Young boy in his Halloween costume
BigStock/ everest comunity

How to Have a Socially Distanced Halloween

With the impact COVID-19 has on children still relatively unknown, parents have mixed feelings about whether or not Halloween traditions should change for this year. Angie Wierzbiki, mother to 5- and 6-year-old girls says, “I think I would be okay trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, but not attending one of the numerous community Halloween events.” Rachael Hutchinson is another mother who will let her children trick-or-treat. “Since they’ll be wearing masks like everyone is supposed to, I don’t see the issue!”

Other parents still see it as risky or want to do their part in social distancing efforts. “I just don’t see how anything is going to be the same this year, so instead of staying home and being disappointed, we booked a little getaway for the weekend,” says Megan Wildgoose of her family’s plans.

Whether or not you choose to let your children trick-or-treat, here are some great ways to celebrate Halloween this year while maintaining social distance:

Host a Virtual Costume Contest

Just because trick-or-treating may be off the table doesn’t mean kids don’t want to share their costumes. Get together using FaceTime, Zoom or other video calling methods. Why not have a prize for scariest, funniest or most original?

Face Painting

Kids love to paint their own faces. Buy a set of face paints, set the kids in front of a mirror and let their artistic talents shine!

Movie Night

Younger children might love “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” or “Hotel Transylvania.” Older kids might want something scarier! Whether you host a virtual watch party with friends or cozy up together as a family, a spooky movie will put you in the Halloween mood.

Hold an Outdoor Pumpkin Carving Party

Gather up the safety knives and patterns and head outdoors (six feet apart, of course) to carve pumpkins together! Cleanup is a breeze when pumpkins are carved outside and, of course, younger children can paint theirs instead.

Make Caramel Apples or Halloween-Themed Treats

If your cooking skill levels are low, there are kits available at many grocery stores around Halloween to help you make traditional caramel apples. A graveyard “dirt cake” made from Oreos is a lot of fun and can be embellished with Nabisco Nutter Butter cookies for ghosts and Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies for gravestones. Or use a donut hole, a Life Saver gummy candy and a chocolate chip to make edible eyeballs.

Have a Virtual Halloween Party

Just because you won’t be inviting the entire neighborhood inside your home doesn’t mean you can’t gather online to show each other your costumes and eat treats together! If you gather on apps such as Houseparty, you can even include virtual games.

Tell Ghost Stories or Read Scary Library Books

Family members can take turns telling scary stories. Alternately, check out some Halloween-themed books from the library like “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” by Linda Williams. Older kids might enjoy starting the “Bunnicula” chapter book series by James Howe or the “My Undead Life” series by Emma T. Graves.

Play “And Then the Boiler Burst”

In this spooky game, players take turns telling a spooky story, either making it up or using a familiar story. A close-by object serves as “base.” At the spookiest part of the story, the storyteller shouts out, “And then the boiler burst!” The first player tagged before reaching base tells the next story.

Make a Socially Distanced “Haunted House”

Setting up pretend spider webs, skeletons and even old dolls with fake blood can make your front yard into a haunted house for neighbors or friends to enjoy one at a time.

Bob for Apples

You can use a wading pool, large bucket or tub filled with apples and a bandana to cover the eyes for this healthy and fun family activity.

Play with Slime

Make your own or buy some. Add plastic spiders for a creepy effect!

Hand Out Candy from Afar

This is the perfect year to sit outside in a lawn chair with candy on a table and let kids take their own.

Candy Scavenger Hunt

Hide candy around the yard or house for little ones to find.