10 Ways To Celebrate ‘Hallo-Tween’

Elva Etienne/Getty

I get it — Hallowee with tweens and teens is different. Your kids are getting too old to want to dress up and have a night of trick-or-treating out on the town. I used to live to see the excitement in my kids’ eyes when they would start talking about what they were going to be for Halloween in July and then change their minds 65 times.

Yes, I remember that excitement with rose-colored glasses … because now that they are all too old for that nonsense, I would go back to those days in a flash.

Mourning the times when your kids grabbed your hand and couldn’t wait to get candy and come home and look at it all is normal of course, but why is it so damn hard on the parents?

I love this time of year, but I miss how into it my kids used to be so much I tear up when they bring out the Halloween costumes in Target. We used to get lost for hours deciding and I’d dole out a lot of money to see my kids get that excited about anything these days.

However, as our kids get older we can still celebrate with them. That just might not mean eating their candy after they’ve gone to bed on Halloween. But we can:

1. Carve or paint pumpkins.

My teens weren’t really into this at first but I got all the supplies out and they went to town. I get them each their own pumpkin carving kit, snacks, and tell them they can have friends over.

There have been years their carvings have been a bit obscene, but that’s beside the point. It’s about the experience. I don’t care how old you are — pumpkins do look really cool lit up at night. And we love roasting the seeds.

2. Have a party.

This doesn’t have to be huge, and you don’t have to break your back (or the bank) throwing an epic party with seven different scary rooms. Tell your teens they are in charge. They can make their costumes, invite a few friends, and decide the menu.

However, if you are really into Halloween, there are so many ideas out there to throw the best party ever and you and your teens will get your scary fix without having to leave the house.

3. Host the trick-or-treating.

I love looking at all the kids’ costumes. It’s fun to stay in, turn the outdoor light on, and present lots of candy to the kiddos. Get your teens involved and have them pass out the candy, or tell them that’s why they are doing the pumpkin carving. Make it sound like they are doing a good deed for the younger kids and they will have even more fun. And if they miss dressing up, nothing says they can’t wear a costume to hand out candy!

4. Go out to their favorite restaurant.

We love doing this (before we pass out the candy that is). It’s a way for me to get my kids to spend some time with me, and you will most definitely see some kids dressed up in their costumes and enjoy the Halloween decorations in your town.

5. Go to a haunted walk or hayride.

Confession: I hate these because the anticipation is too much, but my kids love them. So each year I take them to a haunted walk with their friends, as long as they promise I get to walk in the middle and they will be on all sides of me. If you like this type of thing, it’s definitely a perk of having older kids.


6. Watch Halloween movies.

A good movie marathon, whether you like scary movies or not, is always good for the soul. It’s the simplest way to get you in the mood for Halloween, even for the kids who say they aren’t a fan.


7. Let them have a sleepover.

If they want to have friends over, make blanket forts, and dine on pizza and their favorite candy, let them have at it. It’s fun to listen to our kids having fun and just because they’ve reached a certain age, it doesn’t mean they are too old to eat candy with their friends. I’m 46 and it’s still one of my favorite things to do.

8. Have a bonfire.

I love the smell of a good fire going in the backyard. Throw on a flannel and tell scary stories, or just roast hotdogs and marshmallows.

9. Give them a pumpkin filled with their favorite candy.

It’s kind of like Easter morning on Halloween and it’s delivered in a plastic pumpkin instead of a basket. Throw in a small gift card to their favorite place to get a snack or drinks, and you will make them smile. I promise.


10. Have them help younger siblings or recruit some young’ins.

If they are “too old” to go trick-or-treating, they might still want to go. Maybe they can take their younger siblings out, or maybe they know of some younger kids in the neighborhood whose parents could use some help. This way, they still get to go be a part of the action, and the parents get a much-needed extra set of hands.