I love Halloween.
I love pumpkins, candy corn, chocolate, costumes, and even PSLs (Pumpkin Spice Lattes). Los Angeles never quite feels like fall or Halloween until the week of the 31st (I'm happy for the great weather, but sometimes I want chilly, spooky weather). This year feels particularly strange. I don’t see as many Halloween decorations, and it seems a given that no one will be handing out candy this year.
My family usually trick or treats together. Ever since we were little we would dress up, walk around the neighborhood, attend haunted houses, trade candy, and then play the night away. Last year we did a super fun pumpkin carving for our youngest cousins, but this year we could not see one another.
Although it makes me sad to miss out on these fun celebrations, I know it is the responsible and right thing to do to practice safe Halloween fun. This got me thinking, we CAN have fun... we just have to be creative about it! I decided to put together a short list of COVID-19 alternatives you can do on or before Halloween to get everyone in the pumpkin party mood.
1. Trunk or Treat
At a park or other open space, have folks park at least six feet apart from one another. Fill your trunk with candy (ideally, individually wrapped and spaced). Kids can come and trick or treat from your trunk. I have seen folks decorate their cars to fit a certain theme. You can have your older children help decorate and add music, dry ice, lights, and moreto really make the trunk a treat!
2. Chute Candy
As a family, build your own chute from your door or driveway. This allows you to give out candy from a distance! Decorate, paint, and test your chute before Halloween as a fun way to bond with your family.
3. Pumpkin Carving
Host an outdoor pumpkin carving event for your family or those within your bubble. If possible, save the seeds and compost the insides (pumpkin carving waste is A LOT every year. Let's all do our part to be sustainable!)
4. Virtual Halloween
There are many ways to celebrate this one. You can have a Halloween party on Halloween to enjoy themed music and candy together. You can also make this a great opportunity to play virtual escape rooms, Halloween Jeopardy, or just have a good ol’ fashioned dance party (to the Monster Mash, of course!) Teach your kiddos the Thriller dance, have them make it into a TikTok, or do a makeup lesson on how to be a zombie! The options are endless.
5. Reverse Trick or Treat
Instead of going to every house and coming into contact with new people, you can go reverse trick or treating this year. Within your group of friends or family, create a list of everyone who would like to trick or treat. Then, take turns driving to each house and dropping off candy bags or other goodies. Kids can still dress up and stand outside of their homes, ready for treats!
6. Glow in the Dark Hunt (Easter Eggs, but Make it Pumpkin)
Get some glow in the dark paint or small fairy lights and hide snacks in old easter eggs or mini pumpkins. Plant them around the house and outside for a fun, light-up activity.
7. Drive-Thru Haunted House
This one requires the most work! Create your own drive-thru haunted house for everyone to enjoy. This activity is great for neighborhoods and families with older kids. Add lights, dry ice, and music, and you’ve got yourself a Haunted Mansion ride in your own backyard!
These are COVID-19 alternatives. Please remember to follow all CDC and local government guidelines. It’ll be a different Halloween this year, but it doesn’t mean we can’t still be in the fun and spooky spirit! Stay safe and creative!