8 Last-Minute Halloween Activities to Build Community Engagement

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Last week, we discussed how to optimize your offerings throughout the whole year. There’s no time like the present to get started, especially when Halloween is near.

For many in your community, Halloween marks the official start to the holiday season and the last hoorah for fun in your parks and playgrounds. With school officially settled in, the weather (hopefully) turning cooler, days getting shorter and nights getting darker, Halloween is a GREAT time to engage your members!

Here’s why:

  • It’s fun! There are endless possibilities for themed parties – indoor and out (If your traditional event options are feeling stale, we have a list of new ideas below).
  • Events are acceptable during the day and night. Young families may prefer day events while adults and older kids love the spookiness the night provides.
  • You can use your parks. People love brisk fall air and autumnal, warm treats and activities.
  • The great outdoors provides natural decor. When else can you use what’s naturally around you – Fall leaves, gourds, pumpkins, apples, etc. to fill your event space.
  • It’s a season for the whole family. This is a unique time when parents and children can enjoy themselves together at your event.
  • It’s before residents will be bombarded with end of year and holiday giving requests. Don’t get lost in the holiday mail pile. Campaign in the fall.

Halloween Ideas You Can Pull Off at the Last Minute

If you’re looking for some new takes on Halloween classics, consider the following ideas to engage your community:

  • Night-time, luminaria park walks. Have park staff and naturalists guide families on a night time walk, complete with nature stops and activities.
  • Pumpkin carving festival. Pick a park space, set up rafters, and invite the community to come every night for a week and contribute to the community jack o’lantern collection. Keep them lit each night with Christmas light strands, and passersby will be amazed at the growing collection.
  • A natural twist on Halloween: Host a not-so-scary Halloween where the focus is more on learning about nature and the fall season. Dissect owl pellets, learn about which animals make slime and how leaves decompose into dirt.
  • Trunk or Treat: If residents live in areas where neighborhood trick or treating is difficult, throw a “Trunk or Treat” party in your park, allowing kids to walk car to car to get their sweet treats.
  • Host a fall bonfire complete with food trucks, warm apple cider, and live music.
  • Host a “Play in the Dark” event. Light up a nighttime playground and let the kids play after dinner, just like they did in the summertime.
  • Host a neighborhood Halloween parade led by a costumed, spooky band (partner with your local high school band). End at a park for a fun, family festival.
  • Kick off a “Healthy Holiday” program on November 1, complete with fitness classes, behavior tracking and meal programs to get members through the holiday season in a healthy way.

You’ve got just 11 more days to initiate and promote one of these last minute ideas! 

Have a SPOOKtacular Halloween!

Gina Calvert

Gina is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, YMCAs, Parks & Recs, camps, schools and endurance events, for almost 7 years.

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