It’s time to start thinking about Halloween!
Will COVID Cancel Halloween?
Last year, many families found ways to safely trick or treat, while others searched for alternative ideas. In most cases, COVID-19 is no reason to cancel Halloween, instead, alter your plans to fit the health and safety precautions for your area.
How to Celebrate Halloween in 2021 During COVID-19
“Halloween is outdoors with masks, right?” asked my friend Brooke. “It might be the most normal thing we do all year.”
We’ve put together a list of Halloween activities sure to provide plenty of hair-raising and eerie delights. Check out more than twenty ways to get spooked and celebrate everyone’s favorite October holiday. Here you’ll find a list of alternative Halloween ideas and the best COVID Halloween activities.
Decorate Your House in a Big Way
Channel your Christmas decorating spirit and celebrate Halloween with pumpkins and lights and other spooky sights. Pick up black, orange, and white lights. Cut out black cats and witches’ hats from construction paper and find some pumpkins for the porch. Get the kids to help craft giant spiders for more spooky decor.
Spooky Halloween Movie Marathon
Toss some candy corn in your popcorn and get ready for spooky stories! Anything from “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” to “Halloween,” you’re the best judge on the level of terror your family can handle. Find some Halloween television episodes to throw in the mix, like the Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episodes. There’s even a super cool mini-figure set for creating your own stop-action episodes.
Monster Mash Halloween Dance Party
Shake your “boo thang” at a Halloween-themed zoom dance party. Learn the dance moves from Micheal Jackson’s “Thriller” or download a spooky playlist to hear some new tunes. Everyone joins in and costumes are a must of course!
Spread some anonymous Halloween cheer with this random act of kindness. Drop a pumpkin spiced treat or something that’s cinnamon and sweet at your neighbor’s front door. This is the act of Booing your Neighbors. Here’s your guide on how to boo someone.
Be your own mad scientist, with potions galore! Use kitchen staples and household items to mix up some Vampire Slime, Frankenstein’s Phlegm, Ghost Rockets, or Pumpkin Playdough. Try combining vinegar and baking soda inside a jack-o-lantern for a fun explosion!
Follow the clues for a treasure hunt, or scour the scene for items featured in a photo scavenger hunt. Walk or drive, make it a competition or work together as a family. You can even bring other neighbors into the hunt. Whatever you do, don’t forget prizes for the winners!
Eerie Egg Hunt: Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt
Who says eggs are only for Easter? Dust off those plastic eggs for double duty this year! You can doodle spooky faces or add Halloween stickers to make them themed, stuff them with candy, and hide them in the yard for a hunt! Try adding glow sticks and egg hunting at night, for extra spookiness in the dark.
Whip up some homemade Halloween treats that are sure to put a spell on you! Find a recipe for Feet-loaf (meatloaf) or Eye-Ball Pasta made with sliced mozzarella, Spider Pizza, or the classic Mummy Dog. You might even try your hand at decorating a gingerbread house styled as a haunted house! The possibilities are endless and sure to delight your bellies. Celebrate all day with savory dishes, sweet treats, and a witches brew with a spooky look. Let your imagination run wild; experiment with cute, creepy, scary, and downright disgusting eats.
Coordinate with your neighborhood and have folks drive by like the Covid-19 birthday parades. Gently throw candy at costumed kids in their yards, like your car is a parade float. This reverse trick-or-treating is a win-win. It keeps the more vulnerable generation and high-risk people from getting too close while still allowing them to enjoy seeing everyone in their costumes, and the kids can still collect ALL THE CANDY!
Social Distanced Trick-or-Treating
If t-or-t isn’t canceled… leave a bowl of candy or a teal pumpkin (and an optional bottle of hand sanitizer) at the end of the driveway and park yourselves on the porch to wave at the kids walking the neighborhood. Social distancing while the kids can still make their rounds.
Coordinate with neighbors and have fire pits, s’mores, and maybe even a scary movie set up via projector. Neighbors can arrange themselves a safe distance from each other, take turns at the campfire telling spooky stories, or enjoy a horror (or not) flick on a home projection set up. This would be great for a cul-de-sac to coordinate.
Stay in your Bubble
If your county is not on “stay-at-home” orders for Halloween, plan a spooky party with those in your bubble…include immediate family or close friends that you have socially engaged with during the lightened restrictions. Keep the shindig to a minimum number of invitees and hold off inviting everyone in your address book.
Plan on visiting lots of TRUNK OR TREAT events. While a lot of churches and community centers host these events every year, most are open and welcoming to the public. Have the trunkers pass out the candy so kids don’t grab it from the bowl. Try setting up a neighborhood Trunk or Treat. Kids can walk the block and homeowners can set up trunk displays in the driveway passing out candy.
Zoom Halloween Parties
- Dress Up and Stay Home
Have a dress-up party via zoom but set a few rules. Pick a theme and everyone’s costumes must fit the theme. What about saying no new store-bought costumes, attendees must find things to use around the house. Bedsheet ghost, anyone? Plan a zoom-like fashion show to show off your creations. Reminisce about past Halloweens and the fun, wacky costumes of your childhood.
- Zoom pumpkin carving/ painting contest
Carve (see what we did there) out a chunk of time and gather remotely with your friends to decorate your pumpkins safe from your own homes. Share ghost stories or play a fun Halloween soundtrack.
Socially Distant Block Party
Plan with a few friends or neighbors to host driveway friendly game or craft station for kids and families to rotate through. Games like the Bozo ball toss, pin the lid on the jack-o-lantern, and ladder ball can be wiped down between families. Set up with quick crafts like a paper bag monster or an edible spooky treat, anything that’s quick and easy for kids of all ages. Clean and sanitize between groups while guests rotate through each driveway.
Mask Up for Halloween
Buy a plain cloth face mask and bust out the glitter, sequins, makers, even tie-dye! Trace frightful shapes or fun patterns. Rock your one-of-a-kind creation every chance you get.
Plan a Bicycle Halloween Costume Parade
If we are back on stay-at-home orders, a socially distant bike parade would be a great way to get the kids out and allow them to show off their costumes. If you plan far enough in advance, you can incorporate a bike, wagon, or wheelchair into the costume. There are some very creative ideas online, like wagons decorated as pirate ships with tiny pirates aboard and bikes that resemble Elliott and E.T. taking flight.
Learn about the usual spooky suspects and creepy critters seen on Halloween decor. Bats, spiders, and owls, oh my! Reading, watching, and crafting these creatures will make them less frightful. You can even find a local animal company that brings creatures to birthday parties and set them up for a driveway show.
No need to stick to the traditional Americanized Halloween, instead, branch out and celebrate like children in other countries. Discover the importance of Día de Muertos in Mexico or indulge in the Chinese day of Yu Lan. Many countries around the world have celebrations on October 31st and you can broaden your horizons and celebrate with them. Learn how to cook or bake traditional foods, make crafts and learn about other cultures.
Halloween Pumpkin Patch
Traditional pumpkin patches may still be open for fresh pumpkin picking and some may even have their fall festivals. The pumpkin patch places we love are running at a smaller capacity and require a reservation, so be sure to plan ahead.
Drive-thru, contact-free Halloween options are popping up around the country and everyone is flocking to them. Seek out “haunted roads” or “drive-thru haunted houses.” Remember all the light and music displays you can drive through at Christmas? There are Halloween versions, too! Drive-in theaters are playing old Halloween movies and drive-thru trick-or-treat spots are popping in parking lots. Watch local activities calendars in your area and see if these are options.
Halloween with kids is all about what you make of it. Keep a couple of these ideas bookmarked and you will be prepared for anything! These ideas would be so fun to incorporate into your normal annual Halloween traditions, as well as keep everyone relatively safe during these uncertain times. No matter what you have planned, have a spookily good time and stay positive. Kids will be sure to remember the fun and not what they may have missed out on.