Halloween: That spooky day that kicks off the holiday season for many of us here in the US. Our children look forward to it for months. They plan their costumes and talk incessantly about trick-or-treating. It can't come quickly enough.
This year, though, thanks to the COVID pandemic, Halloween is not likely to look much like what we've come to know and love. Traditional trick-or-treating has been declining already due to things like Trunk-or-Treat events that many parents are more comfortable with. Many areas see very few door-to-door trick-or-treaters anymore. COVID will likely disrupt both of these festivities significantly.
So what are parents to do when their children are literally all dressed up with no place to go? There are some alternatives, and my kiddos are pretty excited about them. I hope yours will be, too.
Halloween with an Easter spin:
One idea that has been thrown around in our house is dressing up in costumes and hunting candy in the yard after dark with flashlights. Obviously you would want to ensure that you live in a safe enough area with little traffic so your little ones aren't in any danger. This could be a really fun activity for families.
I think hiding the candy in easier places than you'd hide Easter eggs is probably a good idea. Since it would be dark, having things in more obvious places might give kids, especially younger ones, an advantage.
Grab your tiny superheroes, ghosts, zombies, or unicorns, snag a few flashlights, and enjoy Halloween- Easter style!
Halloween Scavenger Hunt:
This one can be done indoors or outside. Hide bags of candy around your home or yard. Give everyone a starting point, then give them clues that lead them to their next clue, until one finally leads them to their "treasure."
You can vary the clues according to your kids' ages. For example, a younger child might not be able to understand trickier clues and many need something simple like, "look in the closet where we keep the jackets." But an older child might get a kick out of something like, "proceed to the dungeon where the dirty clothes lie," and know that he or she is meant to look in the laundry room.
This could be a great activity for your kids to enjoy together. All the kids getting along and working towards a common goal? Yes, please!
Traditional pumpkin carving:
Nothing says "Halloween" quite like a jack-o-lantern. We've carved pumpkins for as long as I can remember. I have great memories of doing it as a kid- pulling out the pumpkin goo was just so darn fun! Now, my kids love it just as much.
In our house, each kid gets their own pumpkin and draws their own face on it. That way they all get to choose what their jack-o-lantern looks like. Last year we took it even further by purchasing one of those carving kits with stencils. It was easier than I expected it to be, and the kids had a blast. The pictures below are some of the cool designs we made. The only one not done with a stencil was the one pictured at bottom right. Our son wanted to do his own thing!
It might not be the same as trick-or-treating, but it's still a really fun family activity.
Decorate your yard:
Many families decorate their yards for Christmas, but, at least around here, far fewer put out any decorations for Halloween. Let's change that this year! What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than putting up some fun, spooky decorations?
Plus, it could make a great addition to that Halloween candy hunt or scavenger hunt.
Halloween movie marathon:
If your kids are old enough and horror movies are your thing, there should be no shortage of movies this time of year. If you have little ones, though, Michael Myers, Freddie, Pennywise, and Jason aren't likely to be on the watch list.
There are still plenty of options. Some great ones to consider are:
"The Nightmare Before Christmas"
You could have a binge-watching movie marathon day, or do a countdown to Halloween, watching one each night after dinner with your family. Throw in some popcorn and you've got yourself a good time.
While Halloween will look different for us this year, it doesn't mean we can't still enjoy it with our families. With a little creativity and thinking outside the box, I know we can still have a great time while staying safe.
What does your family have planned for Halloween? Tell me about it in the comments!