6 Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween This Year (Besides Trick or Treating!)

by | Updated: October 14th, 2020 | Read time: 3 minutes

Celebrating Halloween in the traditional way may be a frightfully bad idea this year.

In late September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that many Halloween activities pose a significant risk to those hoping to avoid COVID-19 infection.

Four Festive Orange Jack o Lanterns on Slate Surface with Light Blue Background to Represent Fun Halloween Activities | Vitacost.com/blog

The CDC categorizes door-to-door trick or treating as a “high-risk” activity. The agency also advises against:

  • Attending Halloween parties
  • Visiting haunted houses
  • Going on hayrides and tractor rides

How can families celebrate everyone’s favorite fall holiday this year? Here are six alternative Halloween activities that can still result in a devilishly good time.

Halloween Activities

1. Work with neighbors to create a “scavenger hunt”

This suggestion from the CDC involves hiding Halloween-themed items around the neighborhood and giving children a list of the treasures they can find.

The CDC deems such an activity to be “low-risk” because the children will be outside and not encountering people the way they normally do going door-to-door.

If you are skittish about sending the kids out right now, create a family-based scavenger hunt inside your home.

2. Plan a family backyard camp-out

Mandy Velez at CafeMom suggests camping out in your backyard on Halloween night. In many parts of the country, it may be too cold to camp outside, and you will have to move the tent inside. But in more temperate climbs, a night in the backyard is the perfect way to celebrate fright night.

“It’s spooky but also gives everyone a chance to tell ghost stories around a fire pit and eat s’mores,” writes Velez.

3. Host a Halloween horror movie night

You and the family – and maybe a few well-chosen friends – can celebrate this Halloween by binge-watching your favorite spooky movies, TV shows or Halloween specials, such as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Again, if you live in a warmer area – or if you have a nice fire pit – haul a big screen or large TV outside. By going outdoors, you can safely invite more guests and soak in the autumn atmosphere.

4. Turn your home into a haunted house

One sure way to conjure up that Halloween spirit is to decorate your home. Jeanette Marantos of the  Los Angeles Times suggests you “go big” this year:

“This may well be the year to pull out the stops decorating in and outside your home, just for the fun of it,” Marantos writes. “String up some lights. Invest in a fog machine. Stuff some old clothes to make a headless scarecrow … or invest in something more elaborate at local stores.”

5. Host an outdoor party

Admittedly, this ramps up the risk a little. Even though you will be outdoors (if the weather permits), it’s pretty tough to keep people social distancing when the spirits – both the spooky kind and the type you find in a glass — are flowing.

Still, if you keep the gathering small and encourage guests to remain as mindful as possible, this can be an opportunity for people to dress up, get together and create great Halloween memories.

6. Modify your trick-or-treat

Finally, if you just can’t bear the thought of skipping trick-or-treat, consider modifying the activity this year.

For example, the folks at Indy With Kids suggest “drive-by” trick or treating, an activity similar to the “drive-by birthday parades” families have hosted during the pandemic.

“Gently throw candy at costumed kids in their yards, like your car is a parade float,” Indy With Kids says.

Another suggestion – from the Halloween & Costume Association – is to host a “trunk-or-treat,” which has become more popular in recent years.

According to the association, during a trunk-or-treat, families gather to park their cars in the parking lot of a school or church: “Then, they open their trunks or backs of their vehicles and hand out candy to children as the kids walk from parked car to parked car.”

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