Halloween is quickly creeping up on us. Before we know it, it will be knocking at the door asking for candy. Only this year, with the Covid-19 pandemic, we may not be able to deliver. The CDC has recommended against trick-or-treating in order to prevent further spread of the disease, so this year celebrations are going to look a little different.
But don’t despair! Halloween is about more than getting obscene amounts of candy (though your children may disagree). Your family can still have a spooky, fun-filled night together if you’re willing to put some time, energy, and creativity into it. And remember–your children look to you to know how to react to things that are different or difficult, so be sure to have a positive attitude about this year’s non-traditional, non-ideal Halloween.
If you’re ready to party like it’s 2019 (because, let’s face it, it was so much better then), check out the following ideas for inspiration on how to make this Halloween one for the record books.
Go All Out on Decorations
With the money you’ll save not buying candy for every kid in the neighborhood, you can up your decoration game and add a few (or more) items to your collection. Try transforming a room or section of your house into a haunted graveyard, witch’s lair, medieval dungeon, or mad scientist’s lab. Or, if that feels like too much work, simply fill your space with every Halloween-themed decoration you can find to set the scene for whatever fun shenanigans the night has in store for you.
You can also find some spooky tunes online to play in the background as mood music. If you or your child are a Harry Potter fan, the movie soundtracks are a great option. Or you could create your own playlist with songs like “Thriller,” “Monster Mash,” and “Superstitious.” Any song that sounds haunting or creepy will work!
Prepare a Halloween-Inspired Feast
No matter what else you do on Halloween night, you have to eat dinner. So why not get creative with it and prepare a feast of gruesome grub the whole family will enjoy? A quick search on Pinterest will yield all kinds of delicious and devilish recipes, from severed finger hot dogs and spider cheeseballs to bacon-wrapped mummy meatloaf and graveyard taco dip. Whatever you choose, your kids will get a kick out of eating it. They may even ask to help you prepare it as well!
Oh, and don’t forget to include a Halloween-inspired drink to accompany your feast! It’s easy; just fill a punch bowl with your favorite concoction, add some floating plastic eyeballs, and you’re all set.
Organize a Coronavirus Friendly Candy Hunt
While it’s true Halloween isn’t only about the candy, it’s definitely an important part. So with trick-or-treating off the table, you’ll have to look for other ways to provide your children with the sugar high they expect on October 31st. Try taking a page from a very different holiday by having a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt. If you can’t find glow-in-the-dark eggs, you can paint regular plastic eggs with glow-in-the-dark paint. Then fill them up with your kids’ favorite candy, hide them in the yard, and let them fill their buckets and bags just as they would if they were trick-or-treating.
If you’d rather keep the festivities indoors, try designing a scavenger hunt with fun clues that will lead your children to the candy stash of their dreams. You can make the clues rhyme or create a ghoulish theme for the hunt, depending on your children’s ages and your energy level. The important part is to be creative and make it fun!
Don’t Skip the Costumes
Besides the candy, every kid’s favorite part of Halloween is getting to dress up. But without the excuse of trick-or-treating to show off their costumes, you may think they’ll have to miss out on that tradition this year. Not so! If your children are all about the costumes, find opportunities to let them wear their getups throughout the month. Running a quick errand? Let him go as Superman! Playing at the park? Bust out her Elsa dress! And on Halloween day, let costumes be worn from breakfast to bedtime.
Share your costumes with friends and family via a virtual Halloween costume contest. It’s a great way to stay connected and have fun dressing up even when you’re staying home./
Another way to give your child’s costume its moment of glory is to set up a miniature photo shoot in your home. You can buy a Halloween-themed backdrop to complete the effect, blast some spooky music to set the mood, and channel your inner fashion photographer. If your child isn’t too shy, she’ll love being in the spotlight and getting into character for the camera. Bonus: You’ll get some cute, frame-worthy photos out of it!
Have a Scary Movie Marathon
If you have older kids or if money is tight, try having a scary movie marathon. There are creepy, scary, or horror-filled movies out there for every age and fear tolerance level, so choose ones that best fit your group. Whatever film you select, don’t forget the treats! Candy is always a good option, but if you’re looking for more family bonding opportunities outside of movie watching, you can bake Halloween-themed sugar cookies ahead of time and decorate them as a family before your movie screening. Cupcakes are also a great choice, and they can easily be decorated to look like Frankenstein, ghosts, spiders, or pumpkins.
Lay a large blanket on the floor in front of the TV and let your kids eat as they watch. They’ll love being able to break the no-food-outside-of-the-kitchen rule. Little things like that can make an ordinary movie night a special memory they won’t forget. Then add some Halloween decorations around the room–like fake cobwebs draped over the TV and some tombstones on the floor around you–and you’ll have the perfect chill(ing) night in.
“Boo” Your Friends and Family
If you don’t know what it means to “boo” someone, just think “doorbell ditch.” After you’ve decided on a few friends or close-by family members to “boo,” simply prepare a treat of some sort; include a note (anonymous or not) that says, “You’ve been booed!”; leave it on their doorstep; ring the bell; and then run for your life.
When times are tough, it always helps to forget yourself and do something nice for someone else. So in addition to being a fun way to spend time as a family, delivering treats to others can be a sort of learning experience for your children. If they’re having trouble with this weird time we’re living in now, doorbell ditching treats could be a great distraction and maybe even a reminder that even though life is turned upside down, we can still have fun and make good memories.
Have a Family Game Night
If you have a game playing family, consider making Halloween a special game night. Whip up some Halloween-themed snacks, put on some spooky music, and let the games begin! If you’re looking for board games to fit the tone of the night, Clue, Betrayal At House On The Hill, and 13 Dead End Drive are all great family-friendly options.
If board games aren’t your cup of tea, you could set up several carnival-style games to play instead. Young kids would enjoy pin the spider on the web, while older kids could play pumpkin ring toss (as long as the pumpkins have good, long stems). Or, if you’re willing to part with some of the toilet paper you’ve been hoarding, you could have a mummy rolling contest or try your hand at ghost and pumpkin bowling. A small pumpkin can be used as a ball, and toilet paper rolls can be drawn with ghost faces and used as pins.
Have a Murder Mystery Night
If your children are older, a murder mystery may be the perfect way to get them involved in Halloween frivolity. It’s a fun way for everyone to dress up and get involved without feeling juvenile. The internet is filled with free murder mystery games that sport all different types of themes, from the jazz age to the wild west or the mafia.
You could even create your own murder mystery if you’re feeling ambitious. Perhaps you could try a 2020 theme, in which everyone tries to solve the mystery of who poisoned this year. (If you figure it out, let me know. I have some choice words for them.) Whatever mystery you choose to solve, be sure to accompany the game with a Halloween-inspired feast for added fun.
Whatever you choose to do on Halloween night, the most important things to do are stay safe and enjoy being with your family. These weird pandemic holiday celebrations are ones you–and your children–will never forget. So make sure to start this holiday season with a bang and make this Coronavirus Halloween unforgettable in a good way!