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Several cities and towns have created bans around Halloween celebrations, either outright forbidding door-to-door trick-or-treating or strongly discouraging families from participating in this beloved tradition. For their part, the CDC has advised parents not to take kids trick-or-treating either.
If your town has canceled trick-or-treating, you might be at a loss for how to make the night special for your family. Kids have been asked to give up a lot due to the coronavirus, but rest assured, they don’t have to give up Halloween fun.
Here are some trick-or-treat alternatives that will ensure your kids (and you!) still have a boo-tiful Halloween:
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts get a spooky twist with this Halloween Clue Hunt from Scavenger Hunt Fun. You can make the hunt in your own backyard, at a local park, or perhaps even invite a few neighborhood children to join in the socially-distant activity. Modify it for younger kids by making the clues easier and perhaps a tad less spooky, or make it fun for older kids by doing it at night with glow sticks or flashlights.
Do A Halloween Egg Hunt
Who doesn’t love hunting for hidden eggs stuffed with candy? Take this Easter tradition and make it Halloween-appropriate by using green, orange or black eggs, rather than spring-like pastel hues. Or use glow-in-the-dark eggs for your Halloween egg hunt!
Organize A Costume Parade
Just because experts say we shouldn’t go door-to-door this year doesn’t mean that kids can’t dress up and show off the costumes! Invite your neighbors to a costume parade so kids can walk down the block and see everyone’s spooky attire while still maintaining a safe distance.
Go All Out With Decorations
Make Halloween special by going big with the decorations this year and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Then, when Halloween night arrives, you can take the kids for a spooky walk through the neighborhood to see all the fun decorations. Maybe you can even challenge your neighbors to a pumpkin-decorating contest to see who can create the coolest design on their jack-o’-lantern!
Have A Scary Movie Marathon
Whether you’re watching “Spookley the Square Pumpkin” with little ones, “Hocus Pocus” with older kids, or “Nightmare on Elm Street” once the kids are in bed, nothing quite screams Halloween like … well, movies with lots of screaming. If you want to connect with kids’ friends, try using Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) so their gang can enjoy spooky movies all together in a virtual setting.
Have A Halloween Candy Hunt At Home
Hide candy around the house and challenge your kids to see who can find every last piece. Make the experience extra-Halloweeny by turning off the lights and having your kids to use flashlights. Bonus points if you play spooky Halloween music while they hunt!
Create A Spooky Gingerbread House
Gingerbread houses aren’t just for the holidays anymore! Get a Haunted Gingerbread House kit from Trader Joe’s, Amazon or similar retailers, or make your own from scratch — like with this recipe from Betty Crocker. Let your kids “help” as much as possible (even if the younger ones just eat the frosting and drop the sprinkles everywhere).
Build A Bonfire
Staying home for Halloween doesn’t have to mean just sitting in front of the television. If you have the space on your property, a bonfire can be a traditional but safe way to enjoy the spookiness of Halloween. Get a few hay bales from your local gardening store, build a bonfire, and tell ghost stories while eating caramel apples or drinking warm apple cider. Don’t have the yard for a bonfire? Go a local corn maze or pumpkin patch instead … just verify ahead of time that the patch is following COVID-19 guidelines and guests are all wearing masks.
Give Something Sweet Back To Your Community
The pandemic has been so difficult for children (and adults) to endure, but it has also served to teach us about the value of community spirit and pulling together during difficult times. Channel that positive energy by using Halloween as a time to give back to those in need. Donate old Halloween costumes to clothing drives, drop off candy or Halloween baking mixes to your local food bank, or buy fall or Halloween-themed books and games for your local YMCA or domestic violence shelter.
Think Of The Kitties
Did you know that black cats take two to three times as long to get adopted as other cats? Fight back against this harmful stereotype about black kitties by sponsoring the adoption fees for a black cat at your local animal shelter. Older kids can help participate by raking neighbors’ leaves or doing other yard work to help raise money to contribute to this “pawesome” cause. Little ones can enjoy the fun by putting on black kitty ears and tails. You can drop off canned goods or litter to the shelter, along with a check for some much-deserving cat’s adoption fee.
However you choose to celebrate, remember to wear a mask, sanitize or wash your hands often, and keep a safe distance from others who are also enjoying the holiday. Here’s witching you a Halloween filled with thrills and chills!