Re-Thinking Halloween in Pandemic Times: Frightfully Fun Tips for Celebrating Safely

Re-Thinking Halloween in Pandemic Times: Frightfully Fun Tips for Celebrating Safely

by Kari Tanta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Rehab Manager, Children’s Therapy

If you are like me and have read headlines such as “CDC says no trick-or-treating” or “Halloween is cancelled,” your heart likely sunk. In our neighborhood and so many others, Halloween is a festive time of year that young and old look forward to. Houses are lit up and on the 31st hoards of happy “treaters” spend hours going from house to house. What are we to do in COVID times? Is there any way to safely proceed this year? The good news is yes, thanks to creative people and holiday spirit! Here are things you should know to keep yourself, your children, and your neighbors safe this year.

Activities to avoid:

  • Costumes with costume masks (costume masks are not a substitute for face masks needed for the virus and the two should not be used together as it can make breathing difficult)
  • Door-to-door trick-or-treating without masks (both for those handing out and those receiving treats)
  • Trunk-or-treating (where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots)
  • Indoor parties
  • Indoor haunted houses
  • Hayrides and tractor rides with others

Modified or safer activities to consider:

  • Wearing Halloween-themed fabric masks, or creating a fabric mask to match your costume–click here for ideas
  • Decorating your house all out, with lights and music—no candy required for a great time
  • Halloween scavenger hunt “where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while walking outdoors from house-to-house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance” or one “with your household members in or around your home rather than going house-to-house” 
  • One-way trick-or-treating “where individually-wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)”
  • Small, outdoor and socially distant costume parties
  • Pumpkin carving
  • Baking and cooking Halloween-themed foods
  • Hosting a virtual costume contest
  • Bike or walking parade
  • Visiting a pumpkin patch—click here for area patches
  • One-way, outdoor and socially distant haunted forests, mazes, or pumpkin patches. 
  • Numerous South Seattle neighbors have come together to create new ways of trick-or-treating this year. This map shows house locations with socially-distanced Halloween fun.  The map shows whether candy is delivered by treat baggies outside, by distanced delivery (such as a chute), by a knock of the door with masks required, or if there is no candy but a special outdoor holiday display.

As for me and my family, we are opting for the house decorating and candy slide this year— wearing our masks of course! A happy, safe Halloween to all!

Check out these other links below for related Halloween in Times of COVID resources and things to do!

Halloween: CDC recommends avoiding trick-or-treating

Halloween events still happening around Seattle amid COVID-19

Trick-or-treating candy chutes could help save Halloween from our freak show of a year. Here’s how we made ours.

Halloween Candy Slide

26 Ideas for Celebrating Quarantine-O-Ween

Enjoying Halloween with sensory challenges

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office