If your family is as crazy about Halloween as mine is, you might still be hoping for some miracle to make all your favorite spooky activities suddenly safe again. But alas, if we’re to trust the CDC (please do), it looks like Halloween trick-or-treat cancellations are part of our “new normal.” We’ll just have to find new ways to have fun and prevent Halloween from becoming a very scary night indeed.
This doesn’t mean Halloween itself is canceled! Since we’ve been able to see this travesty coming for months, many have come up with ways to make this a socially distanced holiday, whether we stay in or venture out into the horror show that is 2020. Here are some of the trick-or-treat cancellation alternatives that will thrill kids almost as much as begging strangers for candy door-to-door.
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Have a small, masked pumpkin-carving gathering on your front porch/stoop/lawn. If the weather was going to be good enough for trick-or-treating, it will be perfect for standing around outside at a safe distance from friends to play with sharp knives and goopy gourd innards. Costumes optional.
Construct one of these slides to distribute candy for those who have braved trick-or-treating anyway. Slide that candy down quickly so no crowds form!
Organize a small parade. Since Halloween is on a Saturday, you can plan out a route for an early afternoon, socially distant costume parade, so your kids and their friends can show off your hard work.
Turn your home into a virtual haunted house. No Halloween is complete without a haunted house, but for some the traditional experience might be RIP this year. Fortunately, Netflix partnered with Snapchat to create unique Snapcodes that will turn your home into your very own haunted house for Halloween. Simply download and print a kit with the various Snapcodes at NetflixHauntsYourHouse.com (and no, you don’t need to be a Netflix subscriber to download the Snapcodes!). Then place the Snapcodes in the suggested locations throughout your house. On Halloween, open Snapchat on your phone and press and hold on each Snapcode to unlock the augmented reality experience.
Have a Zoom costume party. Get friends and family together for an online party. Remember that the key to getting people to step up their game and really show up is to offer prizes for the best costumes. If you need other activities, you can also check out this bundle of games (in the style of Jeopardy, Family Feud, etc.) on Powerpoint, designed to be played with friends on Zoom.
Have a family dance party. Pandora has created a few Halloween-themed stations, such as “Family Halloween” and “Ghostly Grooves,” to help you DJ this thing. We’re also very charmed by this YouTube playlist of spooky songs from the 1920s and ’30s.
Go on a haunted virtual scavenger hunt. Watson Adventures, which normally hosts real-life scavenger hunts for adults and kids in various cities, has devised a way to lead you on a haunted Zoom scavenger hunt. Buy tickets to play against strangers or sign up with your own group.
Play some spooky board games. Whether it’s classic Clue, an Escape Room in a Box, or any one of these other scary-but-family-friendly board games, the whole family can participate and make it a memorable night.
Attend a virtual Halloween camp. I can attest from my son’s experience over the summer that the folks at Camp Supernow possess some witchy magic when it comes to engaging children via Zoom. From October 29-31 they’re hosting free interactive mystery adventures for kids ages 5-11.
Learn some Halloween science or art. Outschool has countless Halloween-themed online courses for children in subjects from chemistry to dancing to baking.
Whip Up a Monstrous Feast. Raddish Kids, the subscription cooking meal kit, has some very punny meals to make for your at-home party.
Watch last year’s NYC Village Halloween Parade. We can’t guarantee that all costumes are G-rated, but we can guarantee that you will not be stuck in a drunken crowd while watching this on YouTube.
Become TV Zombies. The sheer amount of Halloween-themed entertainment available to you on streaming services, cable, and network TV is mind-boggling. Check out the special listings on Hulu, Freeform, Peacock, and Netflix.
You know what’s really scary? The fact that some parents think these costumes are OK.