Halloween is likely to look very different this year because of the pandemic, which I know is already a top of mind concern for many kids!
While we might not be planning the typical Halloween events, I believe we can still make this kid-favorite holiday fun -- if not more fun than in years past. Plus you can start early and make it a whole week of Halloween fun! Here are my 10 ideas for making Halloween special for our kids this year:
1. Halloween candy hunt
Think Easter Egg hunt, but with Halloween candy! Toss or hide wrapped candies around the yard and let the kids find them in the dark with flashlights! Play spooky music for extra ambience.
"Boo" your neighbors and child's friends by surprising them with a basket or bag full of Halloween goodies. Simply leave the gift on their doorstep, ring the doorbell, and RUN! You can let them know who it's from, or leave it anonymously for them to guess. Make sure to include a note inviting them to pay it forward by "boo'ing" someone themselves! I think my kids actually enjoy booing others even more than getting boo'ed! This is a fun tradition perfect for the times we are in.
3. Halloween movie night
Plan ahead and get some Halloween jammies, pick out some fun Halloween movies, make popcorn, surprise your kids with fun treats, and enjoy a family movie night.
4. Not-so-spooky arts and crafts
Make Halloween week a crafting extravaganza! Here's a bat craft that is easy to make. Let your kids hang them throughout the house.
5. Create your own frightening treats
Enjoy Halloween-themed meals, snacks, and treats all week long. Here are four kooky Halloween-themed recipes your kids are sure to giggle over!
6. Host a virtual costume contest or party
Invite friends and family to join you on Zoom and show off your costumes! Make it a dance party or watch a Halloween movie together for even more fun!
7. Family jack-o-lantern contest
Get all of the supplies ready for a fun family contest — you can carve, paint, or get as creative as you want! Make up some fun categories such as funniest, scariest, or lookalike and go all out. Pick up some fun prizes (make sure there's a prize for everyone to keep the family peace!). Check out these four no-carve pumpkin ideas.
8. Neighborhood house decorating contest
Take the kids for a walk around the neighborhood to decide on the house with their favorite Halloween decorations. Perhaps your family can give the "winner" a new yard decoration to add to their collection!
9. Hold a homemade Halloween costume contest
Give your family a set time to come up with a Halloween costume using only items they find around the house. Make sure to take family photos of everyone in their creations! Ready, set, GO!
10. Trunk or Treat with friends and family
Plan a simple trunk or treat with some friends or family. Meet up in a parking lot, spread out, and let the kids go from car to car trunk or treating — while maintaining social distancing and with Halloween masks on.
This year's Halloween celebrations might look different, but we can still make great memories for our kids — and perhaps even start new, not-so-spooky traditions to carry on into the future.
Jennifer Hill is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Fremont, Calif.