7 places to celebrate Halloween besides your neighbors' doorsteps

Looking for something different to do this year for Halloween? Here are some ideas.

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  • Halloween is a hard holiday for some parents. The idea of having their kids stay up late to collect candy sounds like a major sugar high and inevitable sugar crash waiting to happen. But there is more to Halloween than just trick-or-treating. If you are not a fan of walking door-to-door asking for candy, or if you simply want your kids wear their costumes more than once, there are lots of other ways and places to celebrate the holiday. Here are a few.

  • Fall festivals

  • Most schools or churches have a Halloween carnival or fall festival with games and food. And kids can dress up to show their friends their costumes. It is a great way to do more than trick-or-treating for the holiday. Even if your children do not attend the school or church that is putting it on, you can usually bring your kids. Check out your community's webpage to see what is going on near you.

  • Zoos

  • A lot of zoos will host a "Boo at the Zoo" this time of year. Often they have stations set up for trick-or-treating and encourage families to come dressed in costumes. It is a way to combine seeing animals with Halloween. This is also done during the day, so you do not have to wait until after your kids' regular bedtime to go trick-or-treating—a great bonus for those with younger children.

  • Trunk-or-treats

  • Lots of neighborhoods host trunk-or-treats. You bring your car to a parking lot where kids go around from car-to-car "trick-or-treating." A lot of people deck their cars in spooky decor to get into the Halloween spirit. It is a fun way to trick-or-treat in a more controlled environment.

  • Pumpkin patches

  • If you really just want to have some fall fun without candy being involved, try going to a pumpkin patch. You can still dress up and take some adorable pictures with classic fall decorations. Most pumpkin patches have more than simply rows of pumpkins. Mnay have corn mazes, tractor rides, pumpkin tosses and even pony rides. Look up pumpkin patches in your area to find one with activities you think your family would enjoy.

  • Halloween parties

  • Sometimes having a party with your kids' friends is the way to go. If no one you know is hosting one, try giving one yourself. You can play games like pin-the-hat-on-the-witch, bobbing for apples and pumpkin decorating contests. Encourage friends to come in their costumes. You can even give away different prizes for the funniest, most spooky and most creative costumes.

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  • Shopping malls

  • Most malls have Halloween activities. It might be trick-or-treating around the different stores, or it could be face painting for little ones. To find out if the mall is doing something for the holiday, look for fliers up around the mall or ask the information desk.

  • Other local stores

  • Often local stores will host Halloween activities too. Grocery stores, toy stores and even department stores are known to have Halloween activities throughout the month of October. Keep a look out for fliers, ads in the mail and emails with information about the stores near you.

  • Halloween doesn't have to be all blood and gore, and there is also more to it than candy. Have fun dressing up your kids (and maybe yourself) and doing something different from the usual trick-or-treating.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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