To trick-or-treat, or not to trick-or-treat? That is the question for Halloween 2020. While we many of us don’t know “the plan” yet (didn’t school just start??) that doesn’t mean Halloween will be a nightmare! With a full moon and a Saturday calendar date, there are lot’s of alternatives (or additions) to trick-or-treating. Here are wonderfully 13 wicked ways to celebrate.

Go Trunk-or-Treating

Trunk-or-treating has been growing in popularity the last few years, especially for younger kids. You can even buy Halloween trunk decor online.  Essentially, a group of families decorate their cars and kids can trick-or-treat from trunk to trunk. Groups typically use a larger parking lot. Here are 16 spooktacular ideas to try it yourself. 

Social Distance Candy Distribution

If you and your neighborhood/neighbors feel comfortable with a version of trick-or-treating this year, you can place candy at the end of a driveway or edge of your yard/bottom stoop and let kids take turns trick-or-treating while maintain social distance. Wear a cute Halloween face mask to keep safe and in the spirit of things. And if all else fails, you can make this amazing social distance candy slide

Stay in for a Scary Movie Night

Pop up the popcorn and whip up a few festive treats (or a big bowl of Halloween candy), don your costumes and cue up a kids Halloween movie marathon. We love this list of not-too-spooky movies from Common Sense Media. 

Plan a Dramatic, Spooky Dinner

Dress up in your finest costumes and set your table with decor worthy of the Addams Family, then serve up one or more of these healthy, festive Halloween meals. Make sure you linger over dessert and tell a spooky story or two, and perhaps sing along with few Halloween songs while cleaning up. 

Throw a Monster Dance Party

Do the mash! Get your Halloween vibes going, put on your creepy attire and dance. With Halloween on a Saturday this year, if the weather permits you can even have an outdoor Monster Mash "party" with dance stations marked at 6 ft. (or more) apart. You'll just need costumes, big speakers, and this wicked-cool playlist

Set Up a Mini Pumpkin Hunt

Think like the Easter Bunny this Halloween and hide some mini pumpkins and maybe even candy treats around your house, yard, or neighborhood. Adapt this idea to your kid's ages and how much space you have. Toddler? Keep it small (and repeat). Live in an apartment? Do it indoors! If your kids are older, you can suggest they help hide mini pumpkins around the neighborhood for the littler kids. Send out an announcement to let families know you've hidden little pumpkins (one mini per hunter). 

Similarly, you can do a scavenger hunt around your house/'hood. Try an app like Goosechase for help planning an easy one yourself. 

Happy Halloween Car Parade

Organize a car parade! Trick out your car in festive decor, put on your costumes (here are some of our favorite Etsy costumes) roll down your windows and hit the town. This one is best to organize in advance and plan an easy route where other kids can see. You can even have the kids stay at home to see the parade and let one of the grown ups head out in a freaked out car. Consider a monster-worthy "car show" too, where decorated cars can be parked in a lot (like a large school parking lot) several feet apart and kids can drive through or walk through to see the decor. 

A Very Witchy Outdoor Story Time

Host an outdoor story time! There are so many wonderful Halloween reads, get a stack going, put on your best witch hat and scare up a group of families to listen in. Families can spread out in a park, or even a yard, with lots of space in between and keep your Halloween face masks handy. Designate family spots with a pumpkin where they can put down chairs or a blanket. 

photo: iStock

Thow an (Outdoor) Pumpkin Decorating Party

If the weather is right, you can have a small pumpkin carving or decorating party in an outdoor space. Set the stations up in advance following social distance guidelines with any supplies: if carving, tools or use paints or other decorating items. If you're feeling really ambitious, you can prep the pumpkins in advance and print out templates or try one of these amazing no-carve ideas

If you aren't able or aren't comfortable doing this with a small group of kids, you can still do it with your own kids. Even if you do this every year, make sure this year it's a bit more festive and a bigger deal. 

(Virtual) Pumpkin Run

Trail-running through a local apple orchard or around your favorite park with 75 of your closest friends may be well off the table this year, but why not start a new tradition with the kids with a virtual Pumpkin Run, like this one? It's a great way to get that PE fix and enjoy the fall air. Plus, you can run in a costume if you want and the added accountability of logging your time online is a great motivator. Never done a 5k (let alone with kids)? Check out these tips for getting started. 

Host a Virtual Costume Contest

Throw a Zoom party where each kid and family gets a chance to show off their costumes. Have "prizes" designated for different categories: Best Group Costume, Funniest, Most Realistic, Most Unique, Best Superhero, etc. 

Yard Decor Contest

This might be the year you finally buy one of those giant Halloween yard inflatables! Get your neighbors in on the fun, and encourage everyone to decorate their yards. Create small paper invites and put them in people's mailboxes, letting them know the date of the competition, so they have plenty of time to get ready! On the day of, hop in your car (or on your bikes) and ride around to "judge" the houses. Make sure to include window-decor for anyone who lives in an apartment or doesn't have a yard. Have a few cool prizes ready, like gift cards or pumpkins or even a handmade ribbon. If you don't want the pressure of judging, get people to vote through a google form or Surveymonkey. Categories can include: Scariest, Friendliest, Strangest, Best Window, Best Door, etc. 

Scarecrow Competition

As with the yard idea above, organize a Scarecrow Competition. Let people know in advance when the "judging" will take place, to allow kids time to make the best scarecrow they can. Make sure it's placed in an easy-to-see spot at the designated time and then check them all out on bike or car. If you want to include people from other places beyond your town, make it virtual and have everyone submit a photo! Prizes can be honorary or virtual. 

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