14 Things to Do on Halloween if You're Not Going Trick-or-Treating

Here are a few traditional Halloween activities you can do right at home (or nearby), with kids or on your own—and a few not-so-traditional ideas to make the most of the holiday.

Whether bad weather has kept you home or you're too old to trick-or-treat, there is no shortage of fun Halloween-themed activities to do that don't involve ringing your neighbor's doorbells. Whether you're looking for a little chilling at home, or a thrill out on the town, you'll find the perfect Halloween activities to ring in the spooky season.

Fun Halloween Activities at Home

Three painted pumpkins on a yellow and blue background
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You don't have to go out and about to enjoy the holiday. In fact, there are plenty of Halloween activities you can enjoy while staying cozy at home.

Paint (or carve) pumpkins

It's never too late to decorate pumpkins—even on Halloween night. If you're stuck inside (or just want to stay indoors), spend the spookiest night of the year trying some no-carve pumpkin ideas. Kids love it, and it's way less messy than carving pumpkins.

Host a game night

Whether you're with the kids or adult friends, game night is always a good idea—but especially on Halloween. It could be as simple as playing a favorite board game, word game, or card game, but you could also hop on the Fright Night train and host your own Murder Mystery game night or plan a spooky scavenger hunt around the house, backyard, or neighborhood.

Hand out candy to trick-or-treaters

You can still get in on the trick-or-treating action if you're not going door to door yourself. Make sure you're stocked up on Halloween candy and pass out goodies to the little neighborhood ghosts and goblins who ring your doorbell.

Throw a costume fashion show

If you and the kids can't make it around the block to trick-or-treat this year, let them wear their costumes at home anyway to keep the Halloween festivities alive. Set up a Halloween costume fashion show right in the living room or yard so your kids still get to show off their outfits, take photos, and get in the spirit.

Halloween Treats You Can Make

Halloween sugar cookies and candy corn on a black plate
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Like most of the major holidays, Halloween's all about the snacks. (And to be specific, we're talking candy.) But there are other fun treats you can make at home to ring in the spooky season.

Decorate Halloween-themed cookies and cupcakes

It's not Halloween without an abundance of sweets, right? Gather your kids, invite the neighbors, or host a bunch of friends for a night of decking out cookies or cupcakes (or both!) with icing spiderwebs, candy corn graveyards, and marshmallow ghosts.

Make s'mores

There's nothing like toasting marshmallows over an open fire on a cold, October night (read: s'mores aren't just for summer campfires!). If you and your family aren't all sugared-out by the end of the night, this iconic fall activity is the perfect thing to do on Halloween. (And a perfect way to use up some leftover Halloween candy.)

No campfire handy? You can easily make s'mores in your oven or air fryer.

Mix up some Halloween cocktails

Who says Halloween can't be for the grownups? Invite your pals over (or set up a virtual happy hour) and whip up a batch of creepy Halloween-themed cocktails everyone will love. (They're perfect for sipping on while the kids decorate cookies and pumpkins, too!)

Host a wine and candy tasting party

Oh, yes, you read that correctly. Learn which wines to pair with which classic Halloween candies, and invite over some friends for a very serious, very sophisticated wine-and-candy tasting, fit for a sommelier (well, maybe).

Halloween Activities Out on the Town

Back of a witch in a forest with smoke
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Even if you're not going trick-or-treating, there's bound to be some other eerie entertainment you can enjoy out and about—or something else you can do instead. Tip: You may want to leave a bowl of candy out for trick-or-treaters who happen by while you're out on the town.

Go to the movies

No need to watch a scary or festive movie if you're not interested. You might just want to get away from the Halloween mayhem altogether—in which case, head to the movies for a rom com. Plus, even if you're not a Halloween fanatic, you can still take advantage of the annual excuse to enjoy gobs of candy at the theater.

Head to a haunted house, haunted forest, or haunted hayride

No matter where you live, there's bound to be a group of people eager to take your money and scare you silly. (And often the proceeds will go to a good cause too.)

Try some counter programming

If the Halloween thrill is gone, October 31st might be the perfect opportunity to go somewhere that's not so spooky. Beat the crowds at a museum or other attraction, go for dinner at a romantic restaurant, or spend the night out shopping. (Just check ahead that your chosen venue isn't hosting some special Halloween activity.)

Spooky Streaming (and Screaming) Entertainment Ideas

Movie still from Ghostbusters
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Sometimes, it's more fun to break out the popcorn and candy and enjoy a little scare or five from the comfort of your living room couch. Fortunately, there's bound to be something thrilling to enjoy, whether you're looking for a spooky TV show or movie, or a good thriller to read.

Try some Netflix (and chilling) movies

Whatever your pleasure—funny, nostalgic, or absolutely bone-chilling—Halloween movies on Netflix are definitely in order if you're staying in this October 31.

Curl up with a scary book

On your own this Halloween? Set the mood by lighting a bunch of candles, grabbing a glass of an apple cider cocktail or mulled wine and curling up with one of our favorite psychological thrillers and mysteries to inspire your Halloween read.

Create a themed binge watch

Halloween-type content comes in many different forms, so choose what gives you a thrill (or a chill). You can opt for a few movies from the genre, or plow your way through a spooky TV series. Include a comedic option or two in the mix so it's not all horror, all the time.

  • Ghosts and haunted houses Poltergeist, The Others, The Shining, The Conjuring, Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, The Haunting of Hill House, Paranormal Activity, Monster House
  • Vampires Dracula, Nosferatu, Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire, The Hunger, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 30 Days of Night, Let the Right One In
  • Witches The Craft, The Blair Witch Project, Hocus Pocus, Kiki's Delivery Service, Eve's Bayou, Charmed, Bewitched, I Married a Witch, The Witches of Eastwick
  • Slashers and serial killers Friday the 13th, Psycho, Halloween, Scream, Se7en, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Final Girls, Saw, Freaky
  • Demons and possession stories The Omen, The Exorcist, The Ring, The Evil Dead, Annabelle, The Possession
  • Zombies Night of the Living Dead,The Walking Dead, Shaun of the Dead, White Zombie, World War Z, Zombieland, 28 Days Later, Train to Busan, All of Us Are Dead
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