Like everything else in 2020, Halloween is going to look a bit different. People are starting to talk about how it’s going to work and while some people seem keen to still allow trick or treating, with social distancing and wrapped sweets, others feel the risk is too high. We haven’t decided yet how we’re going to celebrate Halloween this year but below are some ideas we’re considering.
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Halloween Sweet Hunt
As sweets are a big part of a Halloween, a simple way to celebrate would be a sweet treasure hunt. With young children you can set this up really simply by giving them a photo of where the first sweets are hidden and then putting a photo of the next location there along with the sweets. For older children you can use written clues and make it as easy or complicated as you want. Alternatively, just hide sweets everywhere and let them hunt.
Have a Two Household Party
In the UK, as long as you aren’t in an area of local restrictions, you can have one other household visit your home which opens up the possibility of a socially distanced Halloween house party. This will only work if there is another household you can invite who would enjoy it. For young children, grandparents who are willing to get involved in silly games would work well. Better still, an aunt, uncle and cousins of similar age. For older children, it could work if there is a family that includes children of suitable ages for yours to play with.
Obviously a party takes a fair bit of work and setting it all up for just a few children might be more than you want to do. I’m considering it because one of our children really loves Halloween and there is a suitable family we can invite (who will also provide us with pleasant adult company!)
With the changes to rules taking place on 14th September this would need to be limited to six people in total.
Have a Mini Halloween Garden Party
If you are really brave, you could kick out all the other adults in your house for the evening and have some other kids round for a garden party. In the UK, up to six people from different households can meet outdoors so, depending on how many children you have, you could invite up to 4 other children round and throw a mini outdoor garden party. This would work best with children who are old enough to socially distance and you could probably relax about that a bit if you stuck with children from the same school bubble.
Halloween games like apple bobbing can be adapted so that each child has their own bowl and apple. You can hang donuts from strings two metres apart for the children to try and eat. If you want to do the types of games where children fish things like plastic spiders out of a bowl of slime or eye balls out of a bowl of spaghetti, you can do it with separate bowls for each child. You can also do simple things like ring toss, using a pumpkin stalk or witches hats as the target.
Have a “Scary” Movie Night
A movie night would be really easy to set up, how scary you want to go will depend on the age of the children involved. If you wanted to make it really special you could hire an outdoor cinema company.
For really little ones, Super Monster Saves Halloween or Room on the Broom* are good choices. For 6-9s, the Hotel Transylvania* movies or the Adams Family remake* are great fun. 9-11 year olds will probably enjoy Coraline* or The Witches*. Older children can be introduced to Halloween classics like Hocus Pocus* or Ghostbusters*.
Whatever you plan to watch, check it out first on Common Sense Media to check its suitable for your child and your family values.
Bake Sweet Treats
How about some Halloween themed baking? There are two ways to approach this, either you could bake treats for the kids or you could get them involved with the baking. Most children enjoy baking so if you get them involved it can feel more celebratory but if you can’t face having them in the kitchen then they’ll still enjoy the treats. You could also compromise by baking something like fairy cakes or biscuits and let them decorate them, think green or orange icing. You can also buy decorations like Halloween sprinkles* sugar paste eyeball* or sugar paper cake toppers*.
Trick or Treat at the Shops
My kids love pick and mix but I’m mean and only let them have it on their birthday so getting it on a Halloween would be a treat for them. Some places have stopped doing it because of Covid but our local Tesco has just changed to wrapped sweets which worked well. Alternatively you could just let them go wild in the sweet aisle with a shopping basket instead of their usual Halloween bucket.
Show off their Outfits
One of the main things kids love about Halloween is the opportunity to dress up so how about a fancy dress parade? This will probably only be possible if you live somewhere with a bit of community spirit but could be a lovely way to celebrate. My thinking is that the safest way to do it would be to plan a route around the village/estate/streets and children join where it passes closest to their house. Each household would walk 1 or 2 metres from the one in front. People who don’t want to join in could wave from their doors. With social media or even just posters in the local area it should be reasonable simple to set up.
With the changes to rules taking place on 14th September this would need to be limited to six people in total so probably not workable unless the rules change before a Halloween.
Pre Arranged Trick or Treating
Younger children might be enjoy a limited version of trick or treating that’s prearranged with family or friends. You could ask them to prepare some wrapped sweets and then drop them into the children’s buckets from a distance. You could then either unwrap them at home and pour them into a dish to eat or even quarantine them for a few weeks (with the bonus that the kids won’t eat them all at once!)
The Next Step of Rainbow Spotting
This is another idea that needs some community participation. People everywhere displayed rainbows in their windows during lockdown and kids loved spotting them on their walks. Lots of people now decorate their houses to show they welcome trick or treaters but this year perhaps people could display a Halloween themed picture in their windows and kids could look out for them, perhaps getting a sweet for everyone they spot.
I’m actually pretty keen on all of these ideas and since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year it’s likely we’ll make a day of it and combine a few of them. Whatever we choose to do, it will definitely involve sweets and costumes, it wouldn’t be Halloween without them!
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