It’s definitely a different kind of year for pretty much everything, isn’t it? Have you been wondering, “What will Halloween look like this year?” I know I have! And while I’m sure everyone will approach it a little differently, if you’re lamenting the loss of a “regular” Halloween this year, I’ve rounded up LOTS of fun ways to celebrate “Quarantine-o-ween,” from 2020 takes on trick-or-treating, to at-home activities, fun themed treats, and more. In fact, there are so many ideas that I had to split it into two posts: this one (Beyond Trick-or-Treating: Activities & Food), and Trick-or-Treat Alternatives!
There’s something for everyone, whether you’ve got roommates, little kids, big kids, or live solo. Check the ideas out below, and let us what other ideas we should add to the list! And if you want even more inspiration, take a look at our Quarantine-o-ween Pinterest board!
Fun & Yummy Food
Ok, I’ll admit, this is definitely one of my favorite ways to celebrate Halloween (or any party, for that matter) any year. Having cute, themed food takes a celebration to the next level and doesn’t cost much at all. It makes my heart happy to come up with or find clever food ideas. In fact, I shared a blog post last year with lots of fun Halloween-themed food ideas. I tend to go for ideas that are easy and simple and also adorable.
Here are two of the treats we tried out last year after trick-or-treating: candy corn fruit cups and spider pizzas. We also made mini-donut spiders by sticking pretzels pieces into the top as legs. (Food bloggers take much better food pics than I do. I’m still learning, for sure :))
And some cute “Monsters, Inc.” themed Rice Krispie treats we made for a friend’s baby shower:
More Treat Theme Ideas
Clever treats not really your thing? There are lots of other ways to make your food “fun” (and delicious)! Check out our Pinterest board for recipes and more inspiration.
- Have an all-pumpkin menu, with cute mini pumpkin-shaped cakes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie dip or pumpkin fluff, pumpkin soup, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin smoothies…there are SO many possibilities! Bonus points for serving dips or soups in a pumpkin!
- Serve all orange-colored foods, like oranges or candied orange slices, carrot or butternut squash soup, a cheese ball, orange colored macarons, orange chicken, orange cauliflower, etc.
- Or go for fall-inspired, non-pumpkin treats, like anything with baked apples, a harvest-inspired charcuterie board, cranberry dishes, apple cider, cobbler, or any of these non-pumpkin fall desserts!
Scavenger Hunt or Treasure Hunt
Scavenger Hunt: Work together or in teams, and walk or drive around your neighborhood looking for Halloween-themed items on a list. You could try to see how many of each item you find, see who can finish the whole list first, see who finds the most amount of different kinds of items, or who finds the “coolest” or favorite decoration. A good way to do this if you’re separating into teams is to make it a photo scavenger hunt, where each team takes a photo of the items they find on the list.
Virtual TIP: You could also do a virtual scavenger hunt with friends! Make it a timed challenge by scheduling it for a specific start and end time, where you all go out at the same time. Or, if you’re not a very competitive group, you could give it to people a week in advance just for fun. Meet up on a video chat so everyone can share some of the spookiest or silliest things they found.
We’ve got several free, already-made scavenger hunt lists on our Pinterest board for you to check out!
Treasure Hunt: Make a sequence of clues to follow that lead to hidden candy or other treats inside and outside your home. Here’s a great free one from Ministering Printables.
Obviously, there are lots of “party games” you can play anytime, whether it’s you and your family or roommates, or on your own. Some popular ideas you can easily theme are cornhole, bean bag toss, or any kind of “Minute to Win It” game. But we found a few Halloween-specific games we really love!
- Pumpkin hunt – Hide mini pumpkins throughout your home or yard. Take them from the supply you may already have on hand, or cut or print paper pumpkins. Here’s a twist we love: Do a glow-in-the-dark “pumpkin” hunt using Easter eggs! The “glow” can be done with tea lights (if you have large enough eggs), or glow-in-the-dark paint with a blacklight as somewhat more eco-friendly alternatives to one-time-use disposable glow sticks.
- Skeleton hunt – Grab some hanging skeletons that snap apart, disassemble them, and hide them throughout your home or yard. Kids will have fun finding them and putting them together. (Photo and idea from Happy Go Lucky)
- Mystery bowls – A classic “creepy” game, where you take several bowls, boxes, or containers, and put yucky-feeling stuff inside. Blindfold players or put a cloth over the container, and have them reach inside and guess what it is. It might be bags of squishy, messy food (pudding, cooked spaghetti, jelly, etc.), or skip the bags and have people reach directly into the messy foods (peeled grapes, cooked pasta, Jell-O, gummy worms, dried apricots, wet tortillas, etc.) Just be sure to have a towel or sink nearby! We love the added bonus of labeling each container as something totally gross (like “ears” for dried apricots, or “maggots” for cooked pasta), and then having people try to guess what it really is. We have a few examples on Pinterest, but this one from The Spruce is our favorite.
- Boo Bowling – dress up some paper towel rolls like ghosts and roll any artificial pumpkin you have on hand to knock them down. You can also reuse containers from baby puffs (if you have a little one and have those as a staple in your pantry) as the bowling pins, like Sometimes Creative did below.
Carve or Decorate Pumpkins Together
Missing out on the social aspects of Halloween? Carve or decorate pumpkins over Zoom or FaceTime with extended family or friends! Set up a date and time, and carve or decorate while you catch up and laugh together. You could even make a contest out of it, where everyone votes for their favorite when you are all done. Winner gets “bragging rights” or a prize. Need inspiration? Check out some of our favorite no-carve pumpkins from past years at the kids’ school below. We’ve also got lots more inspiration for you on our Pinterest board.
Pumpkin TIP: Here’s a great site to help you find a local farm or farmers market, which are the most environmentally-friendly choices for buying a pumpkin. To keep things extra eco-friendly, use non toxic materials if you’re decorating or painting your pumpkin instead of carving it.
“Voting” TIP: If you want to make collecting votes anonymous and super easy, you could set up ‘text to vote’ using an online service like the ones below. Both offer free plans and make it super easy for people to text in their vote. If you’re on Zoom, you could even share your screen to reveal the results in the moment. Here are two services we found:
- https://www.polleverywhere.com/plans (choose the free Intro plan)
Make DIY Decorations & More
Again, you could do this with your quarantine crew in-person, or extend it to more friends and family over Zoom. Let everyone know ahead of time what materials they’ll need, or ask everyone to choose a craft to make. Here are a few cute ideas we found; check out our Pinterest board for more!
For a COVID-19-related craft idea, ask your friends to decorate a fabric face mask*, then gather over Zoom to see who came up with the most inventive one. We love these adorably creative, kid-friendly ideas from Parents below, but this activity is just as great for grown ups, too!
*NOTE: I searched and searched to try to find out if it’s “okay” to draw on and decorate fabric face masks, but unfortunately I really couldn’t find anything definitive. This guide from a health facility in Wisconsin says NO, that drawing on a mask may damage the mask’s effectiveness. And this article from CNN Health *suggests* drawing on masks as a way to make wearing one more appealing to kids.
Watch Spooky Movies
Watch spooky or thriller movies all evening long or make it a week-long event. I’m pretty much a baby when it comes to spooky movies, so I tend to go for “Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Corpse Bride,” or “Ghostbusters,” but “Us,” “Get Out,” “The Shining,” “The Exorcist,” or any of the “Halloween” films are sure to thrill and scare! Take a look at some of the Top Halloween Movies lists we’ve collected on Pinterest.
Have a Halloween Dance Party
Whether it’s with your house-mates or with friends on Zoom, a fun dance party is a great way to let loose and burn some off some of those extra calories from Halloween treats. We’ve got some great Halloween-themed playlists for you on our Pinterest board.
Want to try something really different this year? Learn about and celebrate a similarly-inspired holiday from another country. Here are some to check out: Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead” in Mexico), Yu Lan (“The Hungry Ghost Festival” in China), Samhain (in Ireland and Scotland), or Dzień Zaduszny (“All Souls Day” in Poland).
Experience a Drive-through Haunted House
This is a cool idea that is really catching on this year (you know, because of the global pandemic). Instead of walking through a haunted house, you can drive through one! To be totally honest, I’m not quite sure how they keep the performers safe from the vehicles, but I’m sure they have lots of safety measures in place. From a Covid-19 perspective, it’s contactless scaring with your car windows as the barrier, so no need to worry there.
Check your local area to see if there’s one near you.
There’s really so much you can do for Halloween this year, it’s hard to choose! However you decide to celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful time and stay safe.
What ideas are you excited about? A delicious-looking treat? A fun activity or craft? Let me know in the comments below!