If an endless parade of trick-or-treaters is not your idea of a great Halloween celebration, get out of suburbia and head for the hills. Halloween can be a great time of year for camping. The weather is cooler, and the crowds have thinned out so that you may find yourself in a quiet setting. Deer and other wildlife begin to come down to lower elevations as the weather cools, and the foliage is bright and colorful this time of year.
Host a Party
Invite other families to join you at the camping location of your choice. Each family can decorate its own campsite. Hang Halloween lights on surrounding trees if you have a power source. If not, carve jack-o-lanterns and place them around the campsites as luminaries. Bring Halloween decorations for the picnic tables, trees and tents or RVs.
Tell scary ghost stories around the campfire (don't plan on the kids sleeping in their own tent, however). For younger children, sing silly Halloween songs. Bob for apples.
Go for a Halloween hike in the dark. Bring headlamps and flashlights and stay on well-marked trails--getting lost is no one's idea of Halloween fun.
Hang a sheet between two trees and host shadow puppet shows.
Fun Food Ideas
Roast pumpkin seeds over the fire. After you clean out your pumpkins for carving, save the seeds. Remove the pulp and spread them out to dry. Later that night, place them on a large jelly-roll pan or other pan with slightly raised edges on a grate over the fire. Add some salt and let them roast over the fire.
Present your dinner in a pumpkin. Make a simple beef stew or chili and serve it in a hollowed-out pumpkin.
Foil dinners with squash, pumpkin and potatoes are delicious and easy. Cut the vegetables into small cubes, add salt and pepper and a little butter, place on foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray and fold it over into a packet. Place into hot coals on the fire and cook until the vegetables are tender.
Plan a pumpkin-themed dessert and serve pumpkin cookies, pumpkin roll or pumpkin pie.
Join a Campground Celebration
If you don't want to go to the work of planning your own event, find a commercial site to do the work for you. Many campgrounds host special Halloween camping events. For instance, some KOA campgrounds offer free pumpkins and even host campground activities such as trick-or-treating. Jellystone Parks have pumpkin carving, costume contests, campsite decorating contests, hayrides and games. State parks often host these events as well. Book in advance; these campsites fill up fast.