Text -- 304-412-4065 Danny@DannyPettry.com

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


All suggestions:











A party



Not sure






any craft

Do Trivia

candy bag



Mummy wrap

mock rocks

mock rocks

Who Am  I?

Candy Bingo

Mask making

Fall bingo

Dance party

Tell a joke

Send a card


Candy making

Sing a longs

Spooky Bingo

pumpkin craft

Slime making

Holiday bingo

costume parade

scavenger hunt

Take the prize


Trick or treat

Costume parade

holiday bingo

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or treat

Trunk or Treat

Wrapping wars!

Telling jokes

Carnival games

A witchy craft

Trunk or treat

Holiday Bingo

Halloween Town

Halloween Party

Halloween Bingo

Costume contest

Door decorating

Carnival stroll

Scavenger hunt

Marble painting

Pumpkin patch!

Arts and Crafts

Scavenger hunt

Costume parade

Costume contest

Halloween bingo

Trunk or Treat

Lollipop ghosts

Arts and crafts

Flash light game

Candy Corn Relay

Carved pumpkins

Halloween party

Halloween party

a small festival

Paint a pumpkin

Magazine mosaic

pumpkin painting

Cutting pumpkin

Pumpkin painting

trunk or treats!

Painting pumpkin

Pumpkin painting

Pumpkin painting

Painting pumpkins

bingo with prizes

cottonball ghosts

A Halloween Party

decorate pumpkins

cookie decorating

Pumpkin painting

Trick or treating

Painting pumpkins

Pumpkin painting

Painting Pumpkins

carving pumpkings

Pumpkin Ring Toss

Cookie decorating

Painting pumpkins

Halloween parade

Pumpkin painting

Painting pumpkins

Decorating cookies

Halloween bake off

Pumpkin decorating

Pumpkin painting!

Painting pumpkins

Halloween Carnival

Cookie decorating

Painting pumpkins

Pumpkin Decorating

Painting pumpkins

Making scarecrows

Lead stamp prints

Cookie Decorating

Painting pumpkins

Trick or treating

caroling for others

Dress up on costume

Balloon volleyball

Zentangle pumpkins

Pumpkin decorating

Pumpkin decorating

Trick or treat night

Make Christmas cards

Costume fashion show

Affirmation pumpkins

Holiday Event/games

Halloween gathering

Candy Corn Feelings

Halloween carnival!

halloween fun stories

Halloween Photo Booth

themed scavenger hunt

making holiday treats

Halloween  wordsearch

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

Pumpkin painting/carving

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

Pumpkin painting/carving

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

Pumpkin carving/decorating

Ring toss on the witch hat

Pumpkin carving/decorating

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

Pumpkin painting/decorating

Pumpkin decorating/painting

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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