With Halloween just around the corner, you’re probably wondering how to celebrate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s true, social distancing and quarantine guidelines might make Halloween look a little bit different this year. In fact, some areas are already canceling trick-or-treating. But have no fear, because there is still plenty of spooky fun to be had! Whether you’re an adult hoping for an eerie evening or a parent trying to keep the spirit of Halloween alive for your kids, here are 5 socially-distant ways that you can still have a spellbinding time:
1. Have a Halloween-themed movie marathon.
Grab some theater-style box candy, a big bowl of popcorn, and a comfy spot on the couch. Sure, you may have spent a lot of your quarantined time watching TV shows and movies, but now is the time to bust out those Halloween favorites. Remember, 90s movies like Ernest Scared Stupid, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus, and The Addams Family might be familiar to you, but now is your chance to introduce these classics to a younger generation.
Older teens and adults might enjoy starting the night with mystical movies like Sleepy Hollow, Beetlejuice, Coraline, or Practical Magic, before ending the night with terrifying slashers like Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw, and of course, Halloween.
2. Build a bonfire.
There is no better way to set a haunting mood than with a bonfire. Plus, being outside in an open area makes social distancing much easier when celebrating with a select group. Warm some apple cider to keep everyone feeling cozy, then put together campfire favorites like s’mores and pudgy pies to satisfy their Halloween sweet tooth. Next, spend the evening telling ghost stories around a crackling fire. If you’re feeling especially wild, end the night by dancing around the fire and howling at the moon.
3. Make a Halloween-themed dinner.
If you’re trying to gross out young kids, you can’t go wrong with some old-time favorites. Think of turning spaghetti into disgusting brains, hotdogs and ready-to-bake croissants into wrapped mummies, or peeled grapes into slimy eyeballs. For older kids and adults, try making some fall favorites from scratch, like pumpkin soup or chili, homemade breads, and apple butter. The kids can put together a punch potion, and adults can add alcohol to make elixirs.
No matter what you serve, be sure to create an enchanting Halloween mood. First, set a bewitching table using things like your finest plates, crystal drinkware, tarnished silver platters, and wilted flowers or dried herbs. Second, turn the lights down low and light some candles. The glow and flicker of the candles will cast strange shadows. Finally, set the stage with hypnotizing background music. Forget the Monster Mash! Instead, search for playlists on YouTube using terms like “ominous piano,” “creepy ambient,” or “vampire music.”
4. Have some old-fashioned Halloween fun.
Ramp up the nostalgia with a vintage Halloween. Nothing says Halloween like a jack-o-lantern. Put tea light candles in your carved pumpkins, then place them on your porch or window to show your Halloween spirit. Don’t forget to save the pumpkin seeds, which are a tasty snack when roasted in the oven. Younger kids might like to try bobbing for apples, which can be made hygienic by providing individual buckets or bowls. Teens and adults can participate in tarot card and horoscope readings to unearth mystery and intrigue. Finally, the bravest can conjure frights using an Ouija board.
5. Tricks instead of treats.
It’s easy to forget, but tricks are an integral part of Halloween. After all, it’s right there in the saying “trick or treat.” Simple tricks like putting out oatmeal cookies that are labeled as chocolate chip cookies or mixing Skittles into a bowl of M&Ms are harmless, yet fun ways to trick your family. If you’re looking for some silly scares, create a mystery box. You can creep out young kids by placing things like wet noodles or peanut butter into the box, then having them feel the contents before trying to guess what it is. To ramp up the terror, put rubber rats or snakes inside. If its mischief you’re in the mood for, try classic high jinks like prank calling friends and family, putting a rubber band around the sink sprayer, or replacing family photos with pictures of your favorite ghoul.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to some challenging times, but the spooky thrills of Halloween have a way of creating magic and joy. With just a little bit of imagination, you’re guaranteed to summon up a sweet or scary Halloween.