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Fun Halloween traditions for families

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Spook-tacular family fun

Even if you’re not the biggest Halloween enthusiast, creating family Halloween traditions teaches your children the importance of life’s little celebrations. If you’re not sure where to start, try these fun Halloween traditions suitable for even non-spooky families.

Family picking pumpkins

1Head to the pumpkin patch

While almost every grocery store carries a vast array of pumpkins, don't sell yourself short. Round up your family and head to a pumpkin patch, where you can take pictures amongst the pumpkins, pick out your favorite gourds and participate in other fun activities. Some pumpkin patches even offer corn mazes, hay rides and petting zoos.

2Decorate pumpkins as a family

After you pick out your favorite pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, head home and decorate them together. If you have young children, set them up with paint or markers so they can draw funny faces on their pint-sized pumpkins.

Designate at least one large pumpkin as a jack 'o lantern. Come up with the carving design as a family, and then let the adults and older kids take turns cutting out the details. Your kids will love seeing their pumpkins come to life, and they'll squeal with excitement as they scoop out the slimy pumpkin filling.

3Roast pumpkin seeds

Use your pumpkin-carving experience to teach your kids that, sometimes, really good things come from really gross beginnings. Have your kids separate the pumpkin seeds from the stringy goop, rinsing them off thoroughly. They can then spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and let them dry overnight. The next morning, supervise as your kids drizzle the dried seeds with butter and garlic salt before popping them in the oven for 30 minutes at 300F. Your kids will be amazed at the roasted pumpkin seeds' crunchy, salty flavor, and they'll look forward to making them again the next year.

4Watch scary movies

Set aside at least one night to watch Halloween-themed movies as a family. Choose family-friendly flicks that suit even the most conservative tastes, such as Monsters, Inc., Ghostbusters, Monster House and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Keep the festivities going throughout the evening by serving cookies and cupcakes decorated with witches, goblins and spider webs.

5Go trick-or-treating

Every kid gets excited about dressing up and touring the neighborhood in search of sweet goodies. Make it a family affair by donning your own costume and walking around with your kids and their friends. If you're not keen on the idea of trick-or-treating at houses with which you're unfamiliar, check with your city or recreation center to see if they host family-friendly trick-or-treating events that take place in more controlled environments.

More tips for a happy Halloween

5 Halloween safety tips for teens
Fun Halloween-alternatives for teens
5 Fun Halloween party games

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