Every activity director has a month that truly shines when they create their activity calendar. Some activity directors love December, with carolers coming by almost every day, throwing fun holiday socials- and best of all-giving out presents to residents. Other activity directors can’t wait for fun trips during the summer time. I have personally always loved October. On crisp nights you can smell the smoky air of people using their fireplaces. The fall leaves show off their beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange, kids are deciding what Halloween costume to wear. It’s a very exciting month with so much going on. I would love to share some fun programming ideas to help spruce up your October calendar and to help you take advantage of all the great things this month has to offer! Here are seven things you have to try this season:
- Visit a pumpkin patch! There are tons of farms that open their fields for pumpkin picking during October. Some even offer fun and friendly hayrides. Make sure to call ahead of time and assure that the farm you are going to is handicap accessible. Most farms participating in fall festivities will list if they are wheelchair accessible online as well.
- Pie Eating Contest: There is nothing more entertaining for your residents than watching staff and fellow residents get their competition on and have a pie eating contest! Always make sure to serve slices of pie to everyone observing the contest- you don’t want them to feel left out of the fun.
- Mocktails can be lots of fun in October. Add some fun names to your mocktails. Zombie Juice. Mummyrita’s, Dracula’s Punch. There are so many great Halloween themed virgin drinks you can incorporate into a program.
- Mummy Wrapping Contest! Every year it had become a tradition on my calendar to have a mummy wrapping contest on mischief night. Staff and residents would volunteer to be a mummy and get wrapped in toilet paper. There would be three people volunteering to do the wrapping and each group had three minutes to make the best mummy!
- Show some suspenseful matinees. Hitchcock films such as Rear Window would be great. Nail biting thrillers without too much gore or terror. You can even throw a special family movie night showing a more family-friendly Halloween themed film such as “Casper” or “Hocus Pocus”. Both films are great for both young and old audiences to enjoy.
- Have a pumpkin decorating contest. Residents can work in groups or individually in creating some fantastic pumpkin creations.
- Host a Trick-or-Trunk. Ask a local elementary school if they would be willing to have a Trunk-or-Treat event in the parking lot of your facility. (Make sure to approve this with your building’s director first). Have an area of parking lot dedicated to the trunk or treat to ensure the safety of trick-or-treaters. Provide large candy bowls to your residents or candy bags for them to hand out to the children who come to the event in costume. Having done this program in the past, it was lots of fun! Many residents gave positive feedback on how it brought them back to the times they would hand candy out to the kids in their neighborhood. It was very rewarding to not only have a fun program, but also one that helped them reminisce in such a positive way!