Like most things impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween may look a little different this year. Cases are still climbing in many areas, and that’s giving families and babysitters doubts about being able to trick or treat safely. Most parents still plan to celebrate Halloween this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be taking the kids around the block for traditional trick-or-treating. They’re looking for alternatives to trick-or-treating, either by having a creative celebration at home or organizing parades or other neighborhood events.
To get some ideas on clever ways to celebrate, we spoke with parents around the country to see what fun activities they’re planning to make Halloween magical while still keeping pandemic precautions in mind.
1. Create a “haunted” egg hunt
Egg hunts are a popular way to celebrate Easter. Why not replicate the idea with a Halloween twist? Jeena Morgan, a mum of five, says she’s planning to send her kids on a “haunted hunt” for candy if it isn’t safe enough to trick or treat. “It will be like an Easter egg hunt, but with scary music and spooky stuff, followed by a scary movie and popcorn afterwards,” she says.
This idea can work for single families staying home, or it can be a way to allow neighborhood trick-or-treaters to stop at your house for candy while still maintaining social distance. “Scatter the eggs on your lawn, and kids can respectfully pick up one or two,” explains Kim O’Neill, a mum of one.
2. Organize a parade of costumes
For kids, costumes are a major part of any Halloween celebration, and it’d be seriously disappointing if they didn’t get to show off their new Paw Patrol mask or fake mermaid tail. The solution? “Have a parade of costumes. Then we all buy our own candy to enjoy,” says Angela O’Brien, a mum of two.
The parade can be organized with kids and babysitters in the same neighborhood or apartment complex, and they can stay socially distanced while they march down a safe, designated route. Parents can play music, blow bubbles and wave glow sticks. There are a million ways to customize the event for your specific area and needs.
3. Have a neighborhood decorating contest
This may be the perfect year to go all out creating that front lawn fake graveyard or making the door of your apartment look like the entrance to a haunted mansion. Terra Lindquist, a mum of three, suggests communities go all out and then tour the neighborhood to check out one another’s handiwork. “It can be like looking at Christmas lights, but with Halloween decor,” she notes.
Families can check out the decorations while driving around and sipping pumpkin spice lattes or hot chocolate, or they can take a socially distanced walk to see it all. Social media tools like Facebook or NextDoor could even be used to vote on the best decorations.
4. Do a Halloween door drop
Skip the door-to-door trick-or-treating and deliver Halloween goody baskets to your closest family or friends instead. “I’m going to put together little treat baskets with candy, a card and some cute Halloween trinkets to leave on people’s doorsteps,” says Mary Shelton, a mum of two. “It’s something I’ve done occasionally during other years, but this year, it seems like the safest way to share treats.”
The baskets can include items like glow sticks, silly glasses, favorite candies or kid-made crafts. You could even do a themed basket with popcorn, movie theater-style boxes of candy and a spooky DVD or a gift card to purchase a movie from a streaming service. The gifts don’t have to be extravagant, and you can make a small list of people who’ll receive them. The idea is just to create a simple surprise that brightens the Halloween season for the ones you wish you could celebrate with.
5. Host a bubble party
Hosting a bustling party may not be safe right now, but you can still party with the people in your house or with the other people in your quarantine bubble. “I’m having an immediate family-only Halloween party,” says Kirsten Garrett Hill, a mum of three. “It will have dancing, lots of food and a costume contest. Also, I will have different candy stations around the house so the kids can still trick or treat.”
While it’s true that Halloween won’t be “normal” this year, there are so many ways to update existing traditions and experience the joy of the holiday. With a little creativity, the spookiest day of the year can still be an exciting celebration that brings families, friends and neighbors together, even while they’re standing at least six feet apart.
Our top tips for a safe Halloween 2020
- Wear a costume with mask and gloves.
- Always put the collecting basket in front of your neighbors’ doors, step back and let the neighbor put the sweets in it.
- It is essential to wash and disinfect your hands after the trick-or-treating round.
- Let the collected sweets lie for about one week until your family can eat them (so that any viruses can die).
Further helpful articles:
- What’s safe for families to do—and not—during the coronavirus outbreak?
- Your coronavirus questions, answered: What seniors and their caregivers need to know
- School’s out for COVID-19: How parents are navigating the impending child care crisis
- How to talk to kids about coronavirus
- 7 ways parents can manage anxiety amid Covid