Halloween for kids is going to be a bit, ahem, different this year for many of us. For one thing, how do we do socially distanced trick-or-treating? Do we don helmets and hurl candy at each other from across the street?
Nope, that doesn’t seem reasonable.
So, how can we make Halloween for kids enjoyable this year — while also keeping them, their loved ones, and everyone else in our communities as safe as possible?
I’ll share 10 fun ideas below. I’d love to hear what else you’d add to the list, as well.
Halloween for Kids
Here are 10 fun ideas to make Halloween for kids as lighthearted as possible this year. You never know — some of these ideas might even stick around when things are back to “normal” someday!
1. Try the Great Jack-o’-Lantern Hunt
Much like the Easter Egg hunt, we can hide trinkets, candy, or whatever our children would normally enjoy collecting from neighbors, and hide those things in our own yards, instead.
Hiding them inside also works well if the weather or other conditions aren’t conducive to an outdoor search.
The best way to orchestrate the search as an earth-conscious parent is to hide the surprises without any sort of packaging. There’s plenty of camouflage in nature!
If you would like to package the surprises somehow, you and your kids can decorate your existing Easter eggs (if you have them) with a Halloween for Kids theme. Maybe that means painting fun monster faces on the eggs with washable paint or stickers.
Or, if you’re looking for ready-made and reusable monster eggs, these work well:
2. Schedule a video call or distance viewing with friends to show off costumes.
For better or worse, many of our kids are used to seeing each other from a distance this year. There’s no reason we can’t turn this into a positive, though, when it comes to costumes. Schedule a special video meeting or socially distant park gathering to model those fun costumes together.
3. Enjoy a safe walk through the neighborhood.
We all know that one of the most fun parts of Halloween is watching all the kids in costumes walk up and down the block. There’s no reason the walking can’t happen this year as long as proper safety precautions are followed.
It might be just the sense of community you or your neighbors need, even if you’re not stopping to visit this year.
4. Find ways to make masks a part of the fun.
If your family is wearing masks, you can incorporate them into the costumes. Anyone want to draw some kitty whiskers on the mask to make the perfect cat costume for kids?
I don’t know about at your house, but since face scrubbing doesn’t always go over well with my little one, it’s much easier to throw a mask into the laundry. Win/win if she can just pop off her mask and be done with getting clean.
5. Decorate the house in kid-friendly ways for neighbors to see.
Get out that construction paper and make some pumpkins and whatever else you associate with Halloween for kids. Hang your child’s creations around the house, in the windows, and even in places in the car that won’t impede your vision.
6. Connect with your “safe people.”
Do you have a friend or family member who you’ve continued to see safely during social distancing? Even if that person isn’t normally someone you see on Halloween, see if they’d be willing to have your child visit their home (even if just outside) for a special Halloween surprise that you’ve organized ahead of time.
7. Go for a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood.
See how many pumpkins your kids can count on doorsteps, in windows, and perhaps even growing in someone’s garden! How about black cats or other decorations? What else can they find?
8. Start a baking or cooking tradition.
Orange cupcakes, anyone?
Also, remember that game many of us played as kids where we reached into a bag and tried, without looking, to guess the mystery food inside? You can make spaghetti, cut up orange slices, or find some other food with which to play Halloween-ish dinnertime “tricks.”
Alternatively, see if you can come up with Halloween-colored foods to eat with a meal (orange sweet potatoes, pumpkin muffins, black licorice — not necessarily together, but you get the point).
9. Let your neighbors know (perhaps via a sign on your door) whether you’re welcoming trick or treaters.
Some polite and non-alienating language could be something like this:
This GHOST wants to see you the MOST! We need to stay safe so can’t hand you candy, but you’ll find something dandy hidden under our rock…
Okay, I’m not a Halloween poet — but you get the gist.
10. Start a movie tradition.
There are lots of benign and sweet Halloween movies for kids. That said, who says the movie you choose must have anything to do with Halloween? Choose one your family will enjoy no matter the genre.
Other Important Considerations for Halloween for Kids
- If your child is going to go out with a group, review these reminders of how to help keep them safer in public.
- Many adults have been inclined to make Halloween for kids as scary as possible. Knowing how many sensitive kids there are, though (I’ll count myself among them and I’m well beyond kid-age), please keep the decorations gentle and non-frightening. Yes to the black cat and creative pumpkins. No to the zombies. My two cents.
Final points about Halloween for kids:
Talk to your kids about your plan. Engage them in brainstorming. What might THEY find fun? See how many of their ideas you can incorporate into the holiday — the more you do, the more fun it will feel for them.
Respect those with food allergies; Halloween for kids means ALL kids
If you’re looking to keep the holiday inclusive for all the children you know, consider options like these in lieu of many traditional candies. You can also learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Click the images for details: