This year had many challenges, that’s for sure — we all had to adjust to social distancing, quarantining, homeschooling and/or working from home. This new reality doesn’t mean we should forego traditions or stop celebrating special moments, though. With fall holidays, such as Halloween, Yom Kippur, Diwali or Thanksgiving upon us, we must find new, safe ways to enjoy them.
Halloween holds a very special place in most children’s hearts, as it involves costumes and plenty of sweets. This year, however, the CDC recommends against trick-or-treating, which might be disappointing for the little ones. You can prevent that by organizing some fun activities at home. Here are some last-minute, alternative ways to make Halloween fun for your kids, from the safety of your own home:
1. Replace trick-or-treating with a candy hunt in your own backyard
Children — and most adults, to be honest — spend months anticipating the bounty of Halloween candy. With trick-or-treating off the list, you need another fun way to offer sweets. Take a little bit of inspiration from Easter and organize an unconventional candy hunt. Hide candy and other treats in your backyard and inside your home and challenge your kids to find them. You can even turn the activity into a scavenger hunt with clues.
2. Decorate your kids’ bedrooms
Most people usually decorate their home entrances and living rooms for Halloween, but, since you’ll be spending a lot of time at home this year, maybe you should focus on decorating kids’ bedrooms. Now is the time to take your seasonal decorations out of storage and make the most of them. Repurpose things if you don’t have enough spooky decorations for the entire home. Christmas lights can make excellent Halloween decorations if you stick some skeleton cut-outs on them, for example. Or, you can paint your Christmas ornaments and turn them into small, delightful pumpkins you can hang around the house.
3. Have a costume contest
You’ve neglected Halloween costumes this year because you’ll be spending it at home anyway — are your children sad about it? There’s still time to turn it around and make it a fun activity for all the family. How about challenging everyone to create their very own DIY costume?
Intensify the competition with a desirable prize — the winner could, for example, be exempted from doing household chores for a week or two. Prizes can vary, depending on your family’s habits, but if stakes are high, so is the fun. You’ll be needing an impartial referee, so set up an online call with grandparents, other family members, or friends, and ask them to be the judges. DIY Halloween costumes are a great way to stimulate your kids’ creativity and have them happily working alone in their rooms for at least a few hours, so it’s a double win.
4. Turn your living room into a veritable “haunted house”
If your family loves the spooky, scary parts of Halloween and you’re all a little upset that you can’t visit haunted houses this year, here’s an easy fix: make your own. Let your imagination run wild and use things you have around the house for this project.
Tear up old curtains into uneven pieces and hang them from the ceiling, windows or shelves to create creepy cobwebs. An old sheet and some balloons are all you need to make scary ghosts — fill the balloons, preferably with helium, and tie them around your house. Then, throw tattered pieces of fabric ripped from a bedsheet over them, and don’t forget to paint black eyes on the “ghosts.” You can make them even scarier by placing a flashlight or small desk lamp directly underneath them.
A large cardboard box can be easily transformed into a sarcophagus containing a menacing mummy – — use watercolors to paint the box and simple gauze bandage or toilet paper for the mummy. These are just some suggestions — surely your family will find many other great ways to turn your living room into a thrilling “haunted house.” You can even organize online tours to share your creativity with family and friends.
5. Organize a Halloween-themed movie marathon
Halloween movies are always a hit. From classics such as Casper or Hocus Pocus, to more recent productions, like last year’s Addams Family movie or the 2020 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book The Witches, there are many to pick from. Select a few that are suitable for your children’s ages and have a great evening at home — popcorn and candy included!
6. Play spooky Halloween games
There’s a variety of Halloween-themed games you can play with your kids. Draw or print Halloween charades cards, with words such as pumpkin, ghost, skeleton, witch, black cat and so on. Turn a pizza box into a Ouija board for some supernatural fun. Pin the tail . . . on a black cat, instead of a donkey — use paper or cardboard to make a cut-out of a cat and its tail, and some black paint to color it, and you’re all set.
From family games to DIY decorations and movie nights, there are many ways to stay safe and also enjoy this year’s highly unusual holiday season. Happy Halloween to you and your family!