Candy usually reigns supreme on Halloween, but this year safety comes first amid the coronavirus pandemic

By Andrea Wurzburger
October 06, 2020 02:27 PM
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Halloween is just around the corner, which means we are all gearing up for our usual tricks and treats in this not-so-usual time. With the COVID-19 pandemic looming large and cases at an all-time high, it can be hard to know how to celebrate. Physicians and the CDC strongly discourage trick-or-treating, and haunted houses and Halloween parties are clearly off the table.

But just because this Halloween is going to look different doesn't mean that it has to be boring or lacking in any way. Talk to your kids about what they love about Halloween and get their input. From there, you can decide — together — what is going to be the most fun for them!

Need some ideas? From socially distant spooky activities to at-home fun for the whole family, we have compiled a list of fun ways to celebrate safely.

Turn Your Home into a (Temporary) Haunted House

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There's no such thing as a socially distant haunted house, but with a little help from technology and some fun decor, you can turn your home into a scary-fun place for your family to hunker down.  The Amazon Alexa is a great tool for this: Just ask Alexa to open spooky sounds and set your smart plug on a timer (so you can make the ambiance as eerie as possible). You can even do some ghost-busting — simply ask Alexa to "launch Ghost Detector."

Pick Out a Pumpkin and Have a Family Carving or Decorating Night

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Heading to the pumpkin patch can be a safe outdoor activity to take part in with your little ones (just be sure to stay six feet from others and mask up!), but if you'd prefer, you can order your pumpkins and fall decor online this year! Baldor Specialty Foods is offering home delivery for everything from gourds to corn stalks and bales of hay. That means you can autumn-ize your home without having to leave it! A win-win, if you ask us.

Bake Some Sweet Treats With Your Kiddo

Take a page out of Kylie Jenner's book and make memories by baking delicious Halloween treats. As Stormi Webster has shown us, sprinkles are not optional!

Find Alternate Ways to Give Out Candy

Since handing out candy violates social distancing, one Michigan man had a genius idea when it came to delivering sweet treats safely to the children in his neighborhood: a zip line! He even added a beer caddy so that moms and dad could enjoy an adult beverage while out trick-or-treating.

Meanwhile, a dad in Cincinnati, Ohio set up a candy chute so that the neighborhood kids can have a "little extra distancing" while getting their Halloween candy.

Set Up a Trick-or-Treat Scavenger Hunt

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We do it with Easter eggs, why not take the same concept and apply it to Halloween candy?! The candy will taste even sweeter if the kids have to work to find it!

Have a Virtual Costume Contest

Even if you can't show off your costume in real life, there is no reason to keep it to yourself! Hold a virtual Halloween costume contest so that you can show off your handiwork to your friends and family from afar.

Plan a Spooky Movie Night In

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You can also go to a drive-in scary movie night, if that is more your speed!

Have a Hauntingly Cool Experience from Your Couch

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Atlas Obscura, which highlights some of the most interesting places and experiences around the world, knows you can't travel to them, so they're bringing them to you for Halloweek, from Oct. 26 through 30. Take a tour of Bella Swan's house from the Twilight movies with the current occupants, go cave hunting or do Dino 101 - they'll all send chills down your spine.

Gather 'Round for Some Scary Stories

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Grab some flashlights and have a family scary storytelling competition, you know, like in the old days before the internet.

Do Something Spooky, Socially Distant

There are plenty of options to keep you safe while having a great time this Halloween, like going to a drive-thru jack-o-lantern display, or haunted house, or even rent a paranormal property! We've done you the favor of compiling a list here.

Happy (safe!) haunting, guys and ghouls!

Some towns are still allowing trick-or-treating despite the spike in COVID cases and the CDC's recommendation against it. If your town does allow it and you plan to participate, follow these CDC guidelines to prioritize safety for those who trick-or-treat.

  • Observe all CDC guidelines regarding masks and social distancing.
  • A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. The CDC does not recommend pairing a face covering with a Halloween character mask due to potential breathing issues, so instead, wear a face covering that coordinates with your costume and skip any other masks.
  • Trick-or-treat with only a few members of your family, and steer clear of crowds.
  • Don't ring doorbells. If candy is provided outside, wait a safe distance while groups ahead get their candy.
  • Only take individually wrapped treats, and do not share treat bags with others. Wash hands before and after unwrapping candy.
  • Even better, don't let candy exchange hands at all. Walk (at a safe distance) with your family to enjoy the decorations, then let your kids indulge in their favorite candy at home.