Spooky, fun and socially distant: Creative Halloween ideas for kids during Covid

Written by: Fiona Royer

Socially distant Halloween ideas

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

“Halloween is an opportunity to be really creative” – Judy Gold

Never has that been more true than now. So how do you embrace creativity and find a way to celebrate during these strange times?

Lights tour
When our children were babies we would stroll through the neighborhood on a night prior to Halloween, just enjoying the lights away from the crowds. This activity has now become a part of our annual tradition. We’re truly thankful that we can continue this part of our typical celebration during this distinctly abnormal year.

Pumpkin-decorating contest
To make a neighborhood tour more personal, you could challenge other families to a pumpkin-decorating contest. Give everyone a few days to check out the competition, then either vote using an online poll (for the truly competitive) or make everyone a winner. 

Spooky treasure hunt
For another distanced activity, create your own neighborhood treasure hunt—with a twist. Take a family walk to spot all the spooky chalk drawings your friends have sketched. Check them all off for a cauldron of goodies at the final stop–your home!

Party at home
Hats off to anyone who creates their own Zoom party. We can’t quite muster up the will to get online after a week of virtual schooling. Instead, we’re going to party en famille with indoor trick-or-treating. We’re adding some inexpensive orange and black balloons (no helium required) for a homestyle ball pit. And if it’s nice outside, a pinata filled to the brim with candy would seem ideally suited to the occasion.

Embrace being inside
For once you won’t have to worry about sensible weather-appropriate clothing, so just let your little ones dress up however they please. Task the younger members of your household with writing a script for their random characters, then let them entertain you with a play. Let’s face it, these dress-up clothes are destined to get plenty of wear over the long, likely-stay-at-home months ahead.

Costumes with masks
And if you are venturing outside, finding costumes that include masks is not that hard. (Aren’t they always reminding us not to bring masks into school at this time of year?) We’ve been thinking about ways to bring virus-protection into costumes. The stores have some cute animal face masks which would be perfect paired with feline onesies. Similarly, dressing up as doctors or surgeons is easy-peasy.

Non-traditional parade
At this time of year you’re likely mourning your typical Halloween parade, but try remembering that it doesn’t have to follow the usual format. You can have your children walk past the local shops where they will definitely get the desired attention. We might just stand in line at the local donut haunt and have folks filter past us. What’s more fall-appropriate than eating apple cider sugary treats?

Character visit
There are services where you can hire a character to visit. However, if you have a bunch of parents that are good sports, how about having one of them dress up as a superhero or other fan favorite. (A dad who showed up to daycare as a unicorn is always remembered as a star.) By waving to the kids at a safe distance they will be like the Santa of Halloween.

Look to other cultures
Sometimes it’s better to embrace change rather than try to do what you always did and fall short. Other cultures can provide inspiration. El Dia de los Muertos is an obvious alternative to Halloween. Or offer up gifts of food to pacify hungry ghosts like they do during the Hong Kong festival of Yue Lan. We might celebrate British Guy Fawkes Day on November 5 with a fire pit in lieu of a bonfire.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to teach our children to overcome hurdles, build resilience and employ creativity. What is more emblematic of that than a re-imagined Halloween?

Fiona Royer lives in Lincoln Park with her husband, Randall, and their three young children. Originally from the U.K. with a business and creative background, she now works in the Chicago philanthropic community. She believes that giving is the key to a fulfilling life.

Related articles:

The best Chicago neighborhoods for trick-or-treating

For kids with allergies, teal is the new orange on Halloween

How to make Halloween healthier without being a killjoy


Posted on September 18, 2020 at 10:57 AM