40 Scary-Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween at Home

The holidays might look a little different this year but that doesn't mean they can't be fun! Gather your family or housemates for an evening (or whole month) of magical Halloween crafts, games and DIY projects you can enjoy from the comfort of home.

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October 05, 2020

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Build Haunted Gingerbread Houses

Who says gingerbread houses are only for Christmas? Grab the whole family for this fun, creative activity that uses candy corn and marshmallow spider webs to turn basic gingerbread house kits into creepy, creaky haunted abodes.

GET THE HOW-TO: How to Make a Halloween-Approved Gingerbread House

Make a Halloween Countdown Calendar

Create sweet Halloween memories with this easy advent-style calendar that reveals a fun surprise each day leading up to All Hallow's Eve. You can craft a 31-day calendar like we did, or countdown the thirteen spookiest days before Halloween, instead. Follow the link below to snag our free, printable tags and the step-by-step instructions.

GET THE HOW-TO: Halloween Countdown Calendar

Pin the Spider on the Web

Make the indoors fun again with this dizzying, interactive game you can make from everyday craft supplies. Kids and grown-ups alike will get a kick out of seeing who can place the spider closest to the center of the web while blindfolded.

GET THE HOW-TO: Pin the Spider on the Web Halloween Party Game

Craft a Candy Corn Piñata

Halloween swings into action with this cute, colorful piñata. Friends and family, large and small, will love taking a shot at this treat-filled decoration and, because you make it yourself, you get complete control over what goes inside.

GET THE HOW-TO: How to Make a Candy Corn Pinata for Halloween

Embark on a Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Spiders, mummies and ghosts — oh my! This action-packed Halloween treasure hunt from Pink Bay Designs sends kids on a harrowing journey around the house to gather clues and find hidden treats. Follow the link below to download the printable set of instructions and cards that guarantee hours of fun this Halloween.

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Watch a Movie Under the Stars

Sure, cozying up on the couch to enjoy your favorite Halloween flicks is great, but watching them in the backyard with friends and family is even better. Gather some blankets, pop some popcorn and follow our step-by-step instructions below to make this DIY outdoor movie screen in less than an hour.

GET THE HOW-TO: How to Make Your Own Movie Screen

String Up a Cute Banner

Your Halloween party might be canceled, but that doesn't mean you can't decorate. Enlist the kiddos to help craft this cute, simple flag banner for your at-home celebrations. Simply download and print our free banner, then string it up for all to see.

SEE MORE: 100+ Printable (and Free!) Halloween Templates

Paint Your Face

Skip the expensive store-bought costumes this Halloween and harness the power of makeup and face paint to transform yourself and your kiddos into spooky, kooky or hilarious characters. Dream up your own designs or check out our gallery below to find tips, tricks and inspiration from the pros, including this sweet scarecrow look from Boca Raton-based makeup artist Nathaly G.

SEE MORE: 40 Face Paint & Makeup-Only Halloween Costumes

And Paint Your Pumpkins

If pumpkin carving really isn't your thing, try painting some real or faux pumpkins, instead. Follow the link below to find inspiration and instructions to our favorite pumpkin-painting ideas, like these floral and chinoisserie designs from artist Amy Moffat.

SEE MORE: 37 Painted Pumpkin Ideas

Paint Your Nails, Too

Grab your pals, turn on your favorite Halloween movies and settle in for a spooky spa night. We rounded up our top haunted nail design ideas below, like this lilac, bat-inspired look, and included shoppable links to our favorite shades and nail decorations, just in time for spooky season.

SEE MORE: 21 Halloween Nail Art Ideas

Host a Craft Night

Keep little ghouls and ghosties busy and entertained on All Hallow's Eve with a lineup of a creepy-cute crafts. Hit up the craft store for wood rounds and acrylic paint to make these farmhouse-inspired Halloween silhouettes, then check out our collection of more fun DIY ideas for the whole family below.

SEE MORE: 70 Halloween Kids' Crafts

Take the Fun Outside

Feeling cooped up? Head to the backyard to play this oversized version of classic party pong that uses pumpkin candy buckets in place of plastic cups. Get the step-by-step instructions below, then check out our full list of DIY Halloween game ideas for endless hours of family fun.

GET THE HOW-TO: 3 DIY Pumpkin-Themed Yard Games for Fall Fun

Have a Pumpkin Carving Contest

Carve out time to go head-to-head with your favorite fiends in a battle for pumpkin perfection. Come up with your own, unique designs or browse our free, printable pumpkin carving templates for beginners and advanced carvers, then get to carving. Post the results on social media and let friends vote virtually — winner gets bragging rights until next Halloween. Check out our tried-and-true pumpkin-carving tips and tools at the link below.

SEE MORE: Our Best Pumpkin-Carving Tips and Tools

Or Try These No-Carve Ideas

If carving is too messy for your taste, break out the art supplies to craft a pumpkin masterpiece, instead. Get creative and dream up your own fanciful designs or browse our favorite no-carve ideas, like these sweet and playful pet pumpkins, at the link below.

SEE MORE: 50+ No-Carve Halloween Pumpkin Ideas

"Boo" Your Favorite Fiends

Everyone could use a little boost right now. So why not surprise your friends and neighbors with a personalized Halloween gift basket? Add one of our free (and fa-boo-lous!) printable tags, then drop off anonymously to raise the spirits of your best ghoul friends.

SEE MORE: 15 Spooktacular Ways to Boo + Boo-ze Your Favorite Fiends This Halloween

Tell Your Fortune

Break out the tarot cards or brush up on your palm or tea leaf reading skills for a night of fortune-telling fun.

Swap Scary Stories

Build a fire, then gather 'round to recount your most terrifying tales. If story-telling from memory isn't your thing, find a book of spooky stories online or at the library and dress in costume to give the reading a dramatic dose of Halloween flair.

Brew Some Spooky Sips

What's your poison? Whatever you prefer, we've got you covered with 45 devilishly delightful cocktail, martini, punch and shot recipes — all guaranteed to raise spirits.

SEE MORE: 45 Scary-Good Halloween Cocktails

And Sinister Sweets

Our sinfully sweet ideas for Halloween cupcakes, cookies, candy apples and more are guaranteed to thrill big and little monsters alike. Not only are these dessert recipes scary-delicious, but they encourage the whole family to get involved in the creative process. Follow the link below to learn how to magic up these witchy cauldron brownies, plus 61 more terrifying treats.

SEE MORE: 62 Frightfully Delicious Halloween Dessert Ideas

Some Scary Snacks, Too

Satisfy hungry little monsters in between meals with sweet and salty snacks they can help make, like these cute, flaky mummy hot dogs. Browse our delicious list of spooky snack recipes below to keep the hangries away this Halloween.

SEE MORE: 50+ Sweet & Salty Halloween Snacks

Don't Forget About Dinner

Special occasions call for special dishes. Channel your inner Food Network star to craft a Halloween-inspired meal to remember, like these deliciously fun mac-o'-lantern and cheese bowls. Get this recipe and more at the link below.

SEE MORE: 17 Halloween Dinner Ideas From Food Network

Try a Spooky Fruit Spread

Take a break from the candy crazies and offer up a sweet treat that kids won't know is actually good for them. Follow the link below to learn how to decorate clementines, bananas and strawberries for Halloween, then arrange them on a pretty platter with our toasted marshmallow fruit dip for easy grazing.

GET THE RECIPE: Halloween Dessert: Spooky Fruit Tray With Toasted Marshmallow Dip

Make Treats From Pumpkin Pie Filling

Spooky season is also pumpkin spice season and there’s no better shortcut to delicious pumpkin-flavored treats than canned pumpkin pie filling. Snag a few cans at the grocery store, then follow our link below to find a recipe (or two, or three) the whole family will love, like these melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin truffles.

SEE MORE: 16 Treats You Can Make With a Can of Pumpkin Pie Filling

Bake a Jack-o'-Lantern Cake

Have some extra time on your hands? Craft this jaw-dropping cake inspired by the classic pumpkin-shaped candy bucket. Easily made from two bundt cakes stacked together and frosted, this treat-filled Halloween dessert is a not-too-spooky yet oh-so-fun way to ring in the season.

GET THE RECIPE: Halloween Dessert: Jack-o'-Lantern Candy Bucket Cake

Dress Up Boxed Wine

Don't drink alone this Halloween! Dress up your boxed wine to look like classic Halloween characters. Follow the link below to see how we used basic craft supplies to transform boxed booze into Franken-wine's monster, a sippable witch and more.

GET THE HOW-TO: 5 Ways to Dress Up Boxed Wine for Halloween

Create an Eerie Entry

Let your outdoor decor take flight this year by transforming your plain front porch into a haunted Halloween haven. Purple bulletin-board paper and some card stock are all you need to conjure up this whimsical night sky scene on your front door. Flanked by black lanterns, black-and-white pumpkins and potted fall plants, this high-impact entryway is sure to spook. Get started by downloading our printable bat template for free, then follow the link below for the full instructions. Get more front porch decorating ideas for Halloween here.

GET THE HOW-TO: Cover Your Front Door in a Spooky Swarm of Bats for Halloween

Spook Up the Mantel

Make the most of your time spent at home and deck out your fireplace for the spooky season. Stick to a classic orange-and-black color scheme like designer Kim Stoegbauer did here, or check out our other Halloween-inspired mantel decorating ideas (plus free printables!) at the link below.

SEE MORE: 3 Ways to Decorate a Fireplace Mantel for Halloween

Haunt What You Got

Stretch your (boo)dget this Halloween by giving your existing decor a frightful, money-saving makeover with inexpensive materials you likely already have on hand. Here, we transformed a galvanized tub into a friendly mummy, ready to keep ice and cold drinks at the ready. Find the instructions for this project and more at the link below.

SEE MORE: Say No to New; Spook Up What You Have This Halloween, Instead

Have Some (Safe) Fun With Dry Ice

Dry ice is actually the solid form of carbon dioxide, so experimenting with it on Halloween is basically like doing a science project. Fun and educational? Sign us up. Head over to the link below to check out cool ways to use it for Halloween and need-to-know safety tips.

READ MORE: Learn How to Safely Use Dry Ice This Halloween

Decorate a Haunted (Play)House

Your little monsters will love finding creative ways to deck out their playhouse this Halloween. Chesterfield, New Jersey, blogger Ceres Mercurio of The Pink Dream turned her daughter's tiny house into a not-too-spooky abode by installing a pink floodlight inside and a patch of pumpkins outside. Don't have a playhouse? Grab some cardboard boxes and encourage kiddos to create mini haunted houses with paint, paper and glue.

SEE MORE: 5 Outdoor Halloween Decorating Ideas So Cute They're Scary

Make a Monster Wreath

All eyes on boo! Monster up this creepy craft in no time using a bag of foam balls and plastic googly eyes. You can make one for the front door and the kids can craft their own versions to hang on their bedroom doors. Find the instructions for this project plus more creep-tastic Halloween wreath ideas at the link below.

SEE MORE: 50 Creep-Tastic DIY Halloween Wreaths & Door Decor Ideas

Spookify Your Plants

Turn everyday fall mums into cute creatures of the night with self-adhesive craft foam and some acrylic paint. Learn how to make this lucky black kittie planter at the link below.

GET THE HOW-TO: Monstrous Mums: Craft a Lucky Black Cat

Trim a Halloween Tree

Halloween is meant to be fun and outrageous, so why not do something different, like adding a spooky, kooky tree to your Halloween decor? Check out our favorite creative ways to decorate a Halloween tree, including DIY tree toppers, upcycled ornaments and more.

SEE MORE: 13 Whimsical Ways to Decorate a Halloween Tree

Hang Some Bats

Looking for a fun and inexpensive way to add spooky style to your yard or porch this Halloween? All you need is some black craft foam, googly eyes and fishing line to create a colony of wild, weatherproof bats.

GET THE HOW-TO: Halloween Kids' Craft: Hanging Foam Bats

Or Scare Up Some Spirits

Already blown your Halloween budget on candy? We get it. But you can still get into the spooky spirit on the cheap. Just head to your local dollar store — you’ll be surprised what can be upcycled into haunting decorations, like these spooky fabric ghosts made from inexpensive paper lanterns.

GET THE HOW-TO: Outdoor Halloween Decoration: Hanging Ghosts

Craft Costumes Out of Cardboard

Whether you and the kids are hitting to streets for a trick-or-treat parade, or you're celebrating from the comfort and safety of home, a cool, creative Halloween costume is non-negotiable. Skip the big box store this year and encourage kids to craft their own cute costumes from recyclable material, like cardboard boxes. Follow the link below to learn how to craft these out-of-the-box outfits.

SEE MORE: 3 Out-of-the-Box Halloween Costumes Made From Cardboard

Practice Your Puns

Need more costume inspiration? Shop your closet and dig deep into your sense of humor to come up with a pun-tastic ensemble. Check out some of our funniest ideas, like this "monkey business" costume at the link below.

SEE MORE: 15 of the Punniest Last-Minute Halloween Costumes Ever

Dress Your Pet

Don't forget Fido! Include your furry friend in this year's Halloween celebrations by crafting a handmade costume for your dog or cat. Just be sure to use only soft, lightweight materials that don't obstruct your pet's movement, eyes, nose or mouth. We've rounded up 20 oh-so-adorable ideas below, including this lovely ladybug costume.

SEE MORE: DIY Pet Costumes for Halloween

Join a Costume Parade

Break out the wagon for a night of socially distant fun that allows the whole family to get some fresh air and show off those carefully crafted costumes. Coordinate a time and starting place with neighbors and friends, then wheel your way around the block, parade-style. You can even decorate your wagon or stroller to coordinate with the kids' costumes.

Monster Up a Treat Station

Still planning to hand out candy? Set your home apart from every other trick-or-treat destination on the block with this not-too-terrifying, low-touch treat station. All you need is a single-person pop-up tent and some simple craft supplies to DIY a one-of-a-kind monster for your front porch.

GET THE HOW-TO: Monster Mash-Up: Turn a Pop-Up Tent Into a Trick-or-Treat Station

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