Halloween in Quarantine: Safer Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating

For over a decade now we’ve shared about how to celebrate our favorite holiday in healthier, safer ways. And this year we are doing just that, but Halloween in Quarantine certainly looks a bit different. Like most things in 2020, however, Halloween could lose it’s fun.

While it might be tempting, the CDC does not recommend traditional trick-or-treating this year, and many households will not be participating – at least traditionally. But that doesn’t mean the holiday fun has to be cancelled! There are many safer alternatives to trick-or-treating that you and your family can do to keep any disappointments at bay and still fight the spread of Covid-19.

First, Some History

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Halloween is a fan-favorite holiday because there is something in it for everyone, whether you’re a horror-buff, an all-out home decorator, or big into makeup and DIY. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself what we’re actually celebrating?

Halloween is one of those rare holidays where there isn’t just one answer. It’s a hodgepodge of culture, customs, and traditions all rolled into one amazing night.

So if you’re looking for something to do this socially-distanced spooky season, make this the year you and your family learn more about the origins of the holiday with some in-home celebrations.

Why Break Tradition?

Many of the traditional Halloween activities we look forward to during “Spooky Season,” like costume parties, haunted houses, and trick-or-treating, aren’t recommended activities this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

This means inevitable disappointment, since many homes won’t be participating this year. And not changing up your routine may be more disappointing for the kids, when there are so many more fun alternatives out there. This year, you’re going to have to figure out how to Halloween in quarantine.

Create New Traditions Worth Carrying Forward

You’ve Been Boo’d

Some people have begun popularizing a form of Halloween chain letter madness called “Booing”. In this game, you secretly deliver treats, a set of instructions and a door sign to two friends in your neighborhood. The instructions tell them to hang the “We’ve Been Boo’d” sign on their door, copy the sign and instructions twice, then deliver them and some treats to two other friends. The idea is to spread the booing to as many people as possible. It’s a fun game and can be a bonding experience for entire towns if it catches on just right!

Get Spooky

As our kids have gotten older and Trick or Treating became less exciting for them, we’ve shifted our excitement over to Halloween decorating. Our attic is full of decorations and props we’ve collected or built over the years ranging from the tame black cats and spider webs, to the creepy, scary, gory body parts and fake organs. We go all out with decorations every year, often built around a theme (we love a good HP house).

This year, why not spend time with your family making your house the talk of the neighborhood? It’s a great way to be creative and be a part of the community, even if you’re not interacting with them.

Pumpkin Carving

Not everyone carves up their Jack-O-Lanterns as soon as they buy their pumpkins. In fact, many wait until Halloween night to get their creativity on and carve up a masterpiece. We do this because it means later that night we can use the pumpkin for puree (tutorial here).

If you’re looking for an activity to do with your kiddos instead of trick-or-treating this year, why not start this tradition yourself? Be sure to save the pumpkin guts and seeds for some super fun family recipes!

How Many Trick-Or-Treating Alternatives Can There Be?

More than you think! If you want to stay home, or are looking for things to do all month long to get into the holiday spirit, here are some more ideas:

Spooky Scavenger Hunt

Pumpkins, skeletons, ghosts- oh my! While many families may not be handing out candy this year, there’s certainly no shortage of haunted decor and Halloween spirit!

Make a list of Halloween related items and go for a walk or drive around and see how many things you can check off. Not sure what to put on the list? Here are a few of our ideas to get you started:

  • Jack-O-Lantern
  • Skeleton
  • Gravestone
  • Spider web
  • Witch
  • Ghost
  • Spooky Music
  • Strobe Lights
  • Crime Scene Tape
  • Fake Blood
  • Vampire
  • Clown
  • Black Cat
  • Blue Pumpkin
  • Gravestones

Whoever checks the most off first wins. Remember- no cheating!

yes, that was actually our house

Host A Virtual Halloween in Quarantine Costume Contest

Just because you might not be dressing up to go trick-or-treating this year doesn’t mean you can’t still get your DYI on and show off some amazing Halloween costumes.

Have your family dress up in their best haunted garb and hold an online costume contest! Post pictures to Facebook or Instagram and have friends and family vote on their favorites.

Voters can comment their votes on the post itself, or you can get fancy and use applications like Facebook Polls or Google Forms to create your own voting system.

Post the pictures a week before and announce the winners on Halloween night! Keep it small, with just your family, or go big and include the whole neighborhood.

some of our costumes in years’ past

Some fun ideas for multiple categories winners:

  • Best In Show
  • Most Original
  • Scariest
  • Funniest
  • Best Couple’s
  • Most Elaborate

Alternative To Costumes

If you’re not into dressing up, you can always do pumpkin carving contests, or compete against your neighbors for who’s the best halloween decorators!

Halloween in Quarantine Candy Hunt

This is a variation of the Easter egg hunt and is a great way to keep the spirit of Halloween alive while maintaining safe social distancing practices.

All it takes is hiding candy in various locations outside (or inside if you’re planning to stay in), and then setting your kids loose to find it. Have a small neighborhood “pod” you and your family see on a regular basis? Invite them along!

Just be sure to increase the radius of your hiding area to accommodate the amount of people candy-hunting. This helps to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy this Halloween!

Watch a movie

For some of us, staying in is the halloween tradition. After all, someone has to mind the candy basket, right? The bright side of fewer trick-or-treaters this year is that Halloween is now the perfect night for a spooky movie night!

Whether you’re big into scary flicks, or much prefer something with comedic relief, there’s a movie out there just for you. If you need ideas for what to watch, check out our recent post with our top picks for your next Halloween movie night!

Throw Your Halloween in Quarantine Party Virtually

Bummed your Halloween party is cancelled for the first time in 10 years? Don’t cancel it: take it online, instead!

There are so many options for video-conferencing, and (depending on the amount of people you want to invite) a lot of them are free. Zoom is a great choice if you’re looking to go big. Google Hangouts is free for up to 10 guests, and FaceTime is free for up to 32!

Create Evites with times and call-in info, and send them out to your usual Halloween party crew. The best part? People can pop in and out as they please, meaning you could potentially get party-goers who live out of state or aren’t able to make your event due to traditions of their own!

Safety Note:

If you’re determined to host an in-person gathering this year, be sure to not only follow CDC guidelines, but state-specific safety measures.

Our tips:

  • Don’t offer communal food and/or beverages,
  • Avoid contact like hugs and hand shaking,
  • Leave hand sanitizer around everywhere,
  • Make sure to wear a mask, (It’s Halloween: there’s no better time than now to wear one!)
  • Host the event outdoors, or in a spacious, well ventilated warehouse-type space
  • If you’re feeling sick, or have been in contact with someone who’s sick, stay home. Doing your part to stop the spread can help save vulnerable lives.

Remember: You’re doing Halloween in Quarantine. The idea is to avoid anything that might increase infection risk. If it seems like too much contact, don’t do it!

Cook together

Here are some of our favorite recipes from Healthy Halloween recipe round ups from years past. Check them out for more inspiration!

What did we forget? We’d love to hear ideas you and family and friends are up to this year!


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