If you are planning to follow national, state, or local guidelines, normal trick-or-treating, haunted houses, and parties will not happen this Halloween. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is just too high in many communities who are experiencing ongoing outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests celebrating in person with household members or on video calls with other people.
Missing out on the usual events is a blow to many children and adults alike, but canceling large gatherings does not mean canceling Halloween! It just means coming up with new ways to have fun and get spooked. Here are some fun, low-risk ways to celebrate Halloween during a pandemic.
For many, dressing up in costume is one of the most essential parts of Halloween. You can breathe a sigh of relief because costumes are still on the table this year. In fact, they can be more spectacular than ever if you are spending more time at home and can get every detail right.
Why wear a Halloween costume this year?
- Get into the Halloween spirit at home.
- “Attend” a virtual Halloween party.
- Enter a virtual costume contest.
- Take great photos with a jack-o-lantern or decorated house.
“Trick-or-Treating” at Home
If you have young children, trick-or-treating may be what they most anticipate each year. Going door-to-door around the neighborhood or in a shopping mall may be off the table this year, but kids can still get part of the experience right at home.
To trick-or-treat at home, the older people (adults and teens) can go into separate rooms. They can close the doors and have different costumes or outfits to put on. They can also have different treats to pass out to younger kids.
The younger kids can get into their costumes, then go “door to door,” knocking on each closed door and saying, “Trick or treat!” The adult or teen in the room can then open the door, wearing a different outfit or costume each time, and hand the younger child a treat. The child can then knock on another door, where a different adult or teen answers.
These are a few tips for trick-or-treating inside your home.
- The treat does not always need to be a piece of candy. Apples, tangerines, brown rice cakes, and Halloween-themed water bottles are healthy possibilities.
- Non-edible treats include Halloween pencils or erasers, Halloween stickers, glow sticks, and magnets.
- Adults can adopt a different persona each time they open the door for the “trick-or-treater.” One time they might act excited to see the child, while the next time they might act grumpy, and the following time they might answer with a “Boo!” to scare the child.
Spooky Family Dinner
Dinners with members of your household may have become more familiar and frequent during COVID-19. Halloween may be one more…but it can be so much more than the usual family dinner! Your spooky menu can even be healthy with some of these choices.
- Bell pepper jack-o-lantern. Carve the bell pepper like a jack-o-lantern, and fill it with green “slime” (such as guacamole or pea soup) or something “bloody,” such as tomato sauce.
- Mummy meatloaf. Using ground turkey and oats instead of bread crumbs, and adding tomatoes to make it healthier and redder, use string cheese to wrap your meatloaf like a mummy, and add ketchup for blood and half-onions with olive rings for eyes.
- Ghost quesadillas. Cut two whole-grain tortillas in the shapes of ghosts. Place cheese on one. Cut holes for eyes and a nose in the other and place it over the cheese. Then toast and serve.
- Banana ghosts. Cut a banana in half and stand it up. Add raisins or chocolate chips for the eyes and nose. That’s it!
- Tangerine pumpkins. Peel a tangerine, stick a piece of celery in the top for a stem, and enjoy your pumpkin patch!
- Broomstick. Cut a string cheese stick in half. Peel each half most of the way to the end, but leave about an inch intact. Stick a pretzel stick in the intact end of each cheese stick half. Now you have two brooms!
You can decorate your dining room or the entire house, and play Halloween songs during dinner, to create the proper ambiance.
Whatever contests you regularly compete in can be taken online. Gather contestants, such as family members and friends not in your household, and neighbors, and start competing. These are some ideas.
- Costume contest. You can take turns modeling.
- Exterior house decorating contest. You can all submit photos or show each other the home by taking the video chat outside.
- Scary story-telling contest.
Don’t forget to give out plenty of awards, such as Overall, Spookiest, Most Creative, and Funniest.
Like so many other things this year, this year’s Halloween is sure to be unprecedented. Another sure thing is that you can make this one the most memorable one ever, filled with joy and spooks.