Halloween is a holiday full of magic and mischief! It’s the one night a year kids get to dress up as whoever or whatever they want to be, and lead their parents on a candy quest or run around with friends. Not to mention the heaps of candy you can get away with eating! It’s a taste of independence and a night of relaxed rules that is looked forward to all year long.
But like many events this year, Halloween trick-or-treating may be canceled due to COVID-19. And even if some neighborhoods allow the event to go on, many families may opt out for safety purposes.
So how do you keep from devastating your children who planned out their costumes in January? Try planning one of these fun, festive activities at home instead! They’re sure to keep the spooky spirit alive, and light a smile on your kids’ faces.
Find the sweet spot with a candy scavenger hunt
While nothing can quite top exploring your neighborhood at night, dressed as your favorite character on the hunt for sweets, a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt comes pretty close. For this activity, write out clues on pieces of paper that will lead your kids to where you’ve hidden candy. Your role will be to offer hints and guidance as your explorers figure out where their treasure lies. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can even tease with candy along with the way and make the ultimate discovery something bigger, like a Halloween toy, full-size candy bars or anything extra special your kids would enjoy. If you want to keep things simple, check out one of these prewritten Halloween scavenger hunts:
- Halloween scavenger hunt by The Best Ideas for Kids
- Printable halloween scavenger hunt by Play Party Plan
Pro tip: Make sure to write down on paper or in your phone the location of all the candy you hide! You don’t want to find a melted chocolate bar in the couch next year!
Take your costume party to cyberspace
Half the fun of dressing up for Halloween is showing off your costume! So just because Halloween looks a little different this year, don’t let it stop you from collecting compliments on your creativity. Plan out a virtual costume party with friends and family, so you can all be together for the holiday. If you want to take it one step further, tell everyone there will be a costume contest as well. The winner can receive their prize through the mail, or you can safely drop it off in their mailbox if they live nearby. If you’d like to do this just for your kids, help them set up a virtual meeting with all their friends they would usually go trick-or-treating with.
Strut your Halloween spirit in a fashion show
All costumes can be couture! And they don’t need to come from a store. For this activity, have each family member make one to three costumes (or however many you want!) using only the clothes in their closets and items within your house. Once everyone has their costumes lined up, take turns showing them off as models would on the runway. Be creative and the laughter and fun will follow!
Go on the hunt for mini pumpkins
Give Easter egg hunts an autumn makeover! The same rules apply, except for the item you hide. One idea is to hide mini pumpkins inside your home and around your yard. Whoever finds the most pumpkins gets a special prize … but of course, all participants get lots of candy! Mini pumpkins can be bought at grocery stores or local farms for less than a dollar each. If you’d like to save some money, print off and cut out pictures of pumpkins instead. Your little ones will have just as much fun.
If you’d like to really replicate the rules of Easter egg hunts, you can hide little goodie bags full of candy or small prizes instead! Any bags you have will work, but if you’re feeling extra festive, we recommend these pumpkin goodie bags on Amazon. And just like the scavenger hunt, don’t forget to write down where you hide them!
Host a Halloween and horror movie marathon
You can never go wrong with a movie marathon! Write out a list of movies your family would like to watch, put on your costumes or favorite pajamas, grab Halloween treats and head to the couch. Depending on the ages of your children, you can also include a few horror movies to really get in the mood! A few family-friendly movies we recommend are:
- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
- Beetlejuice (1988)
- Corpse Bride (2005)
- Halloweentown (1998), Halloweentown II (2001) and Halloweentown High (2004)
- Hocus Pocus (1993)
- Monster House (2006)
- Coraline (2009)
- Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
- The Addams Family (1991)
- Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
- Ghostbusters (1984)
For more information about virus spread and low risk, moderate risk and high-risk Halloween activities, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention article on holidays.