Halloween is right around the corner and all that comes along with it. From ghosts and goblins to the hoards of children dressed up in their favorite costume (I was a vampire 4 times).
Halloween is the perfect time to plan a camping getaway, the weather is still decent and the crowds have thinned out considerably. It’s the perfect mix for an adventurous camping trip while keeping alive all the spooky traditions that make Halloween wildly popular.
Being in the woods in the middle of the night with a full moon (hopefully) is the ideal setting for a Halloween camping trip. Here are a few ideas that you can use to make your Halloween camping trip both exciting and terrifying.
1. Tell scary stories
First and foremost, let’s start with the best way to spend an evening around the campfire. Ghost stories are not limited to Halloween, however, it does give the art of storytelling and an added feeling of terror.
Gotta start with a flashlight under your chin, of course. This seems cheesy but if you have kids or a few drinks, for whatever reason, the cheesiness fades.
If making up a scary story isn’t your cup of tea, here is a list of twelve short and scary stories for your Halloween camping trip.
A fun twist to telling a scary story is having a friend arrive late, and let them know your location and time your story accordingly. Telling a scary story seems like all fun and games until the panic of hearing something ruffling the bushes around you with an ax in hand sets in. Meanwhile, tell a terrifying tale of an ax murderer that was known to patrol this part of the woods and never was caught.
2. Halloween hike in the dark
A moonlight hike is one of the most magical parts of the hiking experience, and when done correctly it can be unforgettable. Under normal circumstances, you would hike on a well-marked trail with little to no distractions.
Well, it’s Halloween folks, so set up a haunted house-like experience for your friends and family along the trail. Plan the route carefully, as it will be dark and getting lost in the middle of the night is no joke.
Plan ahead and have a couple people along the trail jump out of the bushes and scare the shit out of everyone. Another idea is to plant glowing eyes throughout the trail or bury a fake hand somewhere on the trail.
Be sure to pack flashlights, headlamps, torches or some sort of illumination while on a Halloween hike deep in the murky waters.
Or set up props along the trail…
- A “dead” body stuffed with clothes
- A severed hand or foot sticking out of the ground
- Glowing eyes in the trees
3. Campsite scavenger hunt
This one doesn’t have to be just for kids, scavenger hunts are fun for everyone. When I think scavenger hunt, normally, I think of Easter eggs or a fourth-grade scavenger hunt for school supplies (yay).
This scavenger hunt is going to be chalk full of scary items. Depending on your location and preferences you have a boatload of options. Throw in an ax, scythe, or a handful of fake spiders.
The most important thing is to remember where you stash your loot, otherwise, your trick will be some other lucky person’s treat.
For the kids here are few Halloween campsite scavenger hunt ideas…
- Witches broom
- Scary book
4. Decorate your campsite
This one is a no-brainer, bring some cool shit to decorate your campsite. With the LED game strong these days, you no longer need a cord and plug to have a badass lighting arrangement.
To make this part interactive for the everyone, save some toilet paper rolls and have the group cut different shaped eyes out of them.
Then take the glow sticks and place them inside the old rolls and hang them all around the campsite. It will give you the creepy effect of having different colored glowing eyes all around you in the middle of nowhere.
Here are some other Halloween campsite decorations to consider…
- Fake spider webs
- Inflatable displays
5. Carvin’ punkins
We for sure HAVE to include jack-o-lanterns.
Pumpkin carving is an age-old tradition and one that people of all ages enjoy. There is more than one way to skin a cat, wait… Carve a pumpkin.
Carving pumpkins is a blast until you stab yourself in the leg or arm. Be sure to provide adequate light when carving your pumpkins while camping.
Carving pumpkins is a fun group activity on the day of or the day after you set up camp. It brings everyone together around the campsite to share in the joys of pumpkin carving. The best part is getting to laugh at and admire all the different designs around you, including your own.
So get your pumpkins ready and share stories, laugh, gut your pumpkin and get to carving.
6. Camp deep in the woods
There’s something eerie that happens when you are camped out in the middle of nowhere. With no sounds yet all the sounds of the evening forest around you. Even the most innocent sounds will scare the bejesus out of you.
A great place to find a remote spot is a fire service road in a National Park, or in other words, dispersed camping. Camping in the deep woods, be aware of your surroundings to ensure that you are not breaking any laws or trespassing.
Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere outside designated campgrounds in a National Park. You will have no facilities so the Leave No Trace principles are important, as always.
Another benefit here is you don’t have to worry about being noisy late at night. For the adult get together this perfect, you can party early into the morning hours and not worry about a park ranger shutting you down or even worse kicking you the hell out of the park (his words not mine).
7. Have a campsite Halloween party
What would Halloween be without a party? Boring…
This one goes hand in hand with the previous suggestions, get scared with a little help from your friends. You could have a party by yourself, but that’s no fun at allllll.
Get a group together and head out into the woods, dress up in costumes and celebrate in the eerie darkness late into the night. If you can’t find a group that wants to leave, head to a KOA and join the campsite party.
You can decorate your site with all the typical Halloween garb, have a scavenger hunt, stay on a fire service road and party. You don’t have to drink to have fun, but it does help.
8. Tent trick-or-treating
Tent trick-or-treating only works if you have a coordinated effort and are willing to tweak the normal rules of trick-or-treating. If you are camping at a KOA or any organized campsite or even an RV park it can be easily pulled off. Get with the ranger or the authority in charge beforehand and shoot the idea out there, see what they say.
As far as how to pull this off, you don’t really want to knock on tents that would be silly and suck for the adults stuck inside the tent. There would be no knocking on the tent door, just having the kids walk up and give them their well-deserved candy. The bigger the campsite, the easier this will be to pull off.
Disclaimer: Your kids may hate you forever if they miss trick or treating. If you go this route be generous with the candy or be with a large group
9. Campsite Halloween cooking
S’mores are the shit. There is no denying that, and they are a staple in every single campsite. This is no different in October.
Get creative with your Halloween cooking and make pumpkin seeds over the open campfire. All you would need is a grill or some sort of supports that you rest the baking sheet on and then grill your pumpkin seeds to perfection.
Pumpkin seeds are not only one option, here are some other sweet Halloween dishes that keep with the tradition…
- Pumpkin pie
- Scary cupcakes
- Spiderweb cake
An easy way to avoid the hoards of sugar-crazed psycho children is to take a trip to a spooky destination. Halloween camping is an enjoyable way to get away and celebrate the same traditions in a different setting.
There are a million ways to get creative while camping in October for Halloween. It’s a fun time of year to let loose with your kids or your friends and be silly.
Take part in some classic Halloween group activities, or enjoy some new ones with a creepy twist. Fewer crowds and cooler weather are a perfect combo for a Halloween Camping trip.