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Trick-or-Treating Alternatives for an Unforgettable Halloween!

* Originally posted in October 2020, but many of these tips and tricks still apply in 2021!

After a tense pandemic back-to-school season, we all need something to look forward to and celebrate. What better way than with candy, community and a fun reason to wear masks since the COVID-19 vaccine isn’t quite ready for little ones yet.

“There’s no reason to cancel Halloween festivities this year,” says Michelle Sterling, St. Joseph’s Children’s Wellness and Specialty Specialist. “As long as you follow guidelines, Halloween may look different, but you can make it fun and festive.”

Related: Fall Festivals, Pumpkin Patches & Corn Mazes, Halloween Events and MORE!

If you decide to go trick-or-treating, Sterling recommends you mingle with families or children that you and your children have already spent in-person time with. Remind your child to stop at the edge of driveways and street corners; look left-right-left before they cross streets; wear or carry something reflective; and wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Related: How to Decorate the Perfect Pumpkin: Fun Ideas from Glazer Children’s Museum

With appropriate precautions in place, pandemic Halloween is doable. Sterling shares five tips to make it one for the books:

  • Wear a mask! Whether your little one channels their inner ninja, werewolf, storm trooper or on-trend plague doctor, you can find a costume that includes face coverings. Make sure it covers their nose and mouth, but eyes should be visible and vision unobstructed. If your little one’s choice does not come with a face-covering, plenty of adorable Halloween face masks are available in stores and online, featuring everything from candy corn and Minions to Star Wars and Harry Potter. (Adults looking to get into the festive spirit will find plenty of options as well!)
  • Create a Halloween-theme scavenger hunt through your home and neighborhood. Write clues and design a route that your kids can follow to get prizes, which can be Halloween-themed trinkets, stickers and treats. It’s a fun way to extend the holiday outside the house and can either replace or act as a lead-up event to trick-or-treating.
  • Trick or treat without leaving your home! If you’re not comfortable leaving the house and mingling outdoors, socially-distanced or otherwise, then here’s an idea that will entertain the littles and involve extended family. Take your little one trick-or-treating indoors, with daddy behind the door of one room, grandma behind another and as many doors as you can manage for your kiddo to knock on. You can decorate each door to add to the excitement.
  • Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, so for all the party animals out there, organize a Zoom Halloween dance party with family and friends and stay up extra late. Or get a group of friends together and watch a (not so) scary movie “together” on Netflix Party.
  • Get extra creative with décor. For many kids who aren’t going out as much as usual—and especially for e-learners—holidays may be muted by not seeing them echoed in store and classroom displays. Make up for that by going overboard with home décor. If you’ve traditionally resorted to a couple of porch pumpkins and a string of lights, maybe this could be the year to splurge on interior and exterior décor, pictures and color themes. Truly creative or ambitious parents might even try and create a haunted house in one of their rooms. “Hype it up for kids to make it fun,” Sterling says.

Get Crafty for Halloween!

Blogger Karimah Henry of shares some fun craft ideas that result in adorable homemade décor.

DIY cereal box tombstone

DIY Cereal Box Tombstones:

Supplies: large recycled cereal box, masking tape, paint brush, craft glue, scissors, grey (2 shades) and black acrylic paint

Directions: Cut off the top front and back flaps of your cereal box but leave the side flaps intact. Next, cut a half circle on both sides of the box to form a tombstone. Connect the side flaps so that they meet in the middle, then tape. Complete the tombstone by taping the sides of the cereal box and the curved top.  Now paint your tombstone with the grey acrylic paint. Allow it to dry. Use leftover cardboard to cut out the letters R-I-P. Finally, paint black or grey, then glue to the cereal box tombstone.

DIY Spider Pumpkin

Supplies: white craft pumpkin, plastic black spiders, black acrylic paint, hot glue gun or craft glue

Directions: Apply black acrylic paint to the stem of the craft pumpkin. Next, use the glue to add the plastic spiders to the pumpkin. You can make a pattern or mix them up.

Paper Spider Web

Supplies: black craft paper roll or wrapping paper, scissors and pencil

Directions: Cut a large square from the roll of black paper. Next, fold paper in half to make a triangle. Fold the paper in half again to make a smaller triangle. Cut along the top so the triangle looks like a cone. Then cut the top to make a curve for the web. Draw the lines of a spider web then cut. Unfold the paper to reveal your cool web.

For more awesome crafts, check out Henry on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest @craftingafunlife.

*Photo provided by Karimah Henry

Anu Varma Panchal
Anu Varma Panchal
Associate Editor Anu Varma Panchal has a master’s degrees in journalism and more than 15 years of experience writing and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Iowa and Florida. She has lived in Florida for more than 10 years, and enjoys raising her two daughters in Tampa Bay. When Anu isn’t writing or editing for area publications, she’s busy driving her kids to all their music and dance activities. She volunteers regularly in her daughters’ schools and Parent Teacher Associations, and spent a wonderful two years immersed in local history as a volunteer in the Tampa Bay History Museum’s Collections department. Although her idea of the ultimate good time is usually found between the pages of a book, Anu also enjoys yoga, her book club, travel, theater and area food and music festivals.

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