Halloween isn’t cancelled, but it will look fairly different this year. With the pandemic and social distancing guidelines in place, many families are wondering how they’re going to navigate the fun of Halloween.
Families choosing to stay home this Halloween can still have plenty of spooky fun! Many parents may not feel comfortable with trick-or-treating or other Halloween traditions that typically involve large gatherings, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative at home!
New traditions can be forged as a result of these strange new limitations, and they may be ones that we keep long after our physical distancing period is over!
A bit of creativity and connection can go a long way towards keeping your night spooky and fun. Families will conduct activities for kids at home, such as hiding candy around the house and instead of going to people’s homes, parents will decorate their cars and take their kids to parade parties.
Children will probably not be too upset or even notice that they’re not going door-to-door, but you still want to make some fun memories for this socially distant Halloween.
I asked a few knowledgable parents, bloggers, and child development experts about their thoughts on socially distant Halloween tips and activities and here were some great ideas:
1. First Things First, Set Boundaries
We have been advised to live our lives in smaller groups, and when it comes to Halloween, that is no different. This means that you may have to set some firm, but kind, boundaries with your children. Consider travelling with just your immediate family – or with a small group of friends that are within your bubble.
It might feel different, but smaller groups also allow for greater feelings of intimacy and connection and can help to create lasting memories. -Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, a Life360 Family Expert.
2. Make your house a minimal contact “trick or treat zone”
There are some incredibly creative ways that families have altered their Halloween plans to accommodate social distancing. Take a stroll through Pinterest and you will see candy-slides, tube contraptions, and more!
It can be as simple as setting up a table on your driveway with a bowl of candy and then sitting six feet away in order to greet your neighborhood trick-or-treaters. You can also just leave your bowl of candy out on the doorstep and watch from the window as the kids pass by.
Also, the CDC has stated that there should be only individually-wrapped goodie or candy bags given out to kids. This will decrease the chances of risk and getting infected by direct contact.
3. Have a Family Game Night
Try staying home and playing fun, Halloween themed games as a family, like the ones below.
Halloween Matching Game
This game of Halloween charades is perfect for the older kids and also getting your kids moving and laughing!
4. Reach Out to Loved Ones
For many extended family members, the holiday season is one of uncertainty. For those who are immunocompromised or are at risk of complications, there may not be an option to join their family for trick-or-treating. Make a point of connecting with those friends and family members during these significant holidays.
Send a video or pictures of your children in costumes. If you’re local, drop off a surprise “trick-or-treat” gift on their doorstep, or make a point of starting the evening at their home so that you can safely trick or treat from their doorstep.
Make sure that your friends and family are still wrapped up in your family tradition so that they can feel connected during these holiday events. -Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, a Life360 Family Expert
5. Play Some Backyard Games
Stay home and play some traditional games like apple bobbing and pin the broom on the witch. – Chelsea from Nesting Naturally
Have a balloon popping contest! Stuff miniature candy pieces into orange balloons, tie them, and add a green ribbon. Place outside like a pumpkin patch and have kids sit on top of them to try and pop them. Whoever pops the most gets the most candy!
6. Organize a Halloween Costume Competition
Costumes and competitions are two things most kids love. Organize a competition or a fashion show in your family. Assign prizes for those that come up with the coolest halloween costume.
Help your kids in deciding on what they want to dress up as and then work with them on making their costume.This could be done by repurposing old dresses and costumes.
Organizing a fancy costume is definitely going to keep your kids occupied and excited. You could also involve your neighbors and other families if you are comfortable stepping out. Just ensure that you are practicing distancing rules!
Try a mini parade so each family can showcase their costumes to all the families participating while driving through would be a lot of fun and safe. – Amy Duncan from Kind Mommy
7. Watch a Halloween Movie as a Family
8. Make Spooky Sensory Bins
9. Incorporate Masks
Encourage your child to dress up as something/someone who wears a mask. This makes it so mask wearing is more fun! – Taylor Cutchen from My Barnwood Frames
10. Have a Haunted Halloween Hunt
Think Easter but for Halloween celebrations. Get parents of younger children and turn your house or backyard into a Fun-O-Ween.
Before the hunt, do a fun activity like have them decorate their pumpkins or candy hunt bags. Use markers, glitter, and stickers to keep it a low-stress mess. Dress your little ones up in their costumes and let them hunt for treasures hidden in the backyard. – Katie Cunningham from Lyfetymes and Hostessy
11. Host a Spooky Halloween Scavenger Hunt
This is great for the 6+ group, but scavenger hunts are fun for everyone. The most important thing to pulling off a Halloween scavenger hunt is to have everything planned and ready ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is be scrambling for things to hide. Think of clues, prizes, and hiding places. Include a couple of your neighbors in on the fun.
First things first, let’s start with the clues. Coming up with clues is my favorite part of a scavenger hunt. The clues are what make the hunt thrilling. You can get creative and come up with your own clues or Pickle Bums has some fun ones you can download and print for free. Be mindful that your clues have to coordinate with your hiding spot, so make sure you know where you will be hiding clues and prizes.
It’s not a treasure hunt if there’s no treasure! If you decided to go with small Halloween themed prizes that were easy to hide with each clue and also fun to find. If your kids won’t be going trick or treating this year you can grab some sweets for them to find, but if you want to avoid giving them sugar check out these fun Halloween toys. I found these neat treasure chest boxes for the larger prizes that you can reuse.
Good Hiding Spots
Whether you are planning a scavenger hunt for the whole neighborhood or a quick indoor “skeleton race” around the house it’s important to plan a good hiding spot. This is where creativity comes in.
To help plan this ultimate Halloween hunt in the simplest way possible using the LYFETYMES app. Created an event like the “Spooky Halloween Hunt” and sent it out to your neighbors that wanted to participate. Neighbors will RSVP to the scavenger hunt and leave comments saying where they were hiding the prizes and add a picture of what prize they were going to be hiding. This is really helpful for creating clues. – Katie Cunningham from Lyfetymes and Hostessy
For the little ones (toddlers and preschoolers), download these printable Halloween Scavenger hunts too.
13. Halloween Trunk Party
We’ve all seen the drive-by parade celebrations, so why not have a drive-by trunk-or-treat? This is a great idea to keep kids from gathering around your front door. To set up, park your car in your driveway and add some fun Halloween decor like spiders and webs to your car or go nuts by decorating your porch.
Set up a lawn chair and enjoy all the costumes that come by and can say hi and wave from a socially safe place. You can also get your neighbors in on the fun and coordinate a neighborhood Drive-by trick or treat and a specific time. – Katie Cunningham from Lyfetymes and Hostessy
14. Neighborhood “Spooky Hollow” Drive-Thru
This works great with a community type Neighborhood. You “drive thru” a Halloween experience. Each family that wants to participate contributes a certain amount – for easy calculation $10 a kid.
A few neighborhood rock stars take the reigns. They select a pickup station at the designated park or location and the parents drive, bike, walk kids to the location. They will decorate a ‘drive-thru experience’ (could be a rented tent, front yard decorated), organize and pack the “ghoul bags”, play some music, and keep things safe and organized.
15. Neighborhood Driveway Halloween Table Contest
This is a great option to ditch the communal candy bowels and get the family in on some competitive action to show some Halloween spirit! Every house participating sets up a decorated themed table where trick or treaters can have some socially distanced fun, pick up a candy bag while keeping the contact to a minimum. Designate a neighborhood judging team that gives out an annual traveling trophy to the family with the best table! – Katie Cunningham from Lyfetymes and
16. Head to a Pumpkin Farm
This is an excellent way to stay safe and enjoy the outdoors. Look at the huge variety of pumpkins, like sweet dumpling, kabocha, Jack-be-Little to name a few. Go with other friends and family too because being outdoors during social distancing is indispensable to stay healthy while having fun with friends. – Balint Horvath, PhD from Project Father
17. Decorate your Home for Onlookers
Don’t skimp on the outdoor decorations just because Halloween is a bit different this year. It’s actually all the more reason to deck out your house because checking out decorations from a car may be the only thing that some kids get to experience this Halloween!
One super easy activity that we’ve really enjoyed this Halloween season is creating fun paper Halloween decorations to put in our front windows using construction paper. It’s great fun for the kids and they love connecting with our neighbors through their cool designs that are visible to passersby.
Using construction paper, the kids have created ghosts, pumpkins, and bats and have put them in the front windows of our home. – Erin Reeder The Incremental Mama
18. Make Halloween Treats Together
A great tradition to start is to make Halloween treats as a family. They can be healthy Halloween snacks or indulgent treats.
Using an at-home baking kit with your little ones is a great family activity that kids love. With the Halloween baking kit from Eat Your Words, it’s not just about Halloween cooking for kids and making spooky cookies. It’s a wonderful way of spending time with the family, building life skills in an informal way, without having to worry about the mess.
Enjoy homemade Halloween-themed cookies and Halloween baking treats with Eat Your Words. Decorate your Halloween sugar cookies with your little one and then gather ‘round and have quality family time with your family while you eat.
With Eat Your Words kits, you get a complete baking experience without the usual accompanying hassle. No searching for recipes, shopping, or measuring. Just pure fun!
Also, some fun recipes to try on your own are Spooky Popcorn Balls and Mummy Oreos. They are a quick and easy treat that the whole family can help with! Check out these other healthy Halloween snacks and treats, as well.
19. Have an indoor Halloween Party with Close Family or Friends
You can still make a Halloween party fun with a small group of people.
- Have Halloween music and videos playing in the background.
- Do indoor Trick or Treating for each room in your house. Decorate each door differently and have the adults in different rooms. They’ll hand out the candy as the kids knock on doors to trick or treat.
- Do pumpkin carving and painting for the little ones.
- For the backyard, put up a big screen and have a projector and show kid friendly Halloween movies.
- Hot Dogs and S’mores on the fire pit
- Costume Dance Party.
- When the party is done, give everyone a Halloween Grab Bag filled with $1 store goods, crafts, stickers and of course candy.
I hope you and your family have a safe and socially distant Halloween this year! Don’t forget to get dressed up, decorate, and make new memories that will last a lifetime. For more ideas on how to have a safe and socially distant Halloween, check them out here!