One of the saddest days on my parenting journey so far was when my kids told me they were too old to trick or treat. It happened around age 14 or so, and that one, innocent little proclamation spoken to me by someone taller than me (HOW?), wounded me so deeply in my now broken Telltale Heart, I immediately responded with, “Umm, that’s not gonna work for me, so can you please put your Harry Potter cape back on and go get me some Reese’s Cups?”
I mean, why does nobody tell you when you’re snapping adorable pictures of your toddler in pumpkin patches that someday they won’t want to go trick or treating? EEEEEEK!!!
We should have years to prepare for that moment, not a day or two!!
But they didn’t budge, and no matter how many hauntingly creative costume ideas I threw at them, the more they metaphorically aged deep into their teen years, and the less interested they became in grabbing pillow cases and knocking on doors seeking out peanut butter cups for their mom.
However, don’t let your ghoulish teenagers who choose to finally embrace their maturity for one day in late October keep you or them from some good old fashioned Halloween fun. As a matter of fact, you can actually take their disinterest into trick or treating and turn it into something GOOD. How? Well, here are some ideas for your teenagers to give back and have some “teen” fun this Halloween.
Five Teen-Friendly Halloween Ideas
1. Host a Disney princess and prince themed photo session
This is the perfect options for teens who still want to dress up, but who don’t want to actually trick or treat. Have your teen girls and boys transform into one of their favorite Disney movie characters, prince, or princess, then sit outside the house and offer to pose in pictures with the neighborhood little ones. Remind them to stay in character, and watch the little princesses and princes they meet squeal with delight.
2. They can be the neighborhood scary or b00-tiful makeup artist
Tell your teens you have someone who needs a beauty makeover and watch them run for their makeup brushes. Conversely, tell a budding artistic teen that you need them to make a kid’s face look like it’s been zippered open- complete with fake blood and guts all over, and watch their faces light up. Even offer to have them practice on you a few days before, because no teen will refuse making their mom look like the walking dead. Tired moms with no time on Halloween night will thank you.
3. Host a mini haunted house, scary movie night, or craft night for a “parents night out” project
Aside from having them just hang inside the house and give out candy for you, put those teens to work to help play with and entertain the neighborhood little ones, so some new parents can catch a break this month. Small and “not so scary” haunted houses can be put up in a garage with little effort, as well as setting up a screen in the backyard to show classics like “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” Have them host a Halloween craft night, offering parents the chance for a date night, and instead of charging for babysitting, take donations and donate them to the teen’s charity of choice.
4. Drop off candy at local hospitals, nursing homes, or youth at-risk centers
Can they drive? Good. Send them candy shopping, and then have them deliver treats to your local children’s hospital, a Big Brothers/Big Sisters chapter, or another at risk youth center in your area. Those places can always use a hefty stock of candy this time of year, and will welcome the donation.
5. “Trick of Treat” for canned goods!!
This is by far my favorite option, because I’ve done it! First, contact your local food bank of choice, and secure a donation letter approving this project. Tell them your teens will be collecting canned goods on Halloween night, and delivering them the following day. Have teens dress in costume, take the approval letter with them, and hit the neighborhood- except when they knock on doors, they will be asking for a canned good instead of candy (and showing the letter if need be.)
Folks love this idea, and since they’re expecting their door to be rung anyway, they’re always eager to give you something! And typically they hand out candy to the teens too, so it’s a win win.
Best part of all of these? Service hours! If you have a high schooler, you know what I’m talking about. So get those teenagers out there to spread some spooky spirit! (and remind them to NOT come back unless they have peanut butter cups. Just sayin’!)