19 Alternative Halloween Ideas

19 Alternative Halloween Ideas During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Not Halloween Too…! There’s no denying we might be up against Alternative Halloween plans this year. Have you figured out what your family will do for Halloween 2020? The CDC recently stirred things up with guidance discouraging a traditional Halloween. Locally, hosts of some of the popular annual Halloween parades have canceled their events. It’s hard to imagine Halloween going off as usual when we struggled for so long to figure out how the school year will start and continue. But just because it may not be safe (or socially supported?) to go trick-or-treating door-to-door this year doesn’t mean you can’t still create a wildly fun and memorable Halloween 2020 for your kids! 

Is Halloween Canceled?

It’s almost time, but it’s still tough to guess what to expect this year for Halloween. Despite recent lock-downs and quarantines and whispers of a second or third wave, it sounds like this truly social holiday will still go on with individual discretion. Community members, parents, and households can decide how they would like to celebrate Halloween on an individual basis. Will you give out candy? Will you let your kids go trick-or-treating? Will you opt instead to create unique memories doing other fun Halloween activities?

What could trick-or-treating look like in 2020 in different areas of the country?

  • Personal Choice – Perhaps each family will make plans based on their own comfort levels. For those going trick-or-treating, I’d assume the standard house light rule would apply.
  • Township-by-Township Rulings – If you’re accustomed to finding out when your community celebrates Halloween, this may be no different. Townships may offer a firm decision on whether Halloween trick-or-treating will take place this year.
  • State Mandates – Presumably, the governor could offer a ruling on whether or not Halloween is canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While no child wants to hear “Halloween is canceled,” if the virus outbreak is that bad, it could be reality this year.

Even if the local or state government decides Halloween is canceled, remember you can still create your own Alternative Halloween fun family experience. Consider these fun alternatives to trick-or-treating! Keep reading or skip down a bit to get to the big list of Halloween alternatives!


Alternative Halloween 2020 Ideas

Social Distancing Halloween Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt for Candy

Covid-19 changed so much for our kids this year. Schools took the brunt of it, but play dates, sports, activities, clubs, swim lessons, and vacations all felt the pain.

Just like school plans, Halloween preferences may vary among parents. Your decision is your own, unless of course there is no Halloween this year. If the government cancels Halloween or even if you simply choose to bypass trick-or-treating, you can still make awesome memories.

One of my favorite surprises for my kids is a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt with blacklight flashlights that we will do as the grand finale on Halloween night! They already know we have the flashlights because we’ve done some glow in the dark crafts lately, but the candy hunt will be a fun surprise!


Try these fun trick-or-treat alternatives with your crew:

  Alternative Halloween Plans in the Neighborhood 

    1. Neighborhood Halloween Parade – Plan to walk through your neighborhood in costume on Halloween night. Bring masks and keep your distance. Have fun waving to your neighbors from the street. Even if Halloween gets canceled, nothing says you can’t enjoy a walk through your community.
    2. Neighborhood Jack-o-Lantern Contest – Spread the word to your neighbors that you’re going to have a Jack-o-Lantern contest this year! Each home should carve one or more pumpkins to perfection to participate. Consider offering a prize if you get enough interest! (Find out how to make our epic unicorn jack-o-lantern here!)
    3. Community Decorating Contest – Encourage your whole neighborhood to decorate their yards for Halloween. Set a deadline so everyone gets theirs done by a certain date. Then take a drive or go for a walk with your kids to enjoy all the creative sights.
    4. Halloween Car Parade – Just like the pandemic birthday parades, a Halloween car parade can be a neat experience in these uncharted waters. Decorate cars in a Halloween theme and take a drive through the neighborhood. 

      Halloween at Home

    5. Trick-or-Treating at Home – Take turns letting your kids knock on your door in costumes and give them candy. Allow them to change costumes and do it all over again! Or, go inside each room of your home with a door and let them knock on those. Plan to have different kinds of candy for different rooms to keep it exciting!
    6. At-Home Costume Fashion Show – Using some fabric, make a red carpet – or an orange carpet in honor of Halloween. Have your kids dress up in costume and strut their stuff on the makeshift runway. Take lots of photos, play music, and have fun! Make up silly categories and give prizes for “best” this or that, scariest, silliest, etc. Make sure each child wins!
    7. Halloween Party at Home – Even if it’s just your immediate family, you can still have an awesome Halloween party at home. Make fun fall themed food, like zombie hot dogs (wrapped in crescent roll dough or soft pretzel dough). Make a fun Halloween punch using Hawaiian punch, Sprite, and sherbet. Decorate, play music, and have fun. Don’t forget the amazing dessert table featuring lots of fun Halloween-themed sweets!</li>
    8. Halloween Dance Party – Play spooky tunes and let the kids go wild dancing. Put up a disco ball or other fun LED light to make the experience even more memorable!
    9. Haunted House at Home – Choose a room in your home and let your entire family decorate it like a haunted house! (Or surprise your kids while they’re sleeping and have it ready for Halloween.) Be sure to find a playlist of creepy haunted house sounds to make it more authentic.
    10. Virtual Halloween Party – Halloween is definitely more fun with friends! Set up a virtual meeting to show off your costumes, enjoy some snacks, and play some games. Invite grandparents, cousins, or friends to keep those connections as strong as ever.
    11. Stuffed Animal Costume Party – Little girls like mine especially will love this activity! Tell your kids you’re having a stuffed animal Halloween party! (A doll Halloween party could also be fun.) Decorate one room of the house and make a special Halloween treat. Have them dress up their favorite stuffies in costumes. TIP: You can also get small dog Halloween costumes for dressing up stuffed animals on 90% off clearance at Big Lots a couple weeks after Halloween!
    12. Halloween Pinata (or Make Your Own!) – Since it may not be a good idea going door-to-door to get candy from strangers, consider this Halloween alternative. Buy a pinata or make your own and let your kids smash the ever-loving daylights out of it as candy sails in every direction! Mom and Dad for the win right there!
    13. Glow in the Dark Candy Hunt – Give your plastic Easter eggs a new lease on life. (Or buy some new ones specific for this purpose!) Buy glow-in-the-dark plastic eggs you can fill with candy or decorate your own with glow-in-the-dark puffy paint. This is going to be epic! Hide the eggs around your house and give your kids black light flashlights to find them in a glow-in-the-dark candy scavenger hunt!
      Halloween Scavenger Hunt Glow Eggs
    14. Spooky Sensory Lab – Get some bowls from your kitchen. Fill them with uniquely textured foods like Jell-O, spaghetti, peeled grapes, and so forth. Turn out the lights or blindfold your kids and tell them what each bowl contains… Monster brains, Creepy-Crawly worms, Zombie eyes. Make up your own for a thrilling alternative Halloween activity!
    15. Halloween Game Challenge – Put together a fun list of spooky games to play. Try the toilet-paper zombie if you can spare a square. Do a pumpkin ring toss where you try to get the rings on the stem. You can find or make up lots of other fun games, too.
    16. Halloween Movie Night – Once your night is winding down, put on a kids’ Halloween movie. Something like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is classic and (aside from the name-calling) largely family-friendly for most ages.
    17. Manhunt in Your Yard (Older Kids) – Playing hide and seek in the dark is a blast, especially for teenagers. If you have older kids, let them play this thrilling game in your yard (provided your yard is safe for that sort of thing). If you are comfortable with another family with kids of that age, consider including them in the fun.
    18. Laser Tag Tournament – Get a laser tag set for your family to use and enjoy this exciting new game! Whether this is your first time playing or your 10th, laser tag can be a great Halloween activity. This is certainly going be a Halloween no one is going to forget.
    19. Candy Scavenger Hunt – Hide King Size candy bars around your house with clues to help your kids find them. Help your little ones figure out the clues if they get stuck. For a tricky twist for your older kids, make it educational with math clues or clues written in other languages.

Celebrating Halloween During a Pandemic

As a parent, I think I speak for most of us when I say, I never imagined we’d be raising our kids while navigating through a global pandemic. Barring any formal cancellations, parents face this choice of what to do for Halloween 2020 on an individual basis. Personally, I think the risks outweigh the benefits for us. I feel strongly that we can create a fun and memorable evening that *doesn’t* involve tons of exposure and candy collection from a majority of – for lack of a better term – strangers. The exposures alone are enough to hold us back on this one.

I mean, let’s be honest here – exposures will happen. You’ve got to be okay with that if you plan to go trick-or-treating. Most people like to open their doors and see all the kids in costumes who come right up and take candy right out of the bowl they’re holding. They give out compliments alongside candy and everyone has a lovely time. Well, usually.

Once we had a kind of creepy experience. The guy literally scrutinized each of the kids in our group and very specifically chose which piece of candy to hand each kid based on what they looked like and whatever was going on in his head at that moment. (shudder) My mama Spidey sense perked up at that point, but most likely (hopefully) this was just a very weird and uncomfortable experience rather than anything of true worry. Still, glad we go around with our kids! This year may be full of Alternative Halloween plans, though.

Halloween 2020 Scare Factors

If Halloween is canceled, it’s going to be disappointing for sure. And if it isn’t canceled, what to do about Halloween 2020 is going to be yet another tough call for parents to make this year. Planning ahead and putting protocols in place could help to minimize chances of something going awry. These are some of the Halloween 2020 worries that would keep me up at night:

  • Social Distancing is Impossible! Most people open their doors for trick-or-treaters. It’s a very personable and personal experience. This year is not exactly the best candidate for an up-close-and-personal kind of Halloween encounter.
  • Secret Snacking Possibilities… Kids receive candy to EAT when trick-or-treating, and may sneak samples without us knowing. (We have rules to wait until we get home and check it. However, we’d be naive to believe there’s no chance of deviation from said rules.)
  • Chasing with Hand Sanitizer! I’m trying to picture how it would even work, before and after every house… Just accepting it’s practically impossible to safely sanitize on trick-or-treat night. Not knowing if they are sneaking candy AND not sanitizing… (head spinning, ugh)
  • Infographic and Covid Simulator Nightmares – Picturing the red balls (infected) from earlier Covid-19 simulators transposed with jack-o-lanterns and bouncing around the neighborhoods on Halloween night makes my head hurt. Not to mention all the earlier inforaphics we’ve seen to suggest our risks skyrocket the more people we’re around. Say we go to 40 houses, that’s 40 exposures and I don’t know — does that grow infinitely as dozens or hundreds of other trick-or-treaters also make their way through this Halloween matrix?
  • Quarantining Candy? Checking Halloween candy is important any given year – heck, there’s a story that my mother-in-law found a razor blade in a candy bar when my husband was little! I can’t even imagine my anxiety if I had to check and literally quarantine every piece of candy this Halloween amid the coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic! Do you really think my four-year-old is going to abide by the “don’t eat it till I check it” mandate? I’m not so convinced about either of them, truthfully. 

It’s a lot to think about! With this in mind, we’ve decided to do a glow-in-the-dark candy hunt, a homemade Halloween pinata, and trick-or-treating at the doors in our home. We bought a bunch of full-sized bars for our daughters. I think the girls will be excited! 

Capturing Alternative Halloween Memories

Despite the crazy year it’s been, be sure to capture those Halloween 2020 memories. The stark difference between this year and previous Halloweens will still warrant space in your albums and photo books. Capture your alternative Halloween memories on camera and video. Get your kids to talk about their experience besides showing off their costumes. Here are a few more fun ways to capture your memorable alternative Halloween:

    • Give your kids their own digital camera. Let your little ones document the day in their own personal way. You’ll love seeing life from their perspective, whether it’s fun selfies or abstract photos of your ceiling, or floor. If you don’t want another digital camera, enjoy the novelty of the FujiFilm Instax Mini 9 Camera and its ability to print out cute little photos instantly. (Note well, this one isn’t digital and won’t save your photos in a digital format.) Alternatively, I LOVED seeing my four-year-old running around with my old Canon PowerShot Elph digital camera. The pictures she took are truly day-in-the-life style and make me so happy to see her embracing something I enjoy with her own perspective. To save on the expense, you could also get an old school disposable camera. (Apparently, they do still make them!)
    • Create a fun Halloween photo booth! Make different backdrops and gather fun props for lots of photo fun. Show your kids how to take selfies or use an instant camera for the full effect. Or, simply hook up a  smartphone-compatible photo printer for immediate gratification of your creative endeavors!
    • Take photos just like always. Even if you don’t go trick-or-treating this year, be sure you still snap pictures. Have a Halloween photo shoot in your yard and make sure you text photos over to the grandparents.
    • Make a funny Halloween video compilation with your kids’ friends. Ask parents to shoot a very short clip of each child catching and tossing a pumpkin. Pumpkin comes in from the left and goes out on the right. Get all the clips submitted and edit them together so it looks like each friend is tossing a small pumpkin to the next! Add music to make it a favorite Halloween compilation.

If you have more fun ideas for Halloween 2020, please share them in our comments below! No matter what happens, we hope your family has a fantastic fall and an awesome Halloween.

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