By Tracey Dowdy
By most accounts, Halloween is 2020’s latest victim. The CDC has posted their Holiday Celebration guidelines to recommend that you not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters. Some areas have canceled trick or treating because of the pandemic.
Whether you’ve decided not to trick or treat because you don’t feel comfortable with the possibility of exposing your family or even if that decision has been made for you, there are still safe ways to have fun with your little monsters on Halloween.
Boo your friends.
Instead of going to a friend’s or a neighbor’s house to get candy, drop off some treats! Choose mini pumpkins, Halloween decorations, stickers, pencils, packaged candy, or treats. Do a quick ding dong dash and leave the surprise at their door. You can make it an anonymous note and encourage them to pass the fun along to others. *Note, some people are wary of home-baked goods right now, so stick to pre-packaged items if you’re unsure.
Go on a ghost hunt.
Ever been on a ghost hunt? Sound too scary? Not if you put a twist on an Easter Egg hunt and instead hide little ghosts around your house. Wrap candy or other Halloween themed treats in tissue paper, gather it around the candy or prize, tie it with a little orange ribbon, and draw a friendly little ghost face on it. Double the fun by turning down the lights and searching with a flashlight or adding glowsticks to the “ghost’s” hiding place.
Go on a spooky scavenger hunt.
Instead of going house to house, hide treats and prizes around your home, outside, or at a nearby trail. Give your little goblin clues and help them search for the items. If you’re searching in the dark, inexpensive glow sticks go a long way in making the hunt more fun.
Host a virtual Halloween party.
Though the thought of anything involving screen time may make you scream, a virtual Halloween party can help fill in some of the socialization and unstructured friend-time your little witch or wizard is missing. Coordinate with family or friends, wear costumes, and have a “best costume” contest, do a Halloween themed craft, decorate cookies, carve pumpkins, or even watch a spooky movie “together.” Here’s a list of age-appropriate choices.
Do a trick or treat drive-by – think of it as reverse trick or treating.
Instead of kids going house to house, talk to your neighbors about setting a specific time for kids to wait in their front yards and have adults drive by and gently toss candy or treat bags to them.
Tell ghost stories.
Remember being at camp when you were a kid, sitting around a fire, telling ghost stories? Recreate that feeling around a fire pit or even a flashlight. Tell your favorite – age-appropriate obviously – spooky or silly Halloween stories, and encourage your littles to make one up to share too. Drink some apple cider, eat caramel apples, or dip into your candy stash, and have a good old’ device-free frighteningly good time.
Halloween will certainly be different for little ones this year, but remember, your children mirror your attitudes. If you complain and mope about Halloween being ruined this year, your kids will pick up on that and have a miserable evening. If however, you decide that different can still be fun, there’s no end to the memories you can make.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.