The fact that there’s an unwritten rule that the older kids, and especially the teenagers, shouldn’t trick-or-treat anymore leaves most teens between a rock and a hard place. Halloween is an awesome holiday — when you’re a kid. But as you start to get a little bit older, the opportunities for good, clean Halloween fun are more limited.
While the age to stop trick-or-treating is a hotly debated topic that deserves a post all its own, some cities have set age restrictions as young as 13, dating back to the 1970s. Results from a small FiveThirtyEight survey from last Halloween seem to match — most people think the age bracket of 12 to 15 is when kids should stop trick or treating for good.
So, you’ve got an extra-tall trick-or-treater on your hands (who isn’t a toddler who had a growth spurt), and you’re racking your brain to come up with something for them to do this year. Lest they turn to neighborhood tricks, we’ve come up with some treats to keep teens entertained this Halloween.
- Local haunted house
Groupon may be one of the best places to start on the hunt for a local haunted house, especially if you have a big group of teens looking for something fun to do on Halloween. You’re probably going to find a discount deal on Groupon or another shared coupon site starting in early October.
- House party
This one’s easy if you’re brave enough to do it. Instead of turning your teens loose to run wild in the neighborhood, offer to host a Halloween house party for them. Pinterest is loaded with Halloween party ideas for teens — including fun games, spooky food, glowing mocktails and more.
- Progressive dinner
Compared to a house party, this one may take a little more work and community cooperation, but it’s well worth the effort. A progressive dinner, in which parents in the neighborhood are responsible for different courses of the meal, is a fun idea for any regular teen night out, but a haunted progressive dinner makes the event even more thrilling.
- Cookie-baking party
If your teen loves to bake — or just loves to eat sweets — a cookie-baking party can keep them occupied during the trick-or-treating hours of Halloween. We suggest starting with an easy recipe, like this spooky sprinkled Halloween cookie pop, before moving on to the big guns, like a cookie pizza made with Halloween candy.
- Scary movie marathon
Need we say more? Depending on your teen’s age and ability to withstand a good fright, you can also pair the scary movie lineup with a Ouija board — and make sure to dim the lights.
- Backyard camping
A backyard campout is going to keep ‘em busy all night long, and it also works well for preteens and teens of all ages. Gather up some sleeping bags, hot cider, hot dogs, s’mores supplies, and of course, a few ghost stories to read around the fire.
- Pumpkin-carving contest
Even the surliest of teenagers teenagers will appreciate these pumpkin-carving templates from popular movies, including Angry Birds, The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy. And when the masterpieces are finished, don’t forget to put it to a vote and give out a whole pillowcase of candy as the grand prize.
- Corn maze
Clearly, Halloween corn mazes are more popular in the Midwest, where there are plenty of cornfields. Try to locate the closest — and the coolest — corn maze in your neck of the woods. There are several on the east end of Long Island.
- Scavenger hunt
Here’s a whole different reason for teens to go door-to-door on Halloween: to solve their spooky clues and continue on with the hunt. Check on Pinterest — this printable Halloween scavenger hunt is quick and easy. Keep a pillowcase of candy on hand for the big prize.
- Fun runs
Killing two birds with one stone, doing a 5K fun run can keep your teen active and burn off some of that Halloween candy. Most local Halloween-themed runs strongly encourage the runners to dress in their craziest (or goriest) costumes. Even better, 5Ks normally only cost $20 to $30 per person and come with some cool gear, like a custom trick-or-treat bag or a free T-shirt.