July 16, 2024


Love your Curiosity

How to Celebrate Halloween Without Leaving the House

I moved with my husband and preschool-aged daughter across the country just before Halloween last year. Our old street never saw a trick-or-treater—though our upstairs neighbors would dress up and sit on the building’s front steps, hoping some kid might come by and relieve them of the candy they’d purchased. Local children gathered at the fire station for a costume contest (and a chance to get in a real fire truck). It was underwhelming, which made our new Halloween situation all the more thrilling.

Our new neighbors decorated their houses with faux-spiderwebs stretching multiple stories, and billowing dry-ice smoke. They sat outside, eating pizza, cheering on the best costumes and doling out treats as hundreds of kids paraded down the block. “It’s magical!” our daughter squealed as she made her way through the sea of costumed kids, the sparkly antennae on her butterfly headband bouncing.

This year, of course, everything is different. And like so many parents, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make it still feel special to a kid who hasn’t had much fun in the months of social isolation.

I’ve seen pictures of “candy slides” built from PVC pipes, and other treat-delivery contraptions, but I’m not eager to encourage kids (and parents) to gather in crowds, and six-foot spacing seems difficult to attain on such an exciting evening. Health authorities are recommending we all skip the door-to-door tradition this year. So I think it’s time to dream up the best Halloween we can all have, with just the people we see every day. Here are a few ideas for making your spooky day a good one, even if you never leave home.

Decorate, decorate, decorate

In my kid’s mind, the best part of a party is the decoration, so we’ll go wild this year, especially decorating each door in the house—some scary, some sweet. Each adult can hide behind a door, so she can trick-or-treat in the kitchen and the bedroom, then close her eyes as we rotate to new locations (or change costumes). Grandparents may join by Facetime.

Halloween Banner (Pumpkins, Wizard Hats, Candy Corn)

Benson Mills Metallic Spider Web Tablecloth

Animated Monster Hand in Bowl

Stage a candy hunt

To extend the festivities a bit, we’ll do an Easter-egg-style candy hunt, hiding the goods (plus maybe some Halloween-themed stickers) in pumpkin-shaped containers or decorated bags.

Halloween Pumpkin Candy Holder

Autumn Leaves Party Favor Bags

Halloween Goodie Bags for Kids

Make elaborate treats

Since it’s just us at home, some of this year’s Halloween treats can be the handmade kind: Giant-sized homemade candy bars, well-decorated cupcakes, a Caramel-Apple Drip Cake (or we might even candy our own apples at home).

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The Real Fun-Size Halloween Candy Is Giant Size

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Tall apple cake with dripping caramel glaze and walnuts on a cake stand with a black background.

Caramel Apple Drip Cake with Candied Walnuts

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Call it a mini-carnival

Having a few games set up at home will make up for a lack of trick or treating. Set up a candy corn-themed bean-bag toss game, or a game of pin the spider on the web. Or, set aside time for “scary” storytelling around the fire pit outside. (Some roasted marshmallows wouldn’t hurt, either. We are going for extreme sugar high, right?)

Printable Pin The Spider On the Web Halloween Party Game

Marshmallow Roasting Sticks