I'm Going All Out This Halloween—and I'm Doing it Safely

Halloween will look a lot different this year, but that doesn't mean your family can't make the most of it. Here's how I'm keeping Halloween festive during the pandemic.

Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkins on rustic wooden background
Photo: Getty Images

For our family, the holidays have always been such a big deal. We love decorating and planning each one—and sometimes we start as early as summer.

So, when I recently broke the news to my 4-year-old that the coronavirus pandemic would impact our Halloween plans, there was no hiding the heartbreak in her eyes. As a mom, it hurts to see your kids impacted by the social changes the pandemic has caused. That's why I've made it my mission to still make the most of Halloween this year.

In the past, Halloween adventures included decorating our front yard, passing out candy, going to local festive events, meeting up with friends, and ending the night by trick-or-treating for a couple hours. My plan is to stick to social distancing guidelines, so we won't be able to participate in the majority of those activities this year. But 2020 is a great opportunity to start some new traditions, so here's how I'm not celebrating Halloween with my kids this year.

Planning Together

It's more important than ever to make our kids feel special. That's why I'm taking more time to plan Halloween with my daughter this year. We started with doing an inventory of the Halloween décor that we already have and making a list of things we need. My daughter is set on us needing "29 more Halloween inflatables" and more pumpkins to create our own pumpkin patch at home.

She is also very specific on the kind of candy she wants—she thinks it's a good idea that we stick to sour candy only, because chocolate "makes you too thirsty." And since we love matching our costumes as a family every year, she's already picked out what we are going to wear.

I've noticed that planning together has really elevated her mood. And she keeps telling me how excited she is to show her baby brother how great Halloween is.

Going Overboard with Decorations

My goal is to not only decorate the front yard, but also decorate the inside of our home and the backyard a little more than I have in the past. My husband understands the importance of trying to make the holidays extra special this year so he's all for over-the-top decorations. Luckily, I have tons of boxes of Halloween décor that I have collected over the years to help start the decorating a little earlier than usual.

We never quite managed to carve out and paint pumpkins in the past, but this year I promised my daughter that we would and decorate the backyard with them. Even if you don't have a backyard, putting pumpkins (big or small) around the house will do the trick.

Quick tip: I made a quick stop to Target and the dollar store for extra décor earlier this month. These are my go-to place to get lots of decorations on the cheap. And if you're avoiding stores this year, you can order anything Halloween-themed on their websites.

Hosting a Halloween Zoom party

Also, new for us this year will be our Halloween Zoom party with our family and friends. I feel this will bring some sort of normalcy and connection as she'll get to see family and friends dressed up in their costumes. Sure, it's not the same type of social interaction, but I think my daughter will enjoy virtually admiring everyone's costumes rather than not being able to see family and friends dressed up at all.

Having a Halloween-Themed Dinner

Our Halloween night will end with take-out from our favorite restaurant and a spooky backyard dinner experience. Small details matter that's why I bought the cutest Halloween plates, napkins, and utensils at the dollar store.

For some added entertainment, I already have a Halloween night playlist ready to go as we chow down. My daughter's requests? The Frozen 2 soundtrack, followed by Trolls World Tour and then songs from Vampirina.

We love pumpkin everything in this house (except for my husband, ha!) so we'll end the dinner with a pumpkin pie. On the dessert menu is also Rice Krispie treats we'll be making with Halloween candy mixed in.

Going Easy on Myself

It's no secret the pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. And many parents may feel overwhelmed at the thought of even planning anything for Halloween. I get it. But from my experience, you don't need to spend a lot of money or energy to make it special; just try your best to make it festive. That can be simply purchasing your kid's favorite candy, dressing up as a family, or staying up later than usual watching some Halloween-themed movies.

In the end, all that really matters is your effort, spending quality family time together, and making a pandemic Halloween as memorable as possible.

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