Celebrating Halloween Safely Amidst COVID-19
Halloween hasn’t ghosted us yet. It’s still on the calendar. But we are in the midst of COVID-19, so trick-or-treating should look different this year. Is there going to be trick-or-treating? Will people consider being ‘scary’ during the pandemic? Either or, the virus definitely cannot take away the holiday. Here are some ideas to celebrate the spooky fall season while keeping everyone safe.
Make a candy chute
One man in Ohio decided to create a touch-free “candy chute” with a sign at the bottom to show trick-or-treaters where to hold their bags so the candy can drop right in. He only took 20 minutes to make it from an old shipping tube. Now he just has to drop candies from the top into candy bags. Try to think of wild ideas and inspire the community for risk-free trick-or-treating this year.
This can be a perfect socially distant event that can be organized in a large parking lot or driveway in your neighbourhood. Adults can entail decorated vehicles with displays around the driveway and pass out candies. To add an extra level of protection, consider having someone handing out candies instead of encouraging little hands in a bowl of goodies.
Host a reverse trick-or-treating
UNICEF USA is launching a virtual Trick-or-Treat experience. You can add a meaningful purpose to Halloween by collecting life-saving donations for UNICEF virtually. Starting on October 1, teachers, parents, and children can register for their digital, orange box and participate in fun activities to earn “coins” that add up to real-life impact! For more details, visit
Trick-or-Treat for Unicef
Nothing is better than DIY projects. Ranging from decorating houses, making your own costumes, and carving jack-o’-lanterns, try to go wild on the decorations. Pumpkin light jars, mummy door signs, creepy mirrors, you name it. Even if Halloween guests never enter your home, they'll definitely see the front porch so give it a festive feel with a colourful rug, lanterns, mummies and piles of pumpkins. You can also make your own costumes. For example,
Host a virtual Halloween party or pumpkin-carving contest
With advanced technology, there are all sorts of means to make video calls. Zoom, Skype, Google Meets, you name it. Host a Halloween-themed party for friends and family, and have attendees show off their spooktacular costumes on the camera and vote for the best looks. If you are technology savvy, you can also add backgrounds to match with your costume. Besides that, you can decorate and craft pumpkins remotely from your own home during the calls. Organize a virtual pumpkin contest among your family and friends. Consider sharing horror stories during the meeting to enhance the spooky air.
Go big on DIY decorations
Nothing is better than DIY projects. Ranging from decorating houses, making your own costumes, and carving jack-o’-lanterns, try to go wild on the decorations. Pumpkin light jars, mummy door signs, creepy mirrors, you name it. Even if Halloween guests never enter your home, they'll definitely see the front porch, so give it a festive feel with a colourful rug, lanterns, mummies, and piles of pumpkins. You can also make your own costumes. For example, to make a bat costume, you can upcycle an old, possibly broken umbrella into a cute costume.
Search for drive-thru events
Check local listings for contactless, drive-through haunted houses or ‘haunted roads’. The neighbourhoods can be lit up and decorated to provide a unique Halloween experience. Do something special while keeping your family safe inside the car. Here is one example: https://www.hauntoweenla.com
Host a candy hunt
Who says an Easter egg hunt can only happen on Easter? Why not consider hosting a Halloween egg hunt? Fill the eggs with a generous amount of candies. Before sunset, wrap golden bracelets around the eggs and hide them in your backyard with all sorts of fake tombstones or mummies. Tell the kids to gather as many eggs as possible, but limit them to a certain number. Otherwise, there will not be an even number for everyone. Discuss this with your neighbours and host it in nearby parks for all children. Surprise the kids with a variety of sweets!
Make treats with family and friends
Spend time with your family by baking treats and goodies. It can be Halloween layer cake, ghost cookies, ghost s’ mores dip, spiderweb cake, etc. Let children pick the recipe and make it together. Kids can have fun with mixing the ingredients and be creative in the decorations - it’s a perfect Halloween activity! If possible, pack the treats with individual bags and share them with the neighbourhood. Remember to wear a mask if you do so.
Tips to stay safe and fun
Even though there are tons of ideas to celebrate Halloween, it is important to stay safe and maintain social distancing. Try not to get overwhelmed by too many ideas.
Wear a mask at all times when around people who are not in your social circle to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider wearing a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
Don’t share props, toys, or bowls. Keep your swords or wands from passing around. Ask the children to hold onto their candy bags.
Eat candies only when you get back home. You never know what you touch. The best way to enjoy the goodies is to sanitize or wash your hands before gorging all the candies at home.
Avoid attending indoor celebrations with large crowds as those tend to be much more prone to spreading infection.
Understand the amount of risk for each event by the CDC. For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween
2020 is a special year. As we know, everything is far from ‘normal’. Try to find silver linings during this difficult time by being more creative this Halloween. Above are only a few spooktacular ideas. Go big and wild! Just remember to fall back on the basic principles - limit close contact, limit touching points, and make sure to maintain good hand hygiene. Determine what’s best for the family, practice gratitude, and foster community. With these in mind, two words for you: have fun!
Featured image is courtesy of Karolina Grabowska.
Article Author: Michelle Lam
Article Editors: Valerie Shirobokov, Sherilyn Wen