COVID-friendly (and fun!) ways to celebrate Halloween this year
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly all elements of our lives, from the way we work to the way we play. It’s also forced us to reimagine how we celebrate. Easter brunches were off the table, as were Fourth of July picnics and parades. Now that we’re entering the holiday season, it’s time to start thinking about how we will celebrate the fall and winter holidays while maintaining social distance.
First up: Halloween. You’d be hard pressed to find a kid who’d give up the annual fright night festivities without a fight — especially with Halloween landing on a Saturday this year. Costumes, candy and carving pumpkins are deep-set traditions that will be hard to break, pandemic or no pandemic. The secret is finding ways to carry on the tradition while keeping your family safe.
Luckily, there are some clever ideas floating around where you can have fun, keep the spooky vibe going, and protect yourself at the same time. Following are some of our favorites.
No-Contact Candy Chute
One clever dad in Ohio devised a way to transfer candy from bowl to bucket minus the pesky contact. He built a festive candy chute that allows him to slide candy down the stairs, directly into a little one’s bucket. You can use PVC pipe or a cardboard roll, and add a little paint and lights to kick it up a notch.
Touchless Candy Table
Avoid the front porch pileup by rethinking how you pass out treats. One idea is to set up folding tables on the front lawn lined with individually-bagged candy. Not only does this prevent unnecessary touching (and subsequent germ spreading), it also encourages social distancing. Another option is setting up a trunk-or-treat station, just make sure to mark your driveway in six-foot sections to keep the little goblins a safe distance apart. Or, you can simply use a long grabber or BBQ tongs to keep the process hands-free.
Halloween Egg Hunt
There’s no reason you can’t hunt for eggs in October! If you prefer to stay within the confines of your own property, why not have a Halloween egg hunt for the kiddos? You can tuck candy and other surprises in plastic eggs and scatter them in and around the house and yard. You can even hide a golden egg, where the finder gets a special prize. Plus, you can get the whole family involved in drawing faces on plastic orange eggs with permanent markers.
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
Why not make your kids work for their candy? Using free online printables, you can set up a scavenger hunt where seekers have to find Halloweeny things, like a black cat or cauldron. Each time someone marks off an item, they get to have a piece of candy. Or, you can do it like Bingo, where the first one to find all in a row or column wins a prize.
Boo Your Neighbors
Rather than trick-or-treating, another option is to get a group of neighbors together to “Boo” one another. Just fill a Halloween bucket with candy and other goodies (think socks, glow sticks or puzzles) and leave it on their front porch. They then return the favor to another unsuspecting boo-ee. For grown-ups, you can “Boo-ze” your friends. The idea is the same but you leave bottles of wine or spirits on each other’s doorsteps.
Spooky Game Night
Having a family game night is a safe (and fun!) way to celebrate Halloween this year. You can play Halloween-centric games like Truth or Scare, Would You Rather, or Halloween Bingo. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can play Pumpkin Patch Stomp, where players have to squash orange balloons with prizes inside, or Pumpkin Bowling.
Outdoor Movie Night
There’s nothing more Octobery than watching a scary movie outside while curled up under a blanket. Depending on the size of your yard, it’s easy to social distance — just space chairs or blankets six feet apart. You can give each moviegoer his or her own bag of popcorn or candy. Some movies to consider for younger children include Casper, Toy Story of Terror and Goosebumps; while older children will love Paranorman, Monster House and Nightmare Before Christmas. Some classics to consider for grown-ups are Psycho, The Birds, The Exorcist and the Shining.