13 Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween This Year

Halloween isn’t cancelled...it’s just going to look a little different this year.

October 12, 2020
By: Caylin Harris

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Boy and a girl are playing at the Halloween party, covering their faces with Jack O'Lantern bucket and paper bag.


Boy and a girl are playing at the Halloween party, covering their faces with Jack O'Lantern bucket and paper bag.

Photo by: fotostorm


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The threat to cancel Halloween gets used by exasperated parents everywhere, but this might be the first year it feels pretty close to happening. Coming in close contact to strangers or neighbors while trick-or-treating isn’t allowed at all in some states and others requires kids to wear masks in addition to any Halloween costumes. But there’s more than one way to celebrate Halloween, 2020 just demands more creativity. Remember kids love it for the experience (the pillowcase full of candy is just a nice bonus) so here are several ways to make it memorable:

Halloween isn’t just about collecting all the candy you can — though a pillowcase full of chocolate is quite a draw.

Photo by: Caylin Harris

Caylin Harris

Make Your Own Treat Bag

If your trick-or-treaters can’t go door-to-door holding out their pumpkin buckets, replace the experience by giving them a "boo bag" filled with favorite treats. Older kids can join in creating clever themed bags, or you can surprise them with the finished product. And instead of watching kids choose from less-than-ideal candy options, you can stock their favorites and add non-candy offerings or tiny toys, too. Presentation is everything and we’ve got some fun ideas for you, but if you’re short on time a small basket or plastic pumpkin bin works well too. Your local craft store should have fun options.

Organize a Haunted House

If you’re hunkered down with a few non trick-or-treaters, have them dress in spooky costumes and hide with the clues, for a DIY haunted house.

Make a Soundtrack

Make a playlist of favorite spooky songs or request one on your smart speaker for a spooky dance party or costumed boogie through the living room.

Get Creative with Candy

Rather than hand out candy, turn it into craft projects with the kids. Use a simple frosting to help kids connect pieces to create little critters like owls, spiders, or other kinds of silly bugs. If you want to get really creative try making a haunted Halloween version of a gingerbread house!

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Instead of just giving kids their candy, create clues that lead from several locations in your house to their treat bags. Or place smaller bags of candy at each subsequent clue so it all adds up to a big haul at then end.

Have a Remote Pumpkin Carving Contest (or Pageant!)

Dial into a video call with friends and family and have each participant carve up a pumpkin. If that’s too laborious, have everyone carve a pumpkin ahead of time, then show them off as a backdrop for your virtual hangout. Send recipes for themed drink and snack ideas ahead of time to make it festive. To up the ante, have everyone vote on the best pumpkin, then treat the winner to a gift card — or a mailed box of treats.

Stage a Neighborhood Halloween Parade

Set guidelines for spacing, then let all costumed participants strut their spooky stuff along the sidewalk, ideally to a soundtrack.

Dress Up Your Pets

Four-legged friends can stand in for your kids’ human pals in an at-home costume party. Find or make pet-safe costumes for dogs, cats, even guinea pigs! Or incorporate the family pet into your kids’ group costume idea.

Play Spooktacular Games

You don’t need a gaggle to play some good games. Dangle doughnuts on string to see who can best eat one without using hands. Turn a few precious rolls of toilet paper into a mummy-wrapping race. Try a marshmallow-ghost toss (aim marshmallows at different-sized bowls and glasses for points)!

Go on a Family Walk

There’s something fun about going for a walk at night on All Hallows’ Eve. Bundle up, bring glow sticks or flashlights and enjoy the crunch of the leaves underneath your feet. Some cemeteries — including Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery and Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles — are open to respectful visitors and, in other years, have hosted Halloween gatherings.

Decorate the House

You don’t have to go crazy, but you wouldn’t believe how much of a spooky feel you can add by incorporating some pumpkins, black tapered candles, streamers, and even some balloons. The fake spider webbing works just as well indoors as it does outside! A Halloween banner completes the look.

Have a Spooky Distanced Block Party

Have each family set up a hangout at the end of their driveway for a remote block party. Every family can set up chairs, turn up music, string up fall and Halloween décor and can bring their own snacks.

Decorate Face Masks

A blank medical-style or plain cloth mask is a canvas for Halloween decorations! Draw on silly teeth, cat whiskers or or a pumpkin smile, or add sequins, feathers or puffy paint. You might as well have fun while you’re staying safe.

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