Inside: The lowdown on what “Booing” is at Halloween and how to create a boo bag, complete with free printables. Start this fun Halloween tradition for a great way to entertain the kids and teach them the joy of giving at the same time!
When is the only time it’s okay to ding dong ditch?
Halloween. But not as a trick. As a treat.
This feel-good tradition of spreading Halloween cheer is also known as “booing“.
When my kids were little, the thrill of our Halloween season was hearing the doorbell ring and opening the door to find an anonymous Halloween treat with that special note, “You’ve been “boo-ed!“👻
And an equal part of the fun was them ringing their friend’s doorbells and running like little maniacs so as to not get caught after dropping our bags of Halloween goodies on their porches.
What is Booing on Halloween?
If you’re not familiar with this charming Halloween activity, a “Boo” is like a friendly ghost leaving a small treat on a neighbor’s porch anonymously along with a “We’ve Been Boo’d” sign to display.
And not only is it fun to receive boo bags, it’s an awesome altruistic lesson for our kids. All ages love this fun activity—the assembly of the treats, the thrill of not getting caught during delivery, and the guessing of who boo’d who.
But booing is more than just a one-time surprise. This random act of kindness requires you to pay it forward!
Once you’ve been Boo’d, it becomes your turn to choose two neighbors and deliver a little Halloween joy to their doorstep, all while keeping your identity a secret.
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How to “Boo” someone.
The beauty of Booing is that it doesn’t require you to worry about the proper time window for trick-or-treating or what the weather will be like on Halloween night. You can Boo on your own schedule any time during the month of October. (Although it does make sense to leave enough time for your boo-ees to pass it on.)
Here are the four simple steps to making the perfect boo bag:
1. Pick a Boo Container.
The booing basic is to pass along to two neighbors, but feel free to share as much Halloween love as you want! And the containers aren’t limited just to a boo “bag”. These all make darling vessels for your ghostly gifts:
2. Gather up the Goodies.
The treats in Boo Bags aren’t expensive or fancy (or no one would continue the fun). Any Halloween trinkets and sweet treats are good fillers. Try the Target Dollar Spot and Dollar Tree for little gifts to include along with the sweet eats.
Here are some item ideas to get your creativity brewing on what you’ll want to look out for:
- Halloween candy
- Homemade Halloween treats like cookies or cupcakes
- Storebought sweet treats from the bakery
- Glow sticks
- Tattoos and stickers
- Spider rings
- Fake bugs
- Slap bracelets
- Halloween straws
- Small crafts
- Pens, pencils, markers
- Small plushes
- Coloring books, word search, or mad lib books
- Small Halloween decor like skeletons, skulls, and pumpkins
- Trinkets from the Halloween party favor department
- Halloween headbands or costume pieces like cat ears or pirate eye patches
- Halloween-themed bracelets or hair accessories for girls
- Cozy warm socks
Make it easy on yourself with a pack of Halloween goody bag favors.
3. Prepare the Boo Sign and Instructions.
If you’ve been boo’d, your treat should have come along with instructions to keep the goodwill chain going. (But if not never fear, I’ve got you covered with free printables below!)
1) First, attach a copy of the “You’ve Been Booed” sign* you received to the boo bags you’re gifting. This way they know exactly why there’s a random gift on their front porch.
*If you don’t have the Boo signs or want to be the one to get it started in your neighborhood, I’ve made some free printable signs for you to download at the bottom of this post.
2) Next, include a copy of the “We’ve Been Booed” sign for each recipient to hang on their front door or in their window. The purpose of these is to identify who has and hasn’t been boo’d already. This way you only have to pass the “boos” once, and more of the neighborhood is included in the fun.
3) And finally, tuck in a copy of the Booing Instructions they should follow to keep the chain going.
4. Deliver the Boo Bags Anonymously.
Now comes the thrill and my favorite part! Target neighbors and friends that don’t have a “we’ve been boo’ed” sign displayed. Have the kids sneak up to their front door and leave the boo bag on the doorstep (or hanging on the door knob if you’re concerned about pests if they’re not home).
Then, ring the doorbell and RUN!!
Who to Boo.
Expand beyond neighbors.
You don’t have to live in a neighborhood to still take part in this fun tradition. Adapt it to your kid’s friend group, classmates, sports team, etc. I used to drive my kids to their friends houses after dark. All. Over. Town. But the memories and laughter were totally worth it.
How to Boo Adults.
Why should kids have all the fun? Substitute the Halloween toys and trinkets for items adults would appreciate.
And a super fun way to spread the Halloween spirit to your adult friends? A “You’ve Been Boozed” basket with their favorite adult beverage, some Halloween chocolate, and cocktail napkins!
The Boo Poem.
There are many cute ways to say you’ve been boo’ed if you search on Google. This is an old standby poem I’ve seen a lot (and have used on my free printable below):
The air is cool, the season fall,
Soon Halloween will come to all.
With ghosts and goblins, spooks galore,
Trick-or-Treaters at the door.
The spooks are after things to do.
In fact, a spook brought this to you!
The treats that come with this short note
Are yours to keep. Enjoy them both!
Excitement grows when friends like you
Will copy it, and make it two.
Neighbors will have smiling faces;
None can guess who “BOOed” which places.
A day or two to work your spell,
But keep it hidden. Hide it well!
Join the fun; the season’s here.
So spread these “BOOs”—and share the cheer!
Free Boo Sign Printables.
Ready to get booing? I’ve made all the signs you need:
- You’ve Been Boo’ed Gift Tag
- We’ve Been Boo’ed Window Sign
- Boo Instructions
- You’ve Been Boozed Gift Tag
- You’ve Been Boozed Window Sign
(I’ve included a QR code to this post on the bottom in case your recipients want to print instead of copy their signs to pass along.) Print them on white cardstock paper or plain white paper
You can find all these free booing printable downloads in the subscribers-only library down in the footer menu. (The password is at the bottom of every email you get from me.)
If you’re not already a member of the SH&H family, I’d love to have you join me! You’ll not only get email updates, but you’ll have exclusive access to all the bonus materials in my free subscriber-only library, like this:
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