As cities everywhere are evaluating what to do about Halloween during a pandemic, many families are asking about Halloween Trick or Treat Cancellations. Here are some fun & safe ideas for a scream of a good time!
I've talked before about ways to stay safe during Trick or Treating – that was under normal circumstances! Now it's time to talk about how to keep your families and others safe while celebrating Halloween during a pandemic and a year where anything could happen.
Has Halloween Trick or Treating Been Canceled This Year?
In most places, no. However, we really do need to start thinking out of the box and make a few changes this year.
For us these days, it's all things Halloween, and we love to indulge in the festivities all month long and share too – crafts, food, decorations, activity ideas – all of it!
But first, we have to acknowledge that Halloween 2020 surely is a Halloween like no other!
Parents and authorities, alike, are scrambling to figure out what to do about Trick or treating in the age of COVID. And opinions vary widely – I've heard everything from “let's ignore the virus and do it like we always do” to a total cancellation of trick or treating and any other group activities.
I don't personally think that it needs to be either extreme.
So I've tried to gather some solid info on the whole Halloween, trick or treating cancellation dilemma and come up with some practical suggestions you can use to keep your kids, and everyone else, safe from that COVID monster. And still really enjoy one of America's (and our) favorite holidays.
What the Experts Say About Halloween, Trick or Treating and COVID
Now, since I'm no medical expert, I have to rely on those who know far more about medicine – and the virus – than I do.
First, the CDC has put out a pretty comprehensive article on the whole holiday gathering question during the COVID pandemic, including Halloween and trick or treating cancellation or modification.
While there are plenty of details and specifics in the article, the basics are exactly the same health basics we've been hearing for months now:
- Wear masks. Well-fitting, multi-layered (not Halloween costume) masks properly worn and covering both nose and mouth are said to be the best protection when we're around other people.
- Give everyone plenty of space – 6 feet at a minimum. More is better, especially with excited, yelling kids.
- Stay with those you live with or your usual activity bubble. (learning pod, neighbors you usually spend time with, etc.)
- Hand sanitizer. Bring it with you and use it.
Trick or Treating the 2020 Way
For those who just can't stand the idea of Halloween without trick or treating, here are a few fun ideas.
- Individual treats – Homeowners can place distanced, individually wrapped treats outside for trick or treaters to take.
- Grab and Go – A rope can be hung low near the front of your property and individually wrapped treats can be clothes pinned to the rope for kids to take.
- Trunk or Treat – Some people are trying out the idea of groups backing up their cars in a large area, opening the trunks, and allowing kids to take treats from there – maybe as part of a costume parade. Just make sure to wear masks and stay far enough apart. We've done this before with Cub Scouts and it's a lot of fun (we even decorated our trunks/Tailbeds)!
- PVC Pipe Delivery – We've heard of sending candy down a long PVC pipe into kids bags – something different the kids would probably love.
- Candy Parade – Then, there's the idea of having neighborhood kids sit on their front lawn and neighbors walking or driving by and tossing treats to them. Sounds great but I can't imagine my kids sitting there waiting for someone to come by with candy!
Trick Or Treating Alternatives
For anyone who maybe isn't sure about participating in Trick or Treating – even pandemic-style, here are some alternatives (including what we're doing)!
Halloween at Home With Those You Live With
If you need (or want) to keep things close to home, check out these creative ideas for celebrating Halloween at home with family.
- Make inside and outside decorating a family activity. Maybe each kid decorates his room or other special place his own way. Each kid gets to plan and show off his creation. Check out our upcoming Halloween craft ideas.
- Halloween mask decorating – magic markers can turn a paper mask into a masterpiece!
- Face painting with a Halloween theme
- Pumpkin carving or painting or even stickers for the littlest ones. Try Crayola pumpkin paint. Have a contest and vote on the scariest, silliest, most imaginative, etc.
- Try a virtual Halloween party with a special group of friends or grandparents, whoever! Zoom to the rescue! You could even watch a scary movie or play a game together over Zoom
- Tell scary stories or read Halloween books. Your local library or book store has tons of Halloween themed books, from funny to scary. Scholastic.com has a great list of pre-K through 5th grade books for kids who don't like to be scared.
- Back yard (or elsewhere) camping – complete with scary-ish stories.
- In the house or in the yard “Easter egg” type of scavenger hunt using clues to find candy or small toy treats.
- Back yard movie night. Try one of these 100 Best Family Halloween Movies for kids of ALL ages!
Halloween Trick or Treating Alternatives Away From Home With Those You Live With
If you want to get away, I totally get it! Here are some fun ideas of ways to celebrate when you aren't close to home.
Reminder, please be sure to wear masks when around other people and keep your distance.
- Drive-in movie night
- Afternoon at a pumpkin patch or corn maze.
- Family walk or drive looking for the best, scariest, funniest, coolest decorations.
For Those Who Want to Skip Trick or Treating But Still Celebrate With Others
Perhaps your family wants to get together with some friends but still stay distanced and safe. Everyone is looking for some resemblance to normal, right? This set of ideas is for you!
How about a block party? Whoop, whoop!
Get car owners to park around the corner, block off both ends of the street (don't forget any necessary permits) and everybody party! It can be afternoon or evening, large or small and good, old fashioned fun for all ages. And there will be enough space for healthy distancing and some special activities.
Here are some ideas for a rocking good time:
- Gather everyone (kids and adults) who wants to be involved with decorating, ideas for activities, set up, helping younger ones, and clean up.
- Set up distanced tables to hold individually wrapped snacks (fun Halloween recipes coming next week) and kid activities.
- “Trick or treating” stations with either candy/food treats or small toys like glow sticks, spider rings, glow balls, etc.
- Mask decorating table (use the inexpensive, paper ones and markers)
- Get a bunch of those cute, little pumpkins and set up a pumpkin painting and sticker table. Let the kids decorate as they will.
- Costume parade! Calling all the young and old… and pets too! Don't forget those masks and distancing – it also makes for making each person in costume have their moment!
- Dance party! Draw chalk circles in the street at distances of 10-12 feet apart and turn on the music! The circles will help dancers stay distanced while everyone can join in as they will. Monster Mash, anyone? Thriller? Ghost Busters? Addams Family? What other Halloween dances can you think of?
- How about Zombie walking accompanied by some of that spooky music? Make it a contest or just fun. So much fun!
- Set up some simple kid games, remembering distancing.
- Pin the stem on the pumpkins
- Tin can, or empty plastic bottle, bowling
- Witches hat ring toss
- Six feet apart, follow the leader, Simon says type snake walk to Halloween music
- Balloon patch stomp
- Ask around, or maybe you already know a neighbor who would be willing to share a talent. Does your block have a musician, a face painter, a magician or a balloon animal artist?
Local Example of How to Pull it off
One group near me is planning a costume parade with treat stations in a large local park with paved walking trails.
The idea is to allow everyone to be involved and feel a part of their community. The paved trails encourage kids in wheelchairs, crutches or walkers to feel like and be just like everyone else.
The parade is not just for people with mobility issues, but for everyone. Adults, too. We're all the same. The small differences only make us more interesting
What We're Doing as a Family (as of now)
Plans in my family are always subject to change, but we have tentatively decided on these Halloween trick or treat cancelations and alternatives.
Our plan is to celebrate together at home with some special activities:
- have a DIY family costume contest (the kids have to make their own costumes!)
- make yummy Halloween themed food (yummy kid-approved Halloween foods and treats coming next next week)
- do a family Halloween movie night (this list has scary and non-scary Halloween movies).
One Last Reminder
I'm sure you're tired of seeing the words “masks and distance” but I really want everyone to have a great time and stay healthy, so…all together, now – Masks and Distance!
Halloween Trick or Treat Cancellations & Alternatives – Final Thoughts
You get the idea…Halloween doesn't have to be limited to traditional Trick or Treating.
With a bit of imagination and a fresh perspective, the magic of this super fun holiday can really shine. So make this Halloween as simple or as elaborate as you like. Just celebrate and have fun! Happy Halloween!
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