Hunting For A Haunting

“Any way that we can get the message out there within reason and to have people say ‘I can’t wait to come back during the day with my kids,’ it makes it worth it,” she says.

Trick-Or-Treating On Trails With A Twist

Providing parents with a fun alternative to the traditional dash between houses while maintaining the true feel of Halloween can definitely be a challenge, says Julie Butler Colombini, marketing and communications manager for the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department in Gainesville, Ga.

Try this twist on your next Halloween-in-the-park event:

Line trails with whimsically painted plywood house fronts perfect for real trick-or-treating. Add in a Halloween movie for the whole family, carnival games, and a petting zoo. Then, top it off with a community canned food drive to benefit the local food bank.

Funding for this free event attracted an estimated 5,000 people in Gainesville and was covered entirely through local and national sponsorships, Butler Colombini says.

Sponsors dressed in costumes and were provided house fronts as well as plenty of candy, and the hands-on opportunity to interact with potential customers while families spent a safe Halloween like no other—all while the community came together to celebrate in the Rock Creek greenway that their support helped to build.

Host A Haunted Campout

For those who want to allow families to get in on the decorating action, consider a haunted campout. In Mesquite, Texas, $25 for a family of four will buy a night at Camp Rorie-Galloway and a chance to take home top honors in the tent-decorating contest.

All the goblins will gobble up s’mores! Photo courtesy of Alyssa Smith

“Some people use tarps over their tents, they have ‘Keep Out’ signs and fog machines, other people hang lights,” says Angie Johnson, recreation supervisor for the city. “We highly encourage people to decorate and get into the theme.”

But the night doesn’t end there. Each family gets a pumpkin to decorate while additional contests are held for costumes and screams.

“We had a lot of fun with the scream contest last year,” Johnson says, noting kids got a kick out of all the different kinds of screams they could create.

The following morning, families are served breakfast while awards are presented for all of the previous night’s events.

“It’s basically just a night to hang out and have a good time with other families,” Johnson says.

More Ideas

What Better Time To Host A Blood Drive?

Create a theme around the season and invite donors to get in the spirit. Although this can be fun, it’s also possible to get carried away. Exercise caution in planning and be careful not to offend the majority.

Host Stories Around The Campfire

Invite guests to bundle up, bring snacks and a thermos of hot chocolate, lawn chairs and blankets, and settle in for night of scary stories. In the event of inclement weather the campfire is optional; this can always be relocated to a rec center or library.


Round Up Tots For A Preschool Parade

Parents and teachers are also welcome to participate in this costume-laden ritual that has participants parading up and down the town’s Main Street. Although this may not work as well indoors, it can be moved if necessary.


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