14 Ways to Celebrate Halloween During COVID-19, Even in Quarantine

At Connecticut Children’s, we have a special place in our hearts for Halloween. It’s fun for the sake of fun, and a chance for kids (and adults) to let their imaginations run wild. We all need that to look forward to, especially during this pandemic.

Yes, Halloween this year will be different. But even if your family is in quarantine, there are lots of creative and safe ways to celebrate right at home.

1. Go big on DIY decorations.

Brother and sister dressed up for Halloween in front of DIY Halloween decorations

Build anticipation for the big day by making your Halloween décor a showstopper. Get your child started on crafty sessions now. Think: Paper chains around the mailbox, lights over the door and construction paper silhouettes in the windows.

2. Create a Halloween home movie or play.

It’s the perfect scenario: Everyone already has a costume! Get the family involved in writing a script, building or arranging a “set,” picking out theme music, rehearsing, and filming. Then share it as a “Quarantine-O-Ween” family greeting.

3. Learn a Halloween dance.

This could be the big finale for your home video or play – or just a great way to get some exercise and laugh together as a family. Search YouTube for “monster mash dance,” “monster shuffle” – or choreograph your own, featuring your child’s best moves! Practice then perform, preferably in costume.

4. Plan a scary (or not-so-scary) movie night.

Host a full-length feature with a theme that ties to Halloween or your child’s costume, or plan a marathon of Halloween-themed TV episodes. To make sure your selections are age appropriate, check commonsensemedia.org.

5. Have a Halloween-themed reading hour.

Check your library for book suggestions! Many offer curbside pick-up during COVID-19. (And if you need help getting your child excited about reading, check out these strategies.)

6. Make Halloween treats.

From cookies frosted to look like witch hats to tangerines peeled and garnished with mint to look like pumpkins, the options are endless. Whatever you decide, you’ll be spending time with your child building kitchen skills and having fun.

7. Camp out under the blue moon.

In case you hadn’t heard, there will be a full moon on Oct. 31, 2020 – something that happens just once every 18 or 19 years. It’s also a “blue moon,” aka the second full moon of the month. So set up a tent, and enjoy the show. Howl if you want to.

8. Host a video chat costume party.

Dad and two kids take part in virtual costume party via video chat

Use a video chat app like Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Skype to host a virtual event. Invite your child’s friends to participate in a spooky singalong, dance party or group chat. Want more ideas? Add a Halloween twist to these 23 video chat activities.

9. Join a virtual pumpkin-carving or -painting contest.

Host your own with family and friends, or try searching your online community for virtual events open to the public.

10. Create a Quarantine-O-Ween scavenger hunt.

Instead of your child trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, they can trick-or-treat around the home or yard. Hide treats, create clues, and send your child on a spooky scavenger hunt.

11. Have your child “art direct” a Halloween family photo shoot.

Make planning part of the event. Invite your child to brainstorm several locations to take photos, and make a list of any props you’ll need to have on hand. Then let them “art direct” the photo session – setting up family members in different funny or scary scenes based on their costumes.

12. Create a Halloween home gallery.

Have fun going through old photos of your child and other family members in costume over the years. Display your favorites in a corner of your home with description cards – the year, age and costume inspiration, for example – and have your child to draw or paint original Halloween-themed artwork to add to the collection.

13. Host a neighborhood drive-by trick-or-treat or reverse trick-or-treat.

If you have a yard and the weather allows, talk to your neighbors about scheduling a car parade on your block: Kids (with adult supervision) stay in their own yards while neighbors drive past slowly and gently toss treats out car windows, parade-style. Or have family and friends drop off treats for your child at your doorstep – a contactless twist on the trick-or-treating tradition.

14. Search for drive-through Halloween activities.

Do something special while keeping your family safely inside the car: Check local listings for contactless, drive-through haunted houses, drive-in movie theaters playing Halloween movies, or “haunted roads” – neighborhoods lit up and decorated to the nines.

When the coronavirus pandemic ends, you and your child can return to the trick-or-treating, haunted houses and other Halloween celebrations you love. But until then, have fun trying out new traditions – you may find some to bring back next year.

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