Fun and festive activities to do with the kids and grandkids

As a kid, Halloween was my favorite time of year. The idea of decorating the house, deciding on a scary costume, carving a pumpkin, not to mention the tasty rewards of trick-or-treating were far more entertaining than opening presents on Christmas.

A big part of the appeal was that I did these things with my parents. My dad would help us pick out and carve the pumpkin, my mom would help us decorate the house and find a costume, and my sister would select the movies we would watch to get in the holiday spirit.

As much as I loved the candy, I think what really made it great was how we all came together and had fun. Kids love to see grown-ups doing kid things.

Looking for a few fun activities you can do with your own kids and grandkids this fall? Here are a few ideas:

Autumn Crafts/Decorating

There is nothing that says Halloween more than a house covered in spider webs and ghostly characters. Take the kids out shopping for the spookiest decorations you can find, and if you want to get even more creative, take them up to the attic to dig for some long forgotten treasure that can be used to give the house a more haunted feel.

Another fun idea is to make a centerpiece for Thanksgiving. Kids love making things and a simple decorative flower or apple-themed centerpiece will make them feel special and useful. Try something like this easy to make paper plate cornucopia.

Watch Thanksgiving/Halloween-themed Films

There’s an abundance of great kids’ movies around this time of year. Find out what some of their favorites are, or better yet, show them your favorites from when you were a kid. Classics like the Charlie Brown series, Pocahontas, Winnie the Pooh – Season of Giving, The Little Orphan, Mouse on the Mayflower, Harry Potter, Goosebumps, Casper and Hocus Pocus are all great kid-friendly choices.

Read or Tell Scary Stores

There is something infinitely fun and instantly nostalgic about sitting in the dark with a flashlight under your chin using your deepest, quietest voice to tell scary stories. If you’re not one for telling them on your own, reading them to the kids can be just as fun. The internet is a vast resource for tall tales of the underworld, so check out some kid-friendly websites for stories to make their night extra spookily special. Go here for some great examples.

Help Them Make Their Halloween Costume

If you are of the craftier nature and sewing comes naturally to you, you might want to help the kids make their very own unique costumes. Start by narrowing down their ideas by watching scary movies or sourcing a costume magazine, and when they are sure of what they want to be, take them to a fabric store to help pick out the colors. This is also a great time to teach them the basics of sewing. Let them practice getting into character before the big day so you can make any final tweaks and decide on any make-up that might be needed to complete the scary look.


Go Apple Picking

This is the season where apples grow plentifully, and apple pie and cider take center stage at the dinner table. Any activity that gets kids out of the house and active is great for their health and their self-esteem, and the act of sourcing their own food teaches them healthy sustainable habits for the future. Once you get the apples home you can teach them how to bake an apple pie with the fresh fruit! Go here for a listing of orchards in Ontario.

Visit the Pumpkin Patch and Decorate a Pumpkin

There is no greater autumn kids’ activity than visiting the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin. Many pumpkin patches have other fun activities to engage the kids, like corn mazes and hay rides, so plan on spending the afternoon and don’t forget to bring your camera!

When you get the pumpkin back home, let them create a scary face to put on it, and you’re ready for carving. Take lots of photos of them with their Halloween costumes on beside their new creation.

Bake Themed Cookies

Baking with the kids is always a fun activity, and as long as you have everything prepared before they’re in the kitchen, it can be stress free too! Get the ingredients measured up and ready before hand, and let them come in when it is time to dump them in and mix everything together. Let them use their hands or cookie cutters to make autumn-themed shapes, and when they are done baking they will have a blast decorating the treats.

What are your favorite fall activities to do with the little ones? Tell us in the comments!

Photo © Catherine Yeulet

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