The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.Paula Guran, Bram Stoker Award Winner
Like everything about 2020, celebrating Halloween is bound to be different this year. With social distancing and pandemic precautions in place, many of our favorite Halloween activities may be considered unsafe. Bobbing for apples? Not this year…Though it raises eyebrows as to how this was ever considered “safe” from germs.
So, how do you have a fun Halloween that is still safe and socially distanced? With a little “witchful” thinking, careful planning, a few creative ideas, and virtual invitations, you can have a playful, worry-free Halloween party. Here’s how to creep it real – safely!
For many families, half the fun of Halloween is grabbing a plastic pumpkin (or pillow case, in the old days) and wandering through the neighborhoods in search of treats. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating isn’t recommended. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t have just as much fun from home! Here’s how to pull off trick-or-treating at home.
Host Your Trick-or-Treating at Home
Hunting for candy at home can be just as fun as around the neighborhood. Make this year extra special by decorating each door of the house with a different Halloween theme. Want help with the decorating? This a great way to get the kids involved in the festivities (and keep them busy) all October long. Try one (or all!) of these spooky ideas:
- Decorate the doors in colorful fabric, crepe paper streamers, construction paper pumpkins, scarecrows, or Halloween cutouts.
- String orange and purple lights around the door frames.
- Tack an envelope on each door filled with Halloween-themed trivia questions. Here’s one: Did you know that for Halloween 2020, there will be a full moon in the sky? (2020 just keeps getting creepier.)
- Create a fun and simple Halloween scenario behind each door.
- At each door, pull a question from the envelope. A correct answer awards permission to open the door and reveal what’s inside. Bonus points if you can get unsuspecting costumed family members to open a few doors and yell, “BOO!”
- Put on some creepy tunes or a silly Halloween playlist during your trick-or-treat hunt for the ultimate spooky mood.
Last but not least, don’t forget bowls of treats at each door! For something different, try fresh baked cookies, pumpkin squares, fresh fruit, or small toys. Place a table or chair behind each door, far enough away from tipping over to store your treats.
Bonus! Trick-or-Treat Costume Parade
Just because trick-or-treating is out of the question this year, that doesn’t mean the kids (or adults or dogs) can’t show off their awesome costumes. Walk around the neighborhood as a family and take some fun photos along your route. Then head back home for your safe door-to-door trick-or-treat candy grab.
Be the Virtual “Ghostess with the Mostest”
Halloween is one of those rare times of year where you can let loose and be wild with your friends, coworkers, or even strangers! If you’re craving a classic Halloween party, but are avoiding in-person gatherings, why not plan a virtual event? Here are a few tips for hosting the perfect pandemic party:
Where to Host Your Party
Many of us have made the move to virtual office meetings via Zoom or other online meeting rooms. For your more casual virtual office party, consider Facebook Rooms or HouseParty if you want to switch it up. Encourage guests to choose a Halloween-themed backdrop for their screen.
Team-Building Exercises & Ideas
Include an activity or two for a team building exercise or just for fun:
- Family “Thriller” Dance-off. Here’s the how-to!
- Halloween Karaoke
- Play Halloween Charades
- Pet Costume Contest
- Vintage Halloween Watch Party
Have a Costume Contest
Challenge you coworkers or friends to a virtual Halloween costume contest. Create a theme like DIY, 2020, or Musicians (a performance is a must to win!) to help stir up some creativity.
Follow Along on a Creepy Virtual Tour
If you love creepy history or haunted houses, there are plenty of virtual options to explore. Send your invitees a link to a virtual tour of a haunted mansion or the historical Paris Catacombs.
Go the Extra Mile with Invitations
This year, it feels like we’ve “missed out” on our favorite gatherings and parties. So, let’s make the most of our virtual events! Invitations add extra pizzazz to a casual gathering and make invitees feel like true guests of honor. Take your virtual party up a notch with virtual party invitations. Try JibJab for humor, or Paperless Post for something more elegant.
Corn Maze, Backyard Party, or Pumpkin Patch? Plan Ahead.
Although outdoor activities are considered a lower transmission risk, always check the news for current COVID-19 conditions in your area before loading up the car and heading out with the family. It’s tempting to keep to tradition alive, especially through tough times, but there are safe alternatives to make pumpkin picking, carving, and decorating fun (and safe) this Halloween.
Keep It Clean
If you’re dead set on having a small gathering, make sure you do so safely and keep all the festivities outdoors if possible. Place plenty of hand sanitizer bottles around so guests can easily clean their hands throughout their visit. You can even turn your hand sanitizer into extra creepy slime by adding a few drops of green food coloring.
Make the Most of Your Mask
Face masks are still an essential form of protection in public spaces, and masks can be incorporated into your horrid Halloween costume. In fact, including a face mask as part of a costume encourages kids to wear their masks (and even have fun with it!).
Outdoor Monster Movies
A small party in crisp fall weather with hot apple cider and a backyard movie is a great way to celebrate at home. String up a sheet and pull it taut. Set out a colorful blanket for each family to gather. Prepare a color-coded, designated table with snacks, popcorn, separate portions or bottled drinks, and plenty of hand sanitizer.
Carving pumpkins is great fun, but it can get messy. Instead, consider hiding mini pumpkins around the yard for a pumpkin hunt. Afterwards, set up a few tables with affordable pumpkin decorating kits for the kids to decorate a few of their new-found treasures.
If the Broom Fits, Fly It!
This year, it’s important to make the most of the holidays. Celebrating helps to relieve stress and focus on the things that matter in life – our family, our friends, and our safety.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, put health and safety for you and yours first. Get creative in finding new ways to enjoy old traditions. Open your mind and laptop to online resources that offer alternate ideas this haunting season. Anything is possible, as long as you take the necessary precautions.
Paula Guran hit the nail on the head: this year we need Halloween more than ever. After these months of unprecedented changes and isolation, give yourself a break. Treat yourself and those you love to some mystery and magic.