Spooky season is in full swing, but for many families, Halloween and its surrounding festivities are looking a little different this year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified traditional trick-or-treating as a “higher risk activity” for possible exposure to COVID-19 and has released recommendations on ways to make trick-or-treating safer this year—like by setting up outdoor treat pickup stations with individually bagged goodies.
But if you and your family are looking for alternative ways to celebrate Halloween, here are 10 ideas to help make your holiday night as festive and fun as possible. You never know, some might even turn into yearly traditions.
Have a Halloween movie watch-a-thon.
Spend the night inside together sharing some spine-tingling (but not too scary) screen thrills. You can choose favorites such as Hocus Pocus and Hotel Transylvania, or a new title like The Witches, which was just released on HBO Max and stars Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer. Bonus: If you do opt for The Witches, there’s also a free downloadable kid’s activity pack that includes paper dolls, coloring pages, games, and printable Halloween decorations.
Chow down on popcorn treats.
If you’re hosting the previously mentioned movie night or just looking for a way to get your kids involved in the kitchen, try whipping up some holiday-perfect snacks like Green Slime Popcorn or Halloween Popcorn Balls together—each recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make.
Stash candy around your yard.
Have any leftover plastic Easter eggs? Time to break them out. Add your child’s favorite candy and hide them around your yard or inside. To make sure your kiddos can see them in the dark, decorate the eggs with glow-in-the-dark stickers, and for added pizzazz, blast a ghostly playlist while they’re searching for their goodies.
Host a virtual costume parade.
Invite your child’s friends and their families to a virtual parade on Zoom and take turns strutting and showing off your costumes. You can even come up with awards like “Most Creative Outfit” or “Best Monster Walk” and announce the winners at the end.
Organize a drive-by.
Coordinate with your extended family to bring the trick-or-treating fun right to your home. Your kids can dress in their costumes and stand in front of the house or in a predetermined outdoor spot at a set time, and then the participating cars can drive by and gently toss wrapped candies and treats out their windows as they pass.
Make a festive piñata.
Are you the crafty type? If so, you might want to try helping your child build their very own piñata that they can smash open on Halloween night—just make sure they start working on their creation a few days before, because it will need plenty of time to dry. There are great DIY tutorials out there for everything from a spider (like this one from Oh Happy Day), to a ghost or pumpkin.
Hit a drive-thru.
If you feel comfortable piling in the car and heading out, look up some drive-thru, socially distanced trick-or-treat events in your area and take a little road trip. You can also sign up for the Indianapolis Colts Drive-Thru Halloween Celebration on October 28th in the South Lot of Lucas Oil Stadium; there will be a limited amount of same day drive-up slots available, but it’s a good idea to pre-register if possible.
Boogie to an eerie dance.
Learn the choreography to a silly Halloween dance like the Monster Mash or Spooky Scary Skeletons. Better yet—make up your own routine together. You never know, your family could end up going viral on TikTok.
Stephanie Groves is an Indy-based freelance writer and stay-at-home mom who looks forward to Halloween every year.