Ready for a fabulous month of autumnal fun? Here are 31 days of ideas for your family this October.
- Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt for kids and their friends. Some items to search for: things that are brown, a rake, spider webs or scarecrows. Or, use our free, printable Halloween Scavenger Hunt.
Hand out themed prizes from the dollar store
- Grab a package of glow sticks and play an epic game of glow-in-the-dark tag.
- Generate Halloween excitement by making a black and orange paper chain to count down the days until Oct. 31.
- Light up the backyard fire pit and tell scary stories once the sun goes down. Make s’mores for the ultimate fall evening under the stars.
- BOO your neighbors! Participate in this kind-hearted activity by leaving surprise treats for friends. Get instructions and free printable “You’ve Been Boo’d” signs here!
- Take a trip to a local pumpkin patch, such as Pumpkin Station (five locations throughout the county), Family Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Patch in El Cajon or Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch. Many pumpkin patches offer fun fall activities such as tractor hay rides, petting zoos and more. Here’s our full list of pumpkin patches.
- Once you’ve picked the perfect pumpkin, get to carving. Be sure to set aside some seeds to roast for a yummy and nutritious snack. Not a fan of cleaning up gourd guts? Painting pumpkins is just as fun and (slightly) less messy. Find great no-carve pumpkins ideas from Super Moms 360.
- Have a fall-themed day in Julian. Start off by apple picking at an orchard, eat lunch on Main Street, then pan for gold at Eagle Mining Company. End your afternoon at Julian Cider Mill for tasty treats like fudge, candy and apple butter. Photo credit: @SanDiegoFamilyAdventures
- Whip up a yummy batch of hot chocolate. Top your drinks with add-ins such as white chocolate chips and candy corn. Or, order hot chocolate bombs from a local maker and watch the contents burst open in your cup! Feeling ambitious? Learn to make spooky eyeball cocoa bombs at www.theseasidebaker.com.
- Have a kid-friendly Halloween movie night with your crew. Family classics such as “Halloweentown,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and “Hocus Pocus” are streaming on Disney+. Make it a Día de los Muertos celebration with the movie “Coco.” Don’t forget the popcorn!
- Bake all things pumpkin with the kids—pies, breads, milkshakes, even mac ‘n’ cheese—the possibilities are endless! Find these recipes and more in our round-up of Pumpkiny Goodness.
- Who says you can’t spot fall foliage in San Diego? Check out maple trees at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park for some excellent leaf peeping.
- Fall is a great time to be outside! Pack a picnic and take it to a nearby park. We’re big fans of the green space at Morley Field in North Park and Waterfront Park downtown.
- If your kids are older (13+), take them on a spooky adventure on the Old Town Trolley Ghost Tour. Visit historic San Diego sites like El Campo Santo Cemetery and the Whaley House.
- Make a Halloween craft together. Pick up a package of googly eyes, pipe cleaners and black paper plates to create a silly spider decoration, or find more craft ideas in our Halloween Round-Up.
- Have fall fun with the games in our article Learning with Pumpkins.
- Plan a day to make no-bake treats with the kids! Visit The Seaside Baker for seven ways to decorate Oreos for Halloween.
- Check out a local farmers market and score delicious fall produce including pears, persimmons and squash.
- Autumn is the time for all things football. Assemble your friends to play a game of touch football in the backyard or at a neighborhood park.
- Decorate your front porch as a family. Whether you’re into ghosts and goblins or pumpkins and haystacks, you’ll have a blast adorning your house with seasonal decor. Follow our instructions for Halloween door décor.
- Plan an epic family Halloween costume. Hit up the Spirit Halloween store (because they support kids at Rady Children’s Hospital through their Spirit of Children program) and browse the aisles. Or, grab a glue gun and DIY. Not sure where to start? Get inspired by these awesome family costumes from San Diego residents.
- Take a hike at Palomar Mountain to enjoy fresh air and fall colors. Feeling even more adventurous? Camp out with the family at the state park.
- Go kayaking at La Jolla Shores and explore sea caves and spectacular marine life. Don’t own a kayak? Not to worry; there are many rental companies that offer tours for ages 5 and up.
- Throw a neighborhood harvest get-together. Prepare autumnal-themed foods for guests to nosh on (think soups and fresh baked breads) and serve up warm apple cider. After dinner, have kids bob for apples and play hide and seek.
- Have a family dance party. Stream a Halloween playlist on your music service and get your wiggles out. The theme song from “Ghostbusters” and “Monster Mash” are both a must!
- Create a Halloween sensory bin for preschoolers. Pour rice into a big container, then mix in plastic spiders, eyeballs, skeletons and other goodies from the dollar store.
- In preparation for Día de los Muertos (Nov. 1 & 2), make nichos to honor loves ones who have passed away. Find directions and other Day of the Dead craft projects here.
- Make Halloween treat bags for classmates, friends or neighbors. Print free, festive labels for Spooky S’mores, Jack-o-Lantern Teeth or Ghost Poop.
- Plan ahead for what to do with all your Halloween candy. Read 12 Ways to “Give Back” Halloween Candy for ideas.
- Grab a buddy and make your way through a straw maze or corn maze in San Diego.
- Host a Halloween party for friends. Choose activities from our list of 13 super fun Halloween games for kids.
Freelance writer Natalie Dal Pra loves all things pumpkin and Halloween. She’s looking forward to spending her first fall in San Diego.