of ideas to occupy the kids during the daylight hours of October 31st. If you have more ideas to add to this list, please share them in the Comments section…remember we are all in this parenting-zoo together. Happy Halloween!

Decorate Pumpkins I HATE decorating pumpkins. I possess no artistic skill. My best efforts could, at best, be compared to those of a 3 year old. However, my kids love decorating pumpkins so this activity should keep them happy for 30 minutes or so. Check out all these fantastic pumpkin stencils! If you like roasting pumpkin seeds, I learned a trick last year. Boil them first! Makes all the difference in the world.

Take Part in a Halloween Event Around Calgary There are TONS of events happening between breakfast and dinner time on Halloween. Sneak in one more autumn day in the country, and wear your costumes too, with events at Kayben Farms, Butterfield Acres, and Calgary Corn Maze. For indoor fun, check out the special events at Market Mall, the Calgary Farmers’ Market, Deerfoot Mall, Michaels stores, Southcentre Mall, or North Hill Centre. You can visit Kensington Village, head out to Cochrane for a Goblin Gathering, or take in the low-scare version of Haunted Calgary.

Ghostly Shepherd's Pie for Halloween

Plan a Spooky Meal I love to cook (it makes up for my non-craftiness in every other aspect of my life). A few years ago my mother-in-law sent me this great recipe: Ghostly Shepherd’s Pie. Crazy easy and always a big hit! This year I’m going to get the kids to help assemble the dinner (e.g chop carrots, whip the potatoes, sprinkle on the cheese). Again, I should be able to fill 30 minutes with this activity.

Watch a Halloween Movie Of course I mean the kid-friendly Halloween movie not chainsaw-ridiculousness that would have me hiding under the bed for eternity. Here’s our list of kid-friendly Halloween movies… movies like Hocus Pocus or Nightmare Before Christmas are Halloween-esque and a good mid-afternoon activity. While not a Halloween movie exactly, if you want to get out of the house… Cineplex Family Favourites is playing “Home” at select Cineplex theatres at 11 am, for just $2.99 per person.

Explore Your Neighbourhood If your neighbourhood is anything like mine, there are plenty of Halloween decorations to make a family walk highly entertaining. If you have little ones who can spook easily, it might be a good idea to do a “practice” trick-or-treat walk. Visit the houses in the daylight when they aren’t nearly as spooky. If nothing else you might pick up a few ideas you want to implement in your own decorating next year.

Halloween stories

Visit the Library and Bring Home a Stash of Halloween Books Curling up on the couch and reading Halloween picture books are still a favourite for our kids. We own a number (that only come out at Halloween) and the kids can’t stop pouring over them. The Calgary Public Library has a huge collection of Halloween books. A few favourites of mine are: Pumpkin CatMole’s Harvest MoonThe Halloween PlayThe Runaway Pumpkin, and The Haunted House that Jack Built.

Get Crafty This idea is for the craft-inclined parents out there. I’ll be honest there won’t be crafting happening in my house; just the idea sends me into a mild panic. However a quick check of “lovely” Pinterest shows me their are many Halloween-crafts I could quickly convert into Pinterest-fails. Though I must say, even the kids and I should be able to master Pumpkin Apple Stamps. And while this isn’t really a craft, I love the idea of Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe!

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