Welcome to Halloween 2020…with the scariest guest of all, COVID-19!
How the heck do we make this Halloween special and memorable for our kids? Girl, you know I got you. I’m breaking down everything you need to know in terms of comfort level. Whether you are staying home with just your family, or ready to host a small get together in the backyard, I have TONS of ideas for celebrating Halloween this year in an easy and FUN way!
I was recently asked to share my advice for hosting Halloween parties depending on comfort levels for MARTHA STEWART. Yep, that’s right- the queen. You can read the full article with all my advice here!
Family Only Halloween
The first bucket, is the most cautious bucket. The year of Halloween just as a family at home. No parties, no trick or treating- just you! SO many fun ways to make this special so get ready!
Virtual Party Time
Based on the comfort level of you and your guests, a full on virtual Halloween party may be the route for you! Just because you aren’t celebrating in person, doesn’t mean you can’t have some family fun when it comes to celebrating Halloween with friends and family this year!
One of my biggest tips when it comes to hosting a virtual party is to try and make it as cohesive and consistent as possible for all guests. That way, it feels like you are all looking at and experiencing the same things, even if you’re in your own homes. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to do this is with a virtual background. You can create one for yourself in a free design program like Canva, or just email a picture to have everyone upload on their screens. This way, you’re all in front of the same balloon garland, patterned wall, virtual haunted house, etc.
Food and drinks are another way you can keep consistency at the party. Email your guests a few easy prep or assembly only recipes ahead of time for them to choose. Send at least one appetizer, drink, and sweet treat. As a family, they can decide which one they’ll make and “bring” to the party for you all to eat and cheers the holiday together! Snack mixes, popcorn balls with Halloween sprinkles, sandwiches cut out with themed cookie cutters, quesadillas with jack o lantern faces cut out of the top tortilla, or a caramel apple bar are some of my to go family favorite Halloween snacks and treats!
With everyone sitting and eating together, it would be great for everyone to have the same paper plates and napkins as they would if you were celebrating in person. Holiday themed party supplies are such an easy way to make it feel like a party as well! Grab a few packs of themed paper goods and send them to your guests! You can even break up the packs and repackage into ziplocks to keep it more cost effective and to not give guests way more than they need! Cheering with the same paper cup and black and white straw over Zoom just got way more fun!
Once the decor and food are all set, it’s time to think about how you’re going to keep guests engaged and entertained! Enter, virtual costume competition! The likelihood of our kids showing off their costumes at school and trick or treating may be slim to none this year, so take this opportunity to let them go all out and dress up! Let everyone have their moment to shine via a Zoom runway! You can play music, mute everyone else, and the contestants can walk toward the screen, pose, spin, and walk off. Have each family decide which costume wins in different categories- spookiest, most creative, silliest, overall best costume, etc. Encourage families to do themed family costumes as well!
Making Halloween Special At Home
Create themed rooms. HOW FUN. Give a room to each of your family members and let them decorate it however they want! Obviously, Evie would have a cat room so she’d bring in her cat toys, maybe make a garland of black cat heads, come up with a cat themed game, etc.
I miss art and creativity for my kids. I’m actually having a really hard time with it. And I FULLY understand the pressure on teachers and just the lack of time, which means art falls to the side. BUT, kids need this creative outlet, and I’m trying to figure out ways for that to happen while doing virtual school.
The thing I’m for sure doing, is a Halloween night bucket list. I’m choosing 5-7 activities for the day/night and having them choose one at a time throughout the day to celebrate. Halloween themed dinner, movie night, trick or treat around the house, a Halloween craft or game, like pumpkin paper plate matching, etc. Think of this in terms of stationing your night like a class party would be!
Lots of people are wondering how the heck to replace trick or treating this year. A scavenger hunt is a great way to make it more interactive, prolong it, and make it a little more fun and exciting. Clues can lead kids to little prepackaged bags of candy or candy piles waiting for them around your house.
You can also trick or treat like normal- knock on the door of a bedroom and you and your partner answers and gives out candy. They will think this is SO funny and will probably want to do it over and over- so switch places in rooms quickly! ? You could also think of bigger items/treats vs candy or lead them to a grand finale!
There’s a few glow in the dark activities you can do as well! Think Easter eggs hunt but fill pumpkins (or orange eggs) or do some glow in the dark witch hat ring toss or glow stick painting, etc. Lots of glow in the dark ideas on Pinterest.
For TONS more ideas and recipes, planned for you- grab my digital Halloween Celebration Guide and save some time so you can focus on having fun!
Drive By/Semi Social Halloween
For those ready for a little more social interaction, let’s chat drive by parties. Outside of not going back to school, no trick or treating is going to be the biggest let down for our kids this year. Just because door to door may not be happening, doesn’t mean we can’t give them a similar experience!
Reach out to your community about a drive by trick or treating experience. Rather than having kids reach into a bowl of candy or you pass out, prepare treat packs ahead of time that are ready to go. Since you won’t be having as many kids and families come to your door as usual, you can put that candy money into a bag of treats or small toys for kids. Get a themed cello bag from Target, fill it with store bought goodies, and have them lined up so kids can come and take one, without touching a bunch of things!
Once you’ve set your time and date, start thinking of how guests will participate. Much like a birthday parade, ask guests to dress up their car! Chances are most families won’t be parking and getting out, which means you won’t be seeing a lot of costumes. Instead, challenge families to dress up their car! Pick a theme and go to town. Cars can be transformed into haunted houses on wheels, animals, superheroes, etc. That effort that’ll go into that definitely deserves a prize, so make sure you reward the family that did the best with something fun! A special Halloween dinner gift basket, decorated caramel apples, or everything they need to make their own pumpkin spice lattes or hot cocoas would be fun!
Greet your guests and their decked out cars with a decorated home and driveway as well! Line your driveway with luminaries, lights, play Halloween music, have a balloons garland on your garage doors, transform a pop up tent into a bit of a haunted house, wave glow sticks as they drive by, and just enjoy being out and making new memories this holiday!
Halloween Party Time!
You’ve reached the point of having a few friends and family members over to your backyard to celebrate social distance style! I’ve got a few fun ideas for celebrating at a distance!
When it comes to food, have snack packs put together for kids to grab and eat. These can be in bento box style reusable containers or store bought items in paper handle gift bags, but either way, something to discourage little hands from digging in shared food bowls. Another idea is to provide one item for everyone to share, or drink at the party, then ask guests to bring dinner or bites for their families. That way, they bring what they need, you have what your family needs, and there isn’t any reason to share food.
For an interactive treat station, which every kid loves at a party, you can definitely have a cupcake or cookie decorating station! You can get a pack of paint palette plates on Amazon, and have the trays set up and ready to go before guests arrive. Each kid or family member, gets a plate with a cupcake or cookie, and in each hole where the paint would be, you have an item to decorate with- frosting, sprinkles, candy eyeballs, etc. An independent activity that doubles as a treat- score!
Stations are a great way to social distance at your party as well. I’d suggest 2-3 stations depending on the amount of people you’ll be hosting. One station can be a treat like the cupcake decorating mentioned above, one craft that can double as a party favor, and another game or activity. Pumpkin painting, making slime, pom pom launchers with paper cups and balloons, witch hat ring toss, are all easy, fun and engaging for guests of all ages.
If you’d like to add an element of trick or treating to your party, think about handing out candy after each guest completes one of the stations, or have a trick or treat scavenger hunt throughout the backyard. After guests eat and play, have everyone spread out on blankets or in chairs spaced around your yard and have a costume fashion show! Have each family show off their costumes and vote on which one the group likes best!
Once guests have a chance to show off their costumes, you’re already spread apart so time to put on a movie (all you need is a white sheet on a blank wall and a projector), snuggle up with your treats, and enjoy a Halloween outdoor movie night with your friends and family. You can have a drink dispenser of hot apple cider for guests to help themselves and pre-packaged popcorn bags to hand out once the movie begins!
In need of some FREE party printables?? Grab them here!
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