Magical Halloween Activities

Magical Halloween Activities

Ideas for Creating a Magical, Memorable Halloween

Celebrating holidays is the perfect way to put a little bit of magic into our ordinary days. Halloween-themed movies, games, crafts, and stories bring us closer together and help cultivate memorable childhoods filled with magic and wonder. 

Here are some ways we make the Halloween season fun, memorable and magical. 


We decorate as a family on October 1st. Along with decorations we pull out all the Halloween books and games. Everyone loves reminiscing over their favorite decorations like the 6 foot giant, woolly spider that hangs on our stairwell and the pumpkin village we created together several years ago.

The Great Pumpkin

He may have never visited Linus, but he comes here!  The Great Pumpkin book

When the kids were little, trick-or-treating went so badly one year we ended up hiding candy in the front yard and told them The Great Pumpkin had come. That last minute idea saved Halloween, and has become a fun family tradition.

These days The Great Pumpkin visits on October 1st hiding candy and Halloween shirts or pajamas for the kids to find. And if trick-or-treating gets rained out or somebody is sick, he can always come by and hide candy again.

Spooky Portraits

You can get so creative with this. We used decorations and costumes we already had, worked together to design their scenes, then I edited the pictures on my phone to make them dark, sepia-toned, and spooky. 

Lollipop Ghost Hunt 

This was such a fun activity when the kids were little. Cover lollipops with white tissue and hide them in trees. There are many cute ghost books you can read before or after too.

Ten Timid Ghosts

There’s a Ghost in this House

The Little Ghost who was a Quilt

Halloween Themed Cocoa Bar 

Invite friends or just do it as a family before watching a movie. See my post about a dye-free cocoa bar here (Coming Soon).

Face Paints

My kids paint their faces all year, but it really ramps up in October. They will have a different face painted every day of the month. Here are links to our favorite face paints, easy to use and easy to clean up. 

Blue Squid Face Paint

Snazaroo Face Paint

Spooky Crafts

We had to try the ghost painting craft that has been all over the Internet:  Find an old painting and add ghosts, pumpkins, and bats. I love how the kids’ paintings came out—they will be treasures for a long time. Plus it’s a great way to recycle old art. It took us several thrift shop trips to find old paintings at a decent price. These prints on Amazon would also work:

Unframed Farmhouse Wall Art #1

Unframed Farmhouse Wall Art #2

Framed Canvas Print

Unframed Farmhouse Wall Art #3

Cheesecloth Ghosts

We had to try this viral craft too! It was fun and easy. 

Halloween Painted Rocks 

We updated our fairy garden to have a spooky vibe. 

Nat Geo Creepy Creatures Rock Painting Kit

Haunted Dollhouse

I saw this activity years ago on Instagram, and thought it was a perfect thing to do with Vampirina’s house the kids didn’t want anymore. We spray painted it black and gray, decorated it with Halloween items, and it has become a fun decoration for the house. Plus the kids still play with it.

Go on a Haunted Tour

This is a new one for us because they are usually too scary for our kids. This year we found a kid-friendly haunted tour that is more historical than scary.

Spooky Science 

Halloween is a great time for science experiments. Elephant toothpaste in a jack-o-lantern is always fun. Check out these Halloween science books and activities: 

Monsters Factory

The Science Spell Book

Nat Geo Super Gross Chemistry Set

Wizards Potion Science Kit

Spooky Books

The Skull

The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt

There’s a Ghost In This House

Eerie Elementary Series

Black Day: The Monster Rock Band

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

My boys favorite Halloween book: Weird But True Halloween: 300 Spooky Facts to Scare You Silly

Spooky Games

Haunted Mansion 8+

Johnny the Skull 5+

Villains Labyrinth 7+

Villainous 10+

Cute Halloween Corn Hole game

Spooky Field Trips

Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches and Apple Picking are great—but there’s so much more. 

Look to see if your local children’s museum, petting farm, zoo, botanical garden, planetarium or science center has planned any Halloween-themed activities. 

Halloween Lights

We love driving around and seeing how other people decorate for Halloween. It’s also fun to go to the hardware store and other shops and check out their decorations. Add a scavenger hunt for extra fun.

Free Printable! halloween scavenger hunt

Halloween Movies

The kids’ tastes and fear levels have changed over the years. Here are some of our past and present favorites.


The Addams Family 

The Nightmare Before Christmas 




Toy Story of Terror

Monster House


Hotel Transylvania

Room on the Broom

Spooky Buddies


Under Wraps

Amazon Associate Affiliate Program Disclosure

Curiosity Schoolhouse is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

By clicking on and purchasing products through the links provided on this page, you are helping support Curiosity Schoolhouse at no extra cost to you. These affiliate commissions enable us to continue providing valuable content and resources to enhance your homeschooling journey. Your support is greatly appreciated!

The Beatryce Prophecy Novel Study

The Beatryce Prophecy Novel Study

We stumbled upon The Beatryce Prophecy (Amazon afilliate link) while in the midst of a medieval history unit (see this post for background). This lyrical, enchanting story captivated all of us. The prophetic goat. The mysterious girl. The brave boy with the heavy sword.

So many fun, engaging activities were born out of reading this book. We made maple candy, painted stained glass pictures, and wrote prophecies. 

The novel study I created for The Beatryce Prophecy includes extension activities, vocabulary, story maps, character analysis, and comprehension questions.  You can click the link below to access this free .pdf study guide.

The Beatryce Prophecy novel study

Please let us know in the comments below your thoughts, especially if you end up using it!

Medieval History: Our Favorite Fiction Books

Medieval History: Our Favorite Fiction Books

We are learning about the Middle Ages using Curiosity Chronicles Snap Shots of Medieval History (affiliate link). You can use coupon code CSHouse for an additional 5% off.

We especially love the CC audiobook, which is great at explaining history in ways kids can understand—but it can still be pretty abstract. It’s hard to imagine what life was like in another time and place. The food, education, clothing, wars, plagues, and societal restrictions feels so far removed from their everyday life.

We use non-fiction books, art, and documentaries to solidify their learning, however, adding a literature component gives another layer of context. Characters the kids relate to who are going through something they definitely can’t relate to, increases understanding as well as empathy.

Dash once said to me, “I like History because it’s like entering a new world. And it makes me happy that I’m not living in that world!”

Here are our favorite fiction books to pair with a Unit on Medieval History: (Amazon Associates program disclosure below)

Here are two series that we also recommend:

  • Max and the Midknights series by Lincoln Pierce

Let us know in the comments below if you have any medieval history fiction book recommendations!

Amazon Associate Affiliate Program Disclosure

Curiosity Schoolhouse is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

By clicking on and purchasing products through the links provided on this page, you are helping support Curiosity Schoolhouse at no extra cost to you. These affiliate commissions enable us to continue providing valuable content and resources to enhance your homeschooling journey. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Dollywood School Day

Dollywood School Day

While we usually focus on fun and family when we spend a day at Dollywood it’s easy to make it count as school day.

From learning about Tennessee history to the physics of roller coasters, a day at Dollywood can be fun and educational.

Dollywood has several printable educational resources. My kids aren’t quite ready for the lessons on the physics of roller coasters, so our favorite is Raptor Academy: Bird of Prey Workbook. Educational Resources | Dollywood Parks & Resorts

You can also find a homeschool day itinerary on with ideas for history, language arts, math, and science.

We love the up close encounters with rescued birds of prey, including owls, hawks, falcons, and vultures, while learning about these amazing birds during The Wings of America show.

Dollywood’s 30,000-square-foot Eagle Mountain Santuary is home to the largest collection of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the country. They have bred and released more than 180 Bald Eagles over the past 30 years.

You can check out the Eagle Cams at DW here: Dollywood Bald Eagle Nest Cams | 24/7 Bald Eagle Nest Cams at Dollywood!

Many of the birds at DW have their own instagrams!

We love Dolly, and it is fascinating to learn about her life and contributions. The parks hosts a replica of her two-room childhood home, built and designed by her brother and mother. There is also a replica of a school house, her childhood church, and you can walk inside one of her actual tour busses.

There are other educational opportunities too: a working Gristmill, a blacksmith shop, and do you know what a whistle punk is? 

Experiences like this are also great ways to work on life and social skills. A day at Dollywood has been a great place for my kids to work on setting goals and overcoming fears. 

They also get many chances to practice speaking up for themselves, to talk to vendors and workers politely and clearly, and ask for what they want. For my emergent reader, I set a goal of reading 10 to 20 words while walking around the park – a game she really enjoys while reading environmental text build her confidence.

Have you used a day at Dollywood or another theme park as a school day? How did you do it? Let us know in the comments below.

A Day in the Garden

A Day in the Garden

We are lucky to have Clemson University close to us because they offer wonderful science summer camps, as well as science labs for homeschoolers throughout the school year. But it’s not close enough that we can drive home after we drop the boys off, so we spend a lot of time at Clemson’s South Carolina Botanical Garden and the Bob Campbell Geology Museum.

Searching for turtles, feeding the geese, and learning the names of flowers are some of our favorite ways to spend time there. We use the seek app to help us identify plants, flowers, and trees, and record what we find in nature journals.

There are several different types of gardens are featured throughout the Botanical Gardens, including a pollinator garden, an aquatic garden, conifer, desert, heritage, which leads to conversations about how the climate and environment needs to change to grow different plants such as moss, cactus, hibiscus, and aquatic plants.

With a children’s garden, vegetable garden, and a butterfly garden, this is a great place to observe many kinds of pollinators.

There is also an old caboose, a duck pond, and a monument to the Clemson military school.

The botanical gardens were built on what used to be an Appalachian family farm, and there are signs along some of the trails in remembrance of the family who lived there. Hunt cabin, an 1835 cabin built by enslaved people for the Hunt family was moved to the area in the 1960s. This tiny cabin was once home for the 14-member family.

The Bob Campbell Geology Museum has gemstones, fossils, skulls, bones such as a brontosaurus foot, a cave bear skull, and Dash’s favorite: a dodo bird skeleton. Outside the museum is a desert garden and Jurassic Garden featuring plants that have been around for billions of years.

There’s so much to learn and explore at the SCBG, but it’s also a beautiful, peaceful place to walk with friends—which is our favorite way to be here.

How We Celebrate the First Day of School

How We Celebrate the First Day of School

Creating traditions in your homeschool journey is a fun way to show kids that we value both their education, and the privilege we have of spending these days together as a family.

Back-to-school is an exciting time. There is so much newness, but also accomplishments, achievements, goals, things to look forward to.

As homeschoolers we capture a bit of that back-to-school magic in different ways. We don’t buy a lot of new supplies or clothes, the kids don’t get a new classroom, they don’t need backpacks. Over the last several years we have found other ways to make the first day back memorable. A special breakfast, new pajamas, art supplies, books, board games, and a park meetup with friends are just a few ways we’ve celebrated the first day back.

We’ve also done lunch out with Dad, scavenger hunts, family art projects, and day trips. One of their favorite things was the year I filled a miniature pinata with fun school supplies.

The days leading up to the first day the kids are kept out of the classroom while I clean, reorganize, and make everything look new and fresh. They come into the classroom on the first day with new supplies, pajamas, clothes, curriculum, and equipment piled up on their desks and the main table.

This year they each got a handheld microscope, lots of books, and two new board games. We spent the day going over our plans for the year, coming up with a word of the year to focus on, and setting goals for ourselves.

We started a family painting that we will work on all week. We also played one of our new games and wrote autobiographies.

I make a big deal out of the first day because I want my kids to understand that what we do matters. School is important, and learning can be exciting and fun. They are entering a new grade which is an accomplishment they should feel proud about. When kids see how much we value education it becomes more valuable to them.

Other fun ideas you might consider for the first day of homeschooling: 

  • Make a special breakfast or lunch.
  • Meet up with friends for a joint activity or playtime.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Explosive science experiments.
  • Messy Art Projects.
  • Go to the movies or bowling.
  • Have a board games and movie day.
  • Have a tea party.
  • Take photos.
  • Have a picnic. 
  • Do schoolwork somewhere different like a local creek or State Park
  • Make fudge or bake a back-to-school cake. Cinnamon Rolls are the favorite here. 
  • Learn a new craft together: Last year my kids learned to weave on both a regular and circular loom.
  • Paint rocks with cheerful messages and hide them around your town. 
  • Use up any leftover sparklers.I love seeing the back-to-school traditions families come up with. What does your family do on the first day back to school? Tell us in the comments below.

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