Trick-or-treating – going door to door for candy in costume – is a traditional part of the Halloween experience. However, if you choose not to take your kids out gallivanting this season, there are still plenty of spooktacular alternatives.
For example, you could still offer candy and have your kids search for it within your own property, or you could spend more time creating culinary masterpieces that are scarily delicious. Here are some more tips on how to have fun without trick-or-treating, along with some safety tips if you do.
Create a Scavenger Hunt With Sweet Rewards
Just because your kids aren’t showing off their costumes all over the neighborhood, doesn’t mean they can’t collect candy. You can make it just as much fun (or even more so!) by hiding candy around the house and yard and providing clues on cards to help them find it.
Of course, your kids can do this scavenger hunt in full costume with a trick-or-treat basket to get the full Halloween experience! As TheBash.com points out, it doesn’t have to be just candy: you can also hide toys or Halloween-themed crafts for your little ghouls to collect.
Host a Video Halloween Party
Thanks to technology and video conferencing software, you and your kids can get together with others celebrating Halloween through a screen. There are many possibilities – for example, you could show off each other’s costumes, or even choreograph a cool dance in costume to show off your best moves.
Another idea courtesy of Toronto4Kids.com is to host a Halloween pumpkin-carving contest, which you could also do through a video connection with friends or keep it within the immediate family. Or try all of the above!
Arrange a Spooky Movie Night
Toronto4Kids also notes that instead of trick-or-treating, you can take the opportunity to enjoy some of your favorite (age-appropriate) scary movies that your kids can watch in your backyard.
You can stay inside and play them on your television, but the site suggests going to the next level by setting up a screen and projector outside for a more epic experience. The second option allows for a few friends to come over and take in the movies too.
Tell Terrifying Tales
What better night is there to share your darkest and creepiest stories? If you’re staying in, you can gather around a fire outside (or candles on a table) and take turns sharing ghost stories, whether they’re from another source or your own unexplainable tales.
Better Homes & Gardens notes this will appeal to “older kids,” and you can liven it up with some hot apple cider and s’mores. The source notes you can buy scary stories you can recite (and you can probably find some on the internet to print), or if you’re really good you can make up scary stories right on the spot.
Send Your Treats Through The Mail
Instead of showing up at your friends’ houses in costume for candy, you can choose to use the USPS instead. More specifically, you can put a treat or craft into the mail (presumably allowing time for it to arrive by Halloween).
Set it up ahead of time: choose a group of parents and determine the parameters of what can be mailed and how. Cafe Mom suggests “candy mail chains” that involves mailing an approved item to a family on the list, and having them return something or to choose another family to surprise through the mail.
Find a Drive-Through Event
Do a search for any drive-through events that you can take your family to while staying in the safety of a vehicle. There are some Halloween events that incorporate music, lights, and other Halloween-themed displays that are suitable for the entire family.
Chomp.com notes you can while you can stake out Halloween displays to take in from the car, you may also be able to find a drive-through event where kids can still receive a treat bag without having to get out. (Keep in mind there could be a fee to attend these drive-through events).
Camp Out Under The Full Moon
This Halloween marks the first full moon on Oct. 31 in nearly two decades, so why not take advantage of it? You can set up a tent and have a full camping experience complete with spooky tales and roasting marshmallows.
It happens only once in a blue moon (this one will literally be a blue moon). The next full moon on Halloween won’t happen until 2039 or so, meaning this could be your only chance to do this while your kids are still… well, kids.
How to Stay Safe While Trick or Treating
Limit The Group Size
You don’t have to go trick-or-treating as a large group, especially if you plan to accompany your children door-to-door. Keep it small and include only the siblings or maybe a best friend or two, suggests ConnecticutChildrens.org.
While you’re out with your small group, be sure to give plenty of space to other ghosts and ghouls that are out haunting the neighborhood. You can admire their costumes from a safe distance.
Up Your Mask Game
Wearing masks is a popular part of dressing up on Halloween. But the CDC recommends going a step further this Halloween by donning a cloth mask that allows your child (over the age of two) to breathe properly.
The source notes that a mask that comes with a costume is not a substitute for a cloth mask, also warning not to wear a costume mask over a cloth one. However, you can choose a Halloween-themed cloth mask that you can incorporate into your character. (Think a skeleton face, or even a ninja).
Shrink Your Haunting Grounds
While you might be used to covering an entire neighborhood or two during trick-or-treating, you can choose to limit it to a few homes on your own street this year, suggests ConnecticutChildrens.org.
If you do plan to wander out of your own neighborhood, choose homes of families that you know well, adds the source. Make sure they plan to hand out candy this year before trekking your kids across town for nothing.
Prepare Loot Bags In Advance
This one is for the parents that are planning on handing out candy this year. Instead of coming to the door every time there’s a knock and handing candy out, you can prepare loot bags in advance complete with treats and/or toys that trick-or-treaters can easily grab without sifting through the bowl for their faves.
ConnecticutChildrens.org notes you could don gloves while handing out the loot bags for additional safety, but we also suggest simply leaving them in a bowl and supervising from a safe distance to ensure each kid gets one. The source says you should properly wash your hands with soap and water before preparing the goody bags, and repeating this after you prepare them.