How to Create Hair-Raising Halloween Fun: A You’ve Been Booed Neighborhood Gifting Game

you've been booed neighborhood gifting game

A slight chill is in the air. Pumpkins are creatively perched on porches all over town. And though remaining socially distant, the neighborhood candy collectors will soon be dressed to thrill, safely hitting the streets on their sweet mission to fill their sacks all the way to the tippy top. From princess to pirate, minion to mermaid, as kids young and old eagerly anticipate the big night, the question of the season remains, “What are you going to be for Halloween?”

Halloween only rolls around once a year, so as you contemplate this difficult decision, get your friends, family, and your entire community, ready for the celebration in a way that’s super thoughtful, generous, and a little bit on the sneaky side…

How To Boo Friends and Family

you've been booed cheat sheet

Spread a little “Boo” this Halloween with a friendly scare for your neighbors. A You’ve Been Boo’ed fall-themed treat exchange is a fantastic way to bring everyone together in spooky spirit!

Never been “boo’ed?” Here’s how it works: Your family is assigned to another family in your neighborhood. You gather a little basket of Halloween goodies and secretly leave it on your neighbor’s porch, with a note letting them know they’ve been boo’ed—but don’t let them know you were ever there. This free printable card from Elfster will do the trick.

Using an online Gift Exchange website or app like Elfster makes it even easier to get your family and friends inspired for a little hair-raising fun, and helps keep it a secret and your family safe. If your neighborhood has a master list of everyone’s email addresses, it’s a quick and easy way to make sure you include everyone in the fun. Each family participating in the neighborhood “boo-ing” will be assigned one other family they may or may not know, which makes it even better, and a great icebreaker for newcomers to the neighborhood. Be sure to invite older neighbors, too—they may not have trick-or-treaters at home anymore, but it’s still fun to join in the neighborhood escapades!

Ideas to include in your ‘You’ve Been Boo’ed’ invitation:

Please answer the following questions and post them so the person that gets you knows a bit more about your family. This is going to be lots of fun!

1. Does anyone in your family have a peanut allergy?

2. How many kids do you have age, and their gender?

3. Any favorite candies?

4. Your family’s favorite movies or characters?

5. Do you have a favorite color?

6. Make it spooky or keep it cartoonish?

Please add anything else you think is important. You will deliver your “boo” personally, and let the organizer know once you have done so. 

With rules and expectations clearly defined, let the “booing” begin!

you've been booed decorations
Put some scare in your neighborhood! | Image courtesy Amazon

If you’d like to do a Big Boo Reveal Party, gather all the neighbors, even if they didn’t participate, for a festive Zoom call, including a virtual costume parade. Ask around the group to find your secret “boo’er” to say thanks.

A You’ve Been Boo’ed gift exchange is a great way to celebrate Halloween as a community and keeping each other safe. If you’re looking for ideas to spooky up your Halloween, be sure to check out Elfster’s Eat, Drink and Be Scary gift guide for some festive fun.

Want to include friends that don’t live in your neck of the woods? It’s just as easy to gather the gang online for your own secret Halloween Gift Exchange. It may just require a little extra driving, or shipping, but it will be well worth the effort.

And why not share some scare with your co-workers, too! Here’s what Elfster exchange organizer Leah Cappadona and her co-workers made their Halloween even more spooky:

“We are an all female group of nurses who work in a cancer center together,” Leah says. “We spend more time together than with our families, so we see each other as extended families. With the nature of our work, and the fact that there can be ten women working in one room at the same time, our work days can be stressful and tense.”

“Once names are drawn, each week ‘Boo Buddies’ will leave a small surprise on their chosen person’s desk,” Leah explains. “A piece of candy, a Halloween Card, or sometimes we decorate the nurses desk and computer with fake spider webs. One year, one of the nurses hid a fake rubber rat on her person’s chair. We like to be goofy and have fun with it. During our Halloween ‘party,’ we will each bring pot luck to the office and eat throughout the day. We all have patients at different times, so an actual party is not really possible. We keep it casual with a constant flow of food and people. Our Gift Exchange and “Boo Buddy Reveal” is usually food influenced. We all wish we could go back to the days of trick-or-treating. This is a great way to give a treat of a gift certificate to a restaurant, or a bottle of wine.”

“It really gives all of us something to look forward to, and an opportunity to not be so serious, loosen up, and really connect like the extended family we are,” she adds. Thanks for letting Elfster be a part of your festivities, Leah!

So now that You’ve Been Boo’ed, time to get prepped for the scariest Halloween ever! Explore Elfster’s Halloween guides for the ultimate inspiration, including super cute costumes for kids and pets. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Check us out on Facebook, Twitter @Elfster, and Instagram @Elfster. Need help? Send us a message at

About Meghan L 165 Articles
Meghan L has been elfing it since she joined the team in 2009. She enjoys coordinating exchanges, talking to organizers, and all things Christmas. Join her for an eggnog latte anytime at