Like every other milestone since March, Halloween 2020 is definitely going to be different. With towns canceling trick-or-treating and the CDC advising against it, we’re all looking for alternatives to make the spooky season fun and safe for kids. The good news? Halloween is on a Saturday this year, which means you can plan Halloween themed and costumed activities all weekend so kids won’t miss going from house to house. Scroll down for these socially-distant safe Halloween ideas, and who knows, after this year, these could become new fall family traditions (silver linings, anyone?)
featured image via @juleswestonphotography
Here Are 7 Ways To Celebrate Halloween Without Trick-Or-Treating
Throw a (Small, Socially-Distant) Halloween Party
Big parties are out of the question, but gathering a few close neighbors or friends in the backyard to show off those costumes and trade pre-made treat bags socially distant style is a safe way to celebrate. You can also make wearing a mask part of the costumes (offer prizes for the most creative Halloween mask for fun). Have the kids get in on the fun by making treat bags for their friends and customizing the candy based on their friends’ favorites. As for the adults, keep it simple with fall-themed pre-bottled beverages (think pumpkin beers or ciders) and pre-portioned individual snacks you make yourself or pick up from a caterer. If it’s chilly, or once the sun sets, you can fire up the firepit and have s’more stations ready to cap off the night.
Plan a Halloween scavenger hunt
While you might not want to go from house to house, you can still have the littles go out for their candy while staying at home. Make a Halloween hunt by doing it Easter egg style—fill these re-usable pumpkins with candy to place in and out of the house. Or for older kids, plan out strategic hiding spots, then print out clues for them to figure out and follow all around outside.
Go all out on making treats
Why should Christmas be the only holiday where you decorate cookies? Set up a Halloween cookie-decorating station in your kitchen with candy corn, Halloween size candies, and seasonal sprinkles, and let the kiddos use pieces to decorate a fresh batch of cookies. Or get in on the board trend, and create a themed sweet-treat board (like the gorgeous one above from Nicki at A Tufted Life) and serve it with the cookies on Halloween eve for a sweet way to celebrate.
Start a neighborhood “BOO”
This anonymous gesture—a friend or family leaves a bag of treats, rings the doorbell, then disappears—can be a thrill for your kids to make and receive one. Put together small games, treats, masks, stickers, and even a bottle of wine for the grownups, as well as a Boo poem explaining how to keep the tradition going with a sign to display that you’ve been “booed.” When it gets dark, set out to deliver the treats to a neighbor or friend, and then ring the doorbell and run (you can also hide nearby to see the reaction when they open the door). And if you hear your doorbell one night at your house, well then—BOO!
Have an outdoor Halloween movie night
If there’s anything that will get kids excited, it’s an outdoor movie night in your backyard. And with so many classic Halloween movies (think Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters, and Goosebumps), you can make October 31st a night at the movies. Check out FunFlicks, which rents inflatable screen and projector for backyard parties and have a few families over. Set up (spaced out) chairs, make up individual snack boxes with popcorn and candy, and have kids wear their costumes while they watch on blankets under the stars.
Haunt your house and take a haunted drive-through tour around town
Just because you’re not trick or treating doesn’t mean you can’t go all-out with decorations. Turn your house into one of the spookiest in the hood and enlist the kids to help you decorate. You can also look for others that are doing the same and map them out for a Halloween eve surprise. That night, pile the kids in the car in their costumes, and drive around stopping by your faves, and vote on the best.
And there’s always virtual
If it turns out to be a crummy day weather-wise or older kids want to try something different, a virtual escape room with the family and friends can turn a night at home into an adventure. Check into ones like Escapology in Garwood, which has a fully immersive virtual option, or book a virtual escape party ahead of time with Escape Room NJ. To make the night feel more festive, have everyone dress in costume while online, and drop off treats ahead of time to enjoy during the game.