Remember how naive we all were back in, say, May, when we thought Halloween was so far off and things would totally be back to “normal” by the time the fall holiday rolled around?
Yet here we are, Halloween so close we can sneeze on it (but don’t because, Covid), and parents are stuck trying to make decisions about how to celebrate safely. Decision fatigue is a very real thing, and we don’t blame you for feeling stressed about how to give your kiddos the Halloween they deserve while also keeping them healthy and safe.
At Duluth Mom, we came up with a few alternative ideas to the more traditional trick-or-treating we’re all used to (and hey, it’s okay to mourn the loss of trick-or-treating with your kids this year; you’re allowed to grieve over it). Hopefully, you can still make some great memories despite the unusual circumstance that is 2020. As always, use both your comfort level and the CDC guidelines as your guide.
Good for: everyone who can wear masks and follow social distancing rules.
Host a pre-planned neighborhood block party! Contributor Laura printed flyers for her neighbors inviting them to participate in a street-wide, safe trick-or-treating event. Households are asked to set up stations at the end of their driveways with goodies that children can take as they walk by. Each station should also have hand sanitizer available and all participants must wear masks.
Similarly, you can coordinate or attend a trunk-or-treat event that follows the same guidelines. Set up in a neighborhood parking lot (make sure you have permission from the lot’s owners!) and park your cars in a socially distant fashion. Pop those trunks and let the little ones go from car to car to grab a pre-packaged treat and a squirt of hand sanitizer.
Good for: pods or bubbled households; mask-wearing is up to your previously agreed-upon arrangements between households.
Some families have safely created pods or bubbles with extended family or other family friends. If you’ve already done so, consider making a plan to celebrate Halloween together. Host a Cousin(/friend/family) Costume Contest for the whole pod with prizes that rival a full night of trick-or-treating. My vote as the top costume prize would be a plastic cauldron full of “the good candy” but feel free to get creative.
Warm up the car and drive-and-treat at each other’s homes. Park at the curb and let the kiddos run up and ring the bell. Drive around the block and do it again! When it’s your turn to hand out the candy, let the kids do the work. They’ll all love getting to play both roles of trick-or-treater and candy distributor with their bubble family and friends.
Good for: individual households, no need for masks–get comfy with your little ones and stay at home!
If your household is cool with it, just stay home! I think this works best for families with younger children who don’t yet know that they’ll be missing a night of free candy and other goodies. Watch your favorite spooky movie with a pumpkin spice candle burning and a bowl of fun-size Snickers on the coffee table. (Or, if it’s before baby/toddler bedtime, watch Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest with a bowl of yogurt bites on the coffee table and save the scarier stuff for later in the evening.)
Alternatively, you can plan a Halloween candy treasure hunt in the house. Give your dressed-up little ones plastic pumpkins or pillowcases and have them search the house for pre-hidden items. They’ll love the game and you’ll love having control over what candy or trinkets they get to keep. No meltdowns about wanting to eat 6 half-unwrapped Double Bubbles they’ve brought home from going door-to-door.
Remember: Halloween is a Season
Don’t forget that you can create a memorable Halloween with your kids by spreading out the fun. While it feels like the heart of the holiday is trick-or-treating, you can use other, safe traditions to celebrate for days or weeks in advance. Carve or paint Jack-o-lanterns together, bake and decorate sugar cookies shaped like bats and cats, curl up with a Halloween-themed picture book, rake leaves out front, and dance around the house to a special spooky music playlist.
Happy Halloween! Stay safe and make sure to still charge “mom tax” on your kids’ Halloween haul, whatever it may look like this year!