Halloween is a great opportunity for holiday-themed activities at nursing homes, assisted livings, senior centers, and even at home. Halloween activities can bring people together, encourage camaraderie, and give everyone a chance to enjoy some spooky fun. Halloween crafts completed in September or early October can be used as decorations throughout the rest of the month up until the holiday. The seniors will enjoy decorating and putting their mark on their home or facility they live. Here are some great ideas for Halloween-themed activities especially if you plan to volunteer or host these activities:
1. Decorate pumpkins. One of the best traditional crafts for Halloween time is making jack-o-lanterns. If you’re not sure about handing all of your seniors sharp implements, you can have a pumpkin painting day or give sharpies to draw designs on the pumpkins.
2. Make spooky candles. Flameless candles that aren’t a fire risk are recommended, but decorating can include stamping, adding ribbon or twine designs, adding glue and glitter or sand, or decorating with beads, snaps, and pushpins.
3. Make decorative spider webs. You can make simple and cheap spider webs out of coffee filters. Throw in a little yarn and seniors will also have the option of creating larger cobweb decorations for the space they choose to hang them.
4. Make spiral ghosts. Some white paper, a black sharpie, and scissors are all your group needs to make these spinning ghosts. You can hang them around the shared spaces of the facility or home.
5. Decorative Halloween garlands. For one more addition to your homemade decorations, you can task any interested seniors with making decorative Halloween garlands for your hallways.
If you want to pack Halloween week with more fun, here are some interactive activities that are worth trying out.
1. Halloween charades. Brainstorm as many different Halloween-related themes and ideas you can think of for your seniors to act out. You should all have fun watching people mime Dracula or try to figure out how to act like a spider.
2. Share scary stories. Your seniors probably know some good ones, but you can come equipped with a book or some stories from the internet just in case. If enough express an interest in sharing their own scary stories, you can make it into a contest.
3. Homemade costume contest. Encourage your seniors to come up with homemade mask and costumes ideas. If you can make some materials available for them to work with, that may spark inspiration in a few of them. On Halloween, have everyone vote on which costume came out the best.
4. Nursing Home or Assisted living trick-or-treat. Most seniors probably feel silly trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, but let’s be honest, most of us loved trick-or-treating and were a little sad when we got too old for it. The solution: set it up within the facility. Let any seniors that want to participate get dressed up and hit up trick-or-treating stations you set up.
5. Classic horror movie marathon. Your seniors probably have some favorite old classic horror movies. Poll them to pick out a few of the most popular, and give them the option to come together and watch them on Halloween or in the days leading up to it.
Halloween’s not for everybody, so you’ll probably have a few seniors uninterested in participating in some of these activities, but those that enjoy the season will be happy to have the opportunity to celebrate it in a variety of ways.