2020 has handed us its fair share of tricks, but despite an already scary year, we can still safely celebrate Halloween with kids. Since trick or treating is considered a risky pandemic activity, here are some safer alternatives to help keep spooky season fun. Who knows? This year’s creative take on Halloween might even end up being the most unforgettable one of all.
Decorate Spooky Treats
What’s Halloween without sweets? Skip the packaged candy and try decorating your own Halloween cakes or cupcakes with the kids. Frostbox delivers everything you need with decorate-it-yourself Halloween cake kits – no baking required. And if you live in Southern California, Duff’s Cakemix is a kid-friendly DIY cake decorating studio that takes reservations in advance. To host a small cupcake decorating party with family or friends, buy plain white frosted cupcakes and set out edible googly eyes, Halloween sprinkles, black sanding sugar, spider cutouts – whatever you’d like! Just make sure each kid has his own sprinkles and supplies. And if you don’t want to trick out your own treats, head over to Krispy Kreme – throughout the month of October they have the cutest scary-sweet monster donuts with easy delivery, pickup, or drive-thru in some locations.
Pumpkin Decorating Party
If weather permits in your neck of the woods, now is the perfect time to host a no carve pumpkin decorating party outdoors. All you need is mini pumpkins, some art supplies, and lots of creativity! Think outside the box with tempera paint, washi tape, markers, Sharpies, glow-in-the-dark puffy paint, glitter pens, and fabric strips to make mummy pumpkins. You can even wrap pumpkins in lace for effortlessly elegant fall decor. Just don’t forget the stick-on googly eyes – they make everything a lot more fun!
Halloween Care Packages
Go trick or treating in spirit with loved ones who live far away. Whether you have friends or relatives across the country or in the next town, sending surprise Halloween care packages is a sweet way to say “Boo, we’re thinking of you!” from a distance. Your candy care packages can include Halloween crafts, books, stickers, decor, hand-drawn art, and of course any sweet treat that won’t melt in transit.
Halloween Morning Zoom Puppet Show
The fun starts early on Halloween – 10:30am Pacific Time, to be exact! Bob Baker Marionette Theater, a decades-old Los Angeles treasure, will digitally delight little goblins and ghouls this year with its seasonal show, HaLLoWe’eN SpoOkTaCuLaR – on Zoom! This cute-but-not-creepy celebration of all things Halloween features sweet puppet spooks like Dracula, the Purple People Eater, and even some tap-dancing jack-o-lanterns. Tickets for the Bob Baker Zoom show are just $10 and must be reserved in advance.
Kid-Friendly Spooky Movie Night
Nothing captures October excitement like a “scary” movie marathon at home. Need family-friendly Halloween movie picks? Try Curious George: A Halloween Boo-Fest or Super Monsters Save Halloween for preschoolers and Hotel Transylvania, Hocus Pocus or A Nightmare Before Christmas for older kids. If you have a movie projector and space to spread out in the yard, an outdoor Halloween movie night (with costumes of course!) could be just the ticket to celebrate safely with a small group of friends. Instead of trick or treating, you can give each moviegoer a goodie bag with individually wrapped popcorn, candy and treats.
Drive-By Costume Parade
2020 has ushered in new traditions, like drive-by birthday celebrations to mark milestones in a socially distanced way. Why not plan a creepy costume crawl with classmates or pandemic pods as well? It’s a fun and easy way to see friends, check out each other’s costumes, and wave from afar. Carve out a time, send digital invitations, blast some Halloween music and hand out sweet treats through car windows, if you’d like. And if your street permits, friends can even park and hop out for a spaced-out neighborhood costume parade, all while dancing to Monster Mash.
Reverse Trick or Treating
Think of it like the opposite of trick or treating — instead of going door to door collecting candy from strangers, you’re visiting family and friends to drop off some fun. Deliver pre-assembled treat bags and Halloween crafts to cousins or anyone who’s part of your quarantine squad – dressed in costume, of course! The beauty of this is that it doesn’t have to wait until Halloween night. You can coordinate reverse trick or treat outings in the days leading up to Halloween, too. Talk about squad ghouls.
Mind Your Mask
This might come as a surprise, but this year, we can’t rely on costume masks for protection. Per the CDC, costume masks are NOT adequate substitutes for the cloth masks meant to guard against COVID-19. They also recommend that costume masks not be worn over cloth masks, because double masking in this way can make breathing difficult. Try to find a costume that can be worn with a cloth mask for children over the age of 2 – and save the plastic face coverings for next year.
Spooky Scavenger “Haunt” at Home
Nothing is 100% safe this year, except for celebrating exclusively at home. If you’re planning to stay put this Halloween, you can still make it fun for little ones with a haunted treasure hunt. Hide Halloween treats, mini pumpkins and other surprises throughout the house and leave simple hints to lead them on their way. Grown-ups can join in on the fun with costumes and silly hats too – because let’s face it, is there anything more giggle-inducing than mom, dad, grandma or grandpa decked out in Halloween gear?
Virtual Halloween Party
By now, kids in kindergarten and above are familiar with video conferencing tools like Zoom. Preserve some of that spooky spirit by letting your child host a virtual Halloween party in lieu of getting together in person with friends. Kids come dressed up, listen to Halloween music, play games, take turns reading spooky stories – whatever they choose to do, they’ll love connecting with their friends on Halloween, even if it’s through the computer screen.
Open Air Halloween Events
From drive-thru haunted houses to jack-o-lantern festivals, plenty of cities throughout the country are hosting car-friendly and walkthrough Halloween events. Be sure to check for terror-ific ideas on safe open air Halloween happenings in your area.
Get Spirited at Home
From Halloween pajamas to dollar store decor, we still plan to resurrect a few of our Halloween traditions from years past. As the big day nears, you can surprise little ones with scary good snack spreads, too. Keep it simple — think banana ghosts with chocolate chip eyes, or sandwich cookie spiders with pretzel stick legs and edible googly eyes. If you have a steady hand, you can even drizzle cobwebs on pancakes with chocolate syrup and place a gummy spider on top. Since all kids love sinking their teeth into creepy treats, a little effort goes a long way. Bone appétit!
2020 might feel like all tricks and no treats, but pandemic Halloween isn’t cancelled after all. It’s just a little different – and maybe a bit sweeter and more memorable, too.