What are your plans for the upcoming Halloween holiday?  You could stick around the house and enjoy a themed party with your friends and family and decorate pumpkins to your heart’s delight.  Or pack up the gang and take part in the full array of holiday happenings in the DC area. Even better, make time to do BOTH for your happiest Halloween ever.

Let’s See a Smile, Pumpkin 

The times have changed, and you’re no longer under peer pressure to carve the obligatory toothy pumpkin grin. Put away the knives and instead paint your favorite animal, a charming set of buildings, or spell out a ghoulish phrase. Gather up a variety of stencils, acrylic paints, brushes or even acrylic pens and consider the pumpkin your orange canvas. Pumpkin painting vs. carving can be a bit more kid-friendly, although you won’t be able to make any delicious pumpkin seeds after.

If you are a traditionalist, you can sketch a design like flowers or tiny ghosts and cut away. Or make a mixed media pumpkin with a combination of paint and carving. Another new trend is to use a small drill and create a design with little dots for an attractive visual appeal when you light your creation up from the inside with a candle.

Stay in and Celebrate 

Now that your pumpkins are hanging out by the chimney with care gather around your favorite goblins and throw a Halloween themed party at your house. However, if you haven’t carved your pumpkins yet, consider having the gang bring their own and create an entire village of jack-o-lanterns together! Here are a couple more spooky party ideas:

  • Make it a mystery. Choose your favorite detective and organize an entire themed complete with whodunit activities like a scavenger hunt or solve a “”
  • Story Time. Looking for a kid-appropriate idea?  Select from beloved literary characters like Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket and build a fun menu and entertainment for there.

Head out for Fun

There’s a cornucopia of Halloween themed events in the DC Area, why not try out a few?

  • A variety of Corn Mazes are popping up all over and are designed to delight and scare. Some mazes have a treasure map and the whole family can take part in looking for clues.
  • Prefer a ghost tale? Hear scary stories about alleged haunted places such as Lafayette Square Park, Historic Alexandria, or downtown Annapolis when you take a ghost walking tour.
  • For something a little tamer, pack up the kids and check out one of the Halloween Parades in the DC area. Some parades even allow children to participate in the fun if they are wearing a costume.

Stay Safe 

Whether you are staying in or heading out, make sure you and your family stay safe this Halloween. If the kids are trick-or-treating, a parent or adult should always go along as an escort. Be careful about what houses you choose, the homes with lights on will be welcoming. Stay away from unlit dwellings, and never go into a house or car for a treat.

Everyone should put down their phones when walking around and be alert of your surroundings at all times. Motorists need to be especially careful on Halloween – watch the sides of the rides, walkways, and mediums for stragglers who aren’t paying attention. Keep your wits about you so everyone can have a safe Halloween.