Submitted by 325 rec therapists
We asked Recreation Therapists to tell us safe Halloween ideas for children, teens, adults and the elderly who are in inpatient or residential treatment settings.
325 recreation therapists submitted ideas
Who Am I?
Tell a joke
Send a card
Sing a longs
Take the prize
TRUNK OR TREAT
Trick or treat
Trunk or Treat
Trunk or treat
Trunk or Treat
A witchy craft
Trunk or treat
Arts and Crafts
Trunk or Treat
Arts and crafts
Flash light game
Candy Corn Relay
a small festival
Paint a pumpkin
trunk or treats!
bingo with prizes
A Halloween Party
Trick or treating
Pumpkin Ring Toss
Halloween bake off
Lead stamp prints
Trick or treating
caroling for others
Dress up on costume
Trick or treat night
Make Christmas cards
Costume fashion show
Candy Corn Feelings
halloween fun stories
Halloween Photo Booth
themed scavenger hunt
making holiday treats
Colorful Leaf rubbings
DIY Halloween costume
Halloween themed Bingo
Sensory haunted house
Reverse trick or treat
Doing the Monster Mash!
Halloween Dance Party!
Hans only haunted house
Decorate spooky cookies
pizza party and a movie
Draw one unique pumpkin
Holiday trivia and jokes
Door decorating contest
Halloween Scavenger Hunt
painting jack o lanterns
Halloween Name That Tune
random acts of kindness
Door decorations contest
Costume parade by staff
Decorating their facility
Reverse Trick or Treating
Create your own superhero
Halloween Trivia Jeopardy
Halloween handprint craft
Halloween scavenger hunt
Scare crow making contest
Hot Potato with a Thumball
Holiday chain of gratitude
Trick or treating outside
Plastic pumpkin decorating
Make halloween treat bags
Ring toss on the witch hat
Paper Snowflake Decorating
Halloween wheelchair parade
Making your own decorations
halloween cookie decorating
pin the face on the pumpkin
Halloween bingo with prizes
Children trick or treating.
nerf gun shooting monsters
Trick or treating with kids
Pumpkin decorating contests
Mask- making or decorating
mummy toilet paper contest!
Pumpkin ring toss, great hit
make candy bags for children!
Halloween songs – sing-a-long
holiday themed scavenger hunt
Pin the heart on the skeleton
intergenerational sing a long
Apple picking (with reachers)
Holliday trivia or Guggenheim
Halloween wooden art/ tie dye
Window paint jack o’ lanterns.
Affirmation Halloween pumpkins
Halloween carnival in our gym.
Decorating a gingerbread house
Corn mazes and apple orchards
Pin the heart on the skeleton
Trick or Treat self care boxes
A dance with costumes and music
Great pumpkin hunt for a prize
holiday themed crafts or baking
Fake pumpkin decorating contest
Toilet paper costume decoration
Making picture frames, snowglobe
balloon volley with fly swatters
Pumpkin decorating with sharpies
A costume creation/costume party
Making candy goody bags for kids
Howling Contest… Mummy wrapping
wear a costume/hat for halloween
Painting a canvas – theme related
Halloween game win, lose, or draw
A Halloween costume party, parade
Children’s parade for geriatrics
Halloween party and costume making
Minute to win it games with prizes
Bob for apples with own container
Memory building through collaging
Bowling with mini plastice pumpkins
Shadow puppet stories, scary or not
Storytelling, Fall/Halloween crafts
Make a holiday wreath from scratch!
Jack o lantern corn hole tournament
Punch-a-hole boards for each holiday
Making cards for the sick (hospital)
Silhouette painting with watercolors
Offi e or room door trick or treating
Costume contest via zoom, mask making
I love a good Halloween costume parade
a haunted house, and sensory activities
Greeting card making to send to others.
Balloon badminton or a Halloween social
Halloween themed minute to win it games
color art activity for the current season
Touch sensation game of guessing objects
Halloween Balloon Volleyball while seated
Completing a fall activities bucket list
Art group to make decorations for the unit
Hit a decorated balloon with a pool noodle
Dance to Halloween songs like monster mash
Rock painting and sharing/hiding the rocks
Hand made crafts that are not contrabands.
Painting pumpkins! Much safer than carving
Thumbprint ghost finger painting on pumpkins
Face painting it can put a smile on your face
Dressing up and learning the thriller dance.
making jack-o-lanterns for outside their doors
Elderly: painting pumpkins and pumpkin bowling
Making model magic based on something they love
Crafts , hallway trick or treat, fall festival
Trick or treat at offices or around the facility
Halloween Party – dress up, pass out candy, crafts
Best dressed costume, most unusual, creative, etc.
Intergenerational Trick or treating down the halls
making decorations or baking holiday favorite foods
Pumpkin decorating while watching a halloween movie
pumpkin painting – always a big hit at my community
Create fall trees using fall colored paint and q-tips
Trick or treating with staff and families for patients
reminiscing activities-baking, making garland, wreaths
Halloween Trivia or Trick or Treating in the facility
Hay rides and pumpkin carving always a crowed pleaser
I have taken my clients of all ages trick or treating.
Helping stock halloween goodie bags for trick or treaters
Find them a live website of something they enjoy watching
Nebula Jars decorated to look like monsters for Halloween
We play Halloween bingo & make a variety of Jack-O-Lanterns
Do Halloween arts and crafts and then have a Halloween party
Seniors – having kids come dressed up for trick or treating
favorite music that might have a Halloween connection to them
Bingo! A fun game to work on skills while also winning prizes!
having kids come put on a christmas program for elderly residents
Holiday arts and craft or a group team building activity/exercise
Make halloween chains and string them around the entire facility!
Pumpkin guessing. Guessing the weight of different size pumpkins
drive through trick or treating while sitting on porch and watching
Spirit Week with a theme for each day during the week of the holiday
Bobbing for apples, but using a grabber from the therapy department
Costume parade, pumpkin Decorating, Hot apple cider and donuts socials
A wheel through Halloween house(Haunted for some and funny for others )
facility fair/with animals, games, resident crafts displayed and fair foods
Fall/carnival: set up different stations with different games and activities
Play halloween BINGO reminiscing all the characters and events of the occasion
Halloween candy sensory exploration! What does it feel/ smell like? Colors, etc
Have kids go to the residential treatment center so residents can give them candy
Baking, painting pumpkin, haunted gingerbread house, wreath making, tiktok holiday songs
We have a Halloween parade each year with employee and resident children/grandchildren.
False pumpkin painting w/ non toxic paints and have them displayed behind the nurses desk
A paint and sip party where they drink hot chocolate and paint a picture of a winter scene
Fall themed Jeopardy ! Just did this with the Elders at the home I work at. They loved it
Having children come in to the facility and let residents pass out candy or Pumpkin Painting
painting pumpkins, trick or treating indoors door-to-door, halloween themed games and crafts
Halloween Carnival with a costume contest. Holiday baking. Have music groups come in and sing.
Trick or Treating door to door! Have residents decorate their “front door” and hand out candy!
Make a craft or painting of the holiday session to put up on their walls. Maybe even use wood backdrop.
Inpatient psych we draw halloween characters to decorate the whole unit. Then we have a halloween party.
Pen pals with someone local to write letters/color pictures for! Getting letters is always a great feeling!
Very detailed Halloween coloring pages in a quiet setting so it’s relaxing and they can just focus on the picture.
We do a picture based scavenger hunt around campus to lead them to goodie bags with safe and age appropriate prizes
Have a small group of volunteer kids pass out candy to them. Or a craft of their favorite Halloween movie as a kid or now
Create something to decorate for that specific holiday. That way they could see their work, show others and be proud of it!
Bringing family/staff children in (when we can, ie covid) and have them safe trick or treat with residents giving out candy.
A social for vaccinated patients! It could include fall crafts, different Halloween candy from over the years, and even mocktails!
For Halloween we paint pumpkins. I have them paint one side as a face they show the world, and the other as what they are really feeling like.
if you are working w/ adults, having an intergeneration arts n crafts like painting ornaments together has always been a special time for both demographics.
We’re doing a Porch Fest (think musical talent show). All of the cottages on campus will present for everyone else (at a distance) on their cottage’s front porch.
I play a game w my patients called SINGO! It’s like music bingo. I have holiday in addition to other genres. We process and share how music listenting is therapeutic
Pen-pals, holiday party, photo booths with props, cookie decorating, gift wrapping for charity, large screen projected movie night, create a game/board game, collaborative artwork/mural, tree decorating, costume making, Halloween egg hunt ,
pumpkin painting, apple prints (for children), in-house “corn maze” activity, create a scarecrow family and other seasonal decorations to display and make the facility festive while also making it feel more like home, caramel apple dipping & topping snack station/workshop, fall flower arranging class (sometimes local BOCES/vocational students who are taking floral classes will come in to help and will share their floral training, give a great intergenerational program, and get the service credit they need)
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