I don’t think I need to tell you:
Halloween is going to look different this year.
(Quick note: I’m not a doctor, and if you want the latest information from the professionals on COVID-19, you should go to the CDC here.)
What all of this means for your family is going to be a personal decision. As an event planner for the past 16 years + a mom for the past 6.5, what I can tell you are my best tips for approaching how to plan for Hallloween this year.
Okay, seriously, don’t laugh at me. I told you we were going to approach this like event planners! So one of the first things we do is figure out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of any potential event.
Strengths: Halloween is ever-present in decorations, marketing, TV, it’s all around us! We have the ability to stay closer with the people that matter most. We are very familiar with the environment we are working with – we’ve been home for 8 months! We already have some decorations, traditions, and plans to start from.
Weaknesses: Halloween has a baked in tradition of trick-or-treating, candy, and nighttime crawls around the neighborhood. Some of your traditions might involve others that you aren’t able to see right now. It is harder to go to stores in person to really touch, taste, feel things you want to include in your celebrating.
Pay attention to this one – this is where we can make the most difference:
Opportunities: We get to create new traditions and memories that are attached to our home. This is the perfect chance to put more efforts into our own (adult) costumes/ fun (where we may not have needed it in years past). No need to worry about losing the kids in the dark running around the neighborhood (cars, lights, spooky strangers…). No checking the candy! A wonderful opportunity for passive interaction with people – Boo Bags, Boozed Kits, passive candy giveaways; we can focus on taking care of those around us in ways that express kindness and solidarity. We can have a ruckus family party!! It doesn’t have to be a race against the sun to traipse the neighborhood, we have the opportunity to create a party and do special things for our kids that we can’t do when it is all about the school carnival or trick or treating. It’s on a Saturday!!!
Threats: COVID-19 runs top of mind, and there are a lot of resources about how much or little you should be interacting with others. I’m not a medical professional so I won’t get in to those specifics (see the link at the top and pay attention to local + state guidelines).
(I will say that we will not be handing out candy the traditional way, and will be posting a sign so that people do not come into our yard/ come up to our door (we are doing fence favors). We have a small pandemic pod that we see so the kids can play together, and we are going to be doing a party at home with them.)
The other threat is that if you don’t put the effort into planning something, will Halloween slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated – will we lose the opportunity to create this memory for our kids? The mom holiday pressure threat is real, but we can help manage the difficulty level – after all, sometimes things are as simple as giving a kid a big box to play with!
What to do now:
We have a great opportunity to take advantage of Halloween on a weekend this year and create a memorable party atmosphere for our kids (and ourselves)!
If you haven’t already, hop over to Pinterest and follow us. We have tons of boards that can help you find great ideas for Halloween.
If you have no more brain space left for searching, scrolling+ saving ideas. We hear you! (Shameless plug) That is why we created a new October Experience guide that has 39 pages of crafts, activities, games, recipes + custom printables. You can buy that in our shop, just click on the link below:
Once you pull together your ideas, create your production schedule (hey – that’s what we event planners do). Have no idea what I’m talking about? See my schedule suggestions below to keep you on track (and not stressed)!
Let’s take a look at all of the areas to consider for a great Halloween at-home party!
Decorations + Ambiance:
Close your eyes and picture yourself standing in front of your home and looking at the front door. Now try to envision what it feels like to walk through your space – walking up to the house, entering the front door, how you flow through the rooms. What space will you use for a Halloween party, and where in this environment can you add fun decorations, accents and ambiance to create a party atmosphere for your kids? (Tip: to keep yourself sane for setup, try to pick a space separate from where you family typically hangs out in the house on the weekends.)
Here are some things to consider:
- Front yard- I love to share our decorations with the world!
- Front doors or garage door – I’m a huge fan of turning your doors into monsters or other creepy creatures!!!
- Pumpkins – carved or painted, make sure you have at least one per member of the family
- Display art – if you don’t have art from previous years, now is the time to create some pieces that you can save (we can help with that!)
- A few creepy interactive knick knacks – my son typically dies over all of the cool, creepy options at Target (when we went to stores…)
- Lights – inside + out, don’t miss the opportunity to add a special smile to your day with just a few lights in the kitchen or in a bathroom.
- Music – don’t miss the chance to introduce your kids to the Monster Mash!!
- Are you able to have the celebration in the yard? Can you add a fog machine? Do you have a projector that you can set up to show scary movies (or just the Halloween episodes from your favorite TV shows).
You don’t need to be a Food Network star to create Halloween treats that your kids will love! (Though I highly recommend checking out Just a Taste and all of her Halloween inspirations!!)
All of our Pinterest Halloween boards have meals, snacks, desserts and more of varying levels of difficulty that you can make for your party. This board of Halloween Snacks is a great place to start.
For me, Halloween food is very snacky. Not a huge meal that you need to sit down to eat. Even though we aren’t walking around the neighborhood this year, think of items that you can grab and carry around the yard or house. A buffet table of things that you can come back to.
Since the day will likely end (or start) with candy, try to set out the healthier more meal-worthy items first, and then integrate the dessert and candy a little later on. The great thing about Halloween is that you can simply fish out your black plastic plates + silverware and, boom, you have Halloween partyware!
The question on my mind this year:
Should we do a family Halloween costume or not?
When my oldest was a baby, I cherished the idea of fun family costumes every year! We all quickly realize that once they are old enough to tell you they want to be Spiderman or Vampirina, you are probably out of the family costume game (unless you do what my sister does and purchase multiple costumes – nope!).
This year is a great opportunity to come together and create something fun since you will be staying at home! You can check out some great inspiration here.
Even if you can’t get the family costume consensus, it’s time to put some effort back in to your own costume. (This is coming from a mom that buy a graphic tee and maybe finds a Halloween headband and calls it a day – I don’t have much energy left for myself on normal years). But take a deep breath and remember: you don’t have to do the school parade this year, no school carnival, no racing the clock to put the candy out for trick or treaters, no exhausting walk around the neighborhood. You just get to be at home and relax – so you can go crazy! It will up the fun level for your kids, I promise! (Who knows, maybe your husband will finally do a fun couples costume with you – since no but social media will see!)
Crafts, Activities + Games:
Don’t go overboard here (and that means a lot coming from me!). The kids are going to play, so don’t stress yourself out with lots of “scheduled” activities. Pick things with maximum ease for you. Choose a few things and set up stations so your kids can interact with them when they like.
- Easy games you can buy
- A few fun sensory things – guess what bags (stick you hand in a feel peeled grape eyeballs, etc.) or a sensory bin
- A craft or two that is easy to facilitate
My Halloween Fun Pinterest board has some great ideas. And as I mentioned above, you can get our October Experience digital download with all of the ideas, instructions and a clickable supply list already done for you (order it all from Amazon and stop wasting the brain space to think about it all!).
Whatever else 2020 leaves us with in the future, we know that we will have a lot of memories. This is such a unique time, and probably a Halloween unlike any other that your kids will experience. Make sure you document!
Set up a photo area – backdrop + props, maybe even a camera stand! (If you’ve invested in one of those ring lights for your video calls, here is a great place to use the phone holder and bluetooth clicker!) AND – make sure mom gets in the photo!
We do like to be a little extra, especially at Halloween. So here are some other ideas for your party:
- Halloween Blue Moon – set up the telescope!
- Educational Blue Moon resources from NASA
- If you are in a more temperate climate – why not host a Halloween camp out!?
- Check out a Halloween drive-in movie in your area (they are all the rage again!)
- Try your hand at the socially-distant Candy Slide craze (see ideas that we’ve pinned)
This is a suggestion – so if you are reading this late and feel like you are already behind, just breathe! You got this! And always feel like you can reach out to us in the comments, social media or via email if you have questions – that is what we are here for!
October 17 – if you haven’t already, put up the Halloween decorations that you have
October 18 – have everyone’s costumes planned + ordered
October 19 – finalize your games, crafts + activities and order any supplies needed
October 21 – have the menu finalized + groceries ordered
October 24 – have everything delivered, unpack and organize it so you can easily find what you need
October 25 – if you bought more decorations, put up anything that you aren’t specifically saving for the party
October 28 – make/ prep any activities, crafts or games and store them
October 29 – prep or make any of the recipes ahead that you can
October 30 – make your playlist
October 31 – decorate + set up and enjoy!! (plan to set up in the AM, preferably in a space that is separate from where you family hangs out during the day); make any food, turn on the music + lights, set out any candy you are offering to the neighborhood.
Because we can’t help ourselves at Halloween. (Hey, I said I was extra!) Here are some super fun things we found when researching this post. Enjoy!
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We’d love to see your Halloween fun – tag us on social media @givethekidssomethingtodo!!