Halloween is on the way, and things are still…weird. Said weirdness will, more than likely, interfere with many of the traditions of the holiday. Still, we can’t let these unprecedented levels of Weirdness put a complete kibosh on Halloween Fun! To that end, we present to you, in no particular order… 5 FUN HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES (THAT YOU CAN DO WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING)
1. Halloween-themed Arts and Crafts
When it comes to family activities, there are few as versatile as Crafting. Pumpkin painting, slime making, paper ghosts and pipecleaner goblins, there’s something for everyone! Younger kids with short attention plans? Lollipop Ghosts! Just take a Lollipop, wrap it in a tissue with colored ribbon, and draw some eyes with marker. For something more off the beaten path, we recommend Halloween Melt & Pour Soap Making. Make your own soaps using moulds of Ghost, Skulls, Bats, and other thematically-appropriate icons. If you’re interested, we offer a DIY Kit on our website.
2. Candy Hunt
Since traditional Trick-or-Treating is likely not an option this October, we’re here to offer an alternative. Something to scratch the itch for the childhood experience of going on an adventure, with sweet and colorful treats as the reward. Borrowing a page from the Easter playbook, host your own in-house Candy Hunt! This can be as simple as hiding treats around the house or your back yard, but if you’re willing to get into the holiday spirit with something more elaborate, here’s some ideas;
For Energetic Kids - A ‘Monster Mash’
Fill balloons with candy, stickers, etc, and have the kids dress up as Monsters to stomp on them! You can use orange balloons and green ribbon for “Pumpkin Busting,” paint spooky faces on the balloons for something more Ghoulish, or even paint them with buildings to let the kids Godzilla Stomp their way through a candy city!
For Brainy Kids - A Scavenger Hunter!
To get that feeling of Adventure that kids get from Halloween, hide candy around the house, and give your kids clues to track it down! The riddles themselves will differ depending on what hiding places you have in your house, and whether you can tie them to memories you and the kids made at those places, but here’s some pretty universal ones to get you started!
I’m on your Left and your Right, hopefully I’m not too tight.
Answer: hidden in a shoe
I have a sound that goes beep, and though I do keep time, my main function is to heat.
Answer: in the microwave
I have a big mouth, but I don’t gossip, even though I’m involved with everyone’s Dirty Laundry
Answer: in the washing machine
I have 4 legs but no feet. When you get tired, have a seat
Answer: chair (under, behind, etc)
I’m in the kitchen, and you’ll never eat me, but your 4 legged friend loves to greet me
Answer: pet food (best put candy in plastic bag)
I’m quite dirty, but can be beautiful too, you’ll find me in colors, like reds, pinks, and blues.
Answer: Potted flowers (again, best put candy in plastic bag)
I’ll keep you cool on a hot sunny day, but don’t forget to put me down, or I’ll blow away.
Answer: in an Umbrella
You’ll fill me up and then drain me when done, adding bubbles always makes me more fun.
Answer: in the Bathtub
Inside here you will find coats and shoes. Keep it organized so you know whose are whose.
Answer: in the Closet
3. Trick Out the House (It’s a real Treat)
Who says decorating the house should be limited to the outside? Bring the spirit of the holiday into your home, by filling your home with Holiday Spirits! Miss that feeling of wandering around the neighborhood and admiring all the decorations? Share the pictures of your decorations with your friends, and encourage them to do the same. You can even go so far as to film Virtual Tours of the house ,to show off how Spooktacular the place is! If you’re looking for some unique decorations to get you started, we offer a selection of artisan Painted Wood Signs and Paper/LED Light Halloween Banners at our website.
4. A Backyard Family Costume Party
Miss that feeling of being surrounded by people in costumes? Assemble that group of people yourself! Get your social group together, and party the night away! We recommend checking out this page from the CDC on Halloween actives and best practices. If your costume doesn’t already include a mask, we do offer Halloween-Themed Face Masks, to help you stay in the holiday spirit.
Still, a party isn’t a party unless there’s games to play, so here’s fun party games you can play while social distancing:
This game was created back in 1953, but the creators couldn’t decide on a name for it until 5 years later (given the nature of the game itself, the irony is palpable). Think of it as the original Cards Agains Humanity. There are a few different version of the game, but for social distancing purposes, we recommend the original version. For those new to the game, the rules are as follows:
Radial Beer Pong (Alcohol is Optional. For kids, call it “Ring Ball”)
Here’s where social distancing can act as a game-mechanic. For those not familiar, the rules are exceedingly simple (its WAS designed with drunk people in mind). Just toss ping-pong balls (or similar small objects) into those Red-Plastic Party Cups to score points. Generally, this is played with the player seated at one end of a table, and the plastic cups at the other end. However, in the Radial version, multiple players are situated around a set of cups, and all try to get their balls in. Due to social distancing, as more people join the circle, the circle greatly expands, increasing the distance the balls need to be tossed. If you find it’s too far to get the balls in reliably, you can switch to “Horse Shoe Rules,” where you get points for how close you managed to get it. To tell people’s balls apart you can either have them take turns, or draw on the balls with maker.
Note: To further guard against infection, players should wear gloves when handling the cups and balls. Good news if your costume already has gloves!
Human Inflatable Bumper Bubble Ball
This is essentially just soccer (or “Football” outside the States) with one essential distinction: the addition of Body Bumper Bubbles. These are a human-sized plastic balloon that goes around your body, acting as a giant bumper. This a real thing that exists in the real world.
Caution: The bumpers will help to enforce social distancing, but they’re also unsafe in other ways (for a variety of obvious reasons). We highly recommend adult supervision with kids.
5. Stories of the Season
Home Scary Movie Marathons have been a staple of Halloween since the explosive popularity of VHS Players in the 1980s. Horror fans are all too eager to post their own ‘Top 5/10/40/10,000 Halloween Films” list, even in the middle of July! However, for families with younger children (and/or people who are just sick of looking at screens) indulging in these Spooky Spectacles is not a viable option. For a low-tech, more Family Friendly experience, we recommend utilizing the OG mass-market conveyer of fiction: Books! Whether you’re reading to the family while you gather ‘round the fire (that’s playing on your laptop), telling the story to your child while they’re tucked into bed, or just handing it over a young reader to help them develop a love of literature, everyone loves a good Scary Story! Here’s a few of our personal recommendations…
The Bunnicula series, by James & Deborah Howe
Horror Intensity: Mild
This series that was published from the late 1970’s to the early 2000s, follows the adventures of Bunnicula, the Vampire Rabbit that sucks the juice out of carrots. The series is told from the perspective of the family dog, Harold, who interacts with a whole cast of animals and pets. The story’s laid-back tone and dry sense of humor makes it a friendly entry into the horror genre for kids, while also having enough wit and charm to endear it to adults.
The Goosebumps series, by R. L. Stine
Horror Intensity: Medium
An unmistakable fixture of the 90s, this Horror anthology was popular enough to be adapted for the screen, both big and small. When you picture an American kid reading a scary story by flashlight under the bed covers, these are the types of books they’re holding. The stories are mostly disconnected from each other, with only a few of them getting direct sequels. Much like the aforementioned Horror Movie Fans, Goosebumps fans are all too eager to post “Top X” lists of their favorite entries in the series, so there’s plenty of resources to help you pick which ones to read. While generally not being too scary, the series was always intended for “Middle Readers,” and some may be too intense for younger children.
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
Horror Intensity: Extra Spicy!!!
This is story about a young girl (the titular Coraline) who travels through a doorway to a seemingly perfect version of her life, only to find out it’s an illusion by an Evil Being intent on trapping her. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the stop-motion film adaptation from 2009. I enjoyed that film greatly, however, it does not capture the deeper emotional horrors of the story. What truly fuels the horror of the story isn’t the physical danger presented, but how vulnerable and identifiable the main character is. Neil Gaiman does a masterful job of capturing the insecurities and frustrations that children experience as they transition into their adolescent years, and the way her “Other Mother” preys on those feelings speaks to the anxiety we all feel about being taken advantage of. Especially by someone with a familiar face and an offer “too good to be true.” Recommended for Middle School and up, and only the ones who can handle more intense content.
Kristen Zachares, owner and founder of The Eclectic Chic Boutique.