My wife, Karen, and I have had the pleasure of raising two daughters. When they were younger, it was easy to have them dress up in costumes on Halloween and take them out in the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. But as they grew older (generally between the ages of 12 and 15) going trick-or-treating was no longer "cool" or the thing to do. Generally, about this age is when tweens and teens no longer want to go house to house gathering candy but, want to spend time engaging in activities with their peers. Parents want to make sure that our children are safe while spending time with their friends. Often the best way to do so is to sponsor a party at your house. By doing so, you can ensure their safety by monitoring their activity, therefore giving you piece of mind. Among the activities suggested are Halloween/Harvest Festivals:
- Visit a local haunted house. Most communities nowadays have haunted houses, which are sponsored by charitable organizations. Visiting a haunted house or a haunted village, has become a very popular event for teens/tweens. You do not have to take them to a haunted house sponsored by Disneyworld or Universal Studios. Even local haunted houses can provide teenagers/tweens and their friends, with something to talk about the following day. You may want to look on Groupon or in your local newspapers to obtain discount admission tickets in the event that you are bringing a large group;
- Progressive Dinner: Compared to a Halloween party at your house, a progressive dinner may take a little more work and cooperation among parents of a number of teens/tweens. However, it is often well worth the time and energy in doing so. A progressive dinner, in which the parents in the neighborhood are responsible for different portions of the meal, is a different way to celebrate Halloween or Harvest Festival for a group of teenagers. Make sure you include fun games, spooky food, and creepy music at each house;
- Scary Movie Marathon: Depending upon your teenagers/tweens age and ability to withstand spooky horror movies, you can have a spine-tingling evening for a group of teenagers/tweens. Make sure that you include lots of snacks and dim the lights;
- Bob for Apples: This classic and old favorite may seem rather childish but, is still a lot of fun for people of all ages. Just set up a big tub, full water and apples, to challenge your teenagers/tweens to see if they can pick the apples up without using their hands. Another fun variation of this game is hanging a donut on the end of a string. The principle is the same as bobbing for apples. The winner is the person who can eat the entire donut without using their hands;
- Halloween Night Candy Hunt: Hide bunches of candies around your yard and outside of your house. Once it is pitch black dark, have your teenagers/tweens go on a night candy hunt. Divide them in groups of three to four and give them bags for gathering candy, and flashlights. See how daring they can be on a dark Halloween night. You can spice this game up by having creepy music playing in the background while they are hunting. Do not be surprised if you hear squeals and yells of surprise and delight;
- Wrap a Dead Body: For this game you will need a big roll of white tissue paper or white cloth. Split your teenagers or tweens into teams of two. One teen/tween from each pair has to play the dead body. The other takes the roll of white tissue paper and has to wrap the teen/tween playing dead with the white toilet paper. The team who completes the wrapping process the fastest is the winner. You may want to have photos of the finished results for lots of laughs later; and
- Witches Dealer: Establish a clear starting and finishing point in the play area where the game is going to occur. Split the kids into two teams and tell each teen/tween to line up in a single file. The first person in each line is given the broom. The first team player has to run around the playing area flying on his or her broom. Then he/she passes the broom to the second player and when he/she is done they stand at the end of the line. The first person in line runs towards the ending point in the play area. They run around the ending point and go back to the start and hand off the broom to the next person in line. The game continues until all the tween/teens get a chance to fly on the broom.
The above, are only a few suggestions of the many activities that can occur at your Halloween/Autumn festival party. Keep in mind the age and sophistication of the kids who are attending. Choose your games accordingly and prepare to have fun.