Yes, We Can Still Celebrate Halloween This Year. Here’s How.

Halloween 2020

The good news is, Halloween is on a Saturday this year!  The bad news is…. Well, you know the bad news.

October 31st is one of the most exciting days on the kid calendar. In my house, it’s right up there with birthdays and Christmas. And yes, Halloween is going to look a little different this year. I can’t imagine there will be costume parades in the halls at school, dances in dark gyms or bobbing for apples (at least I hope not.) But with everything else going on (insert 2020 dumpster fire emoji), Halloween might give us the perfect opportunity to have some fun.

Halloween’s main event is, of course, trick or treating and deciding whether or not to let your little one go out is a very personal decision. (Unless, of course, you’ve been told not to do it.) For the rest of us, some will be comfortable with it, some won’t. If you’re still making up your mind, remember:

Trick or Treating is an outside activity. Virus transmission is less prevalent outside versus inside. says: “When you’re outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So, you’re less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected.”

Fomite transmission is thought to be pretty low. Experts now believe that catching the virus from touching something happens less frequently and less easily than first thought, which is good news for little hands on doorbells (and for anyone who spent countless hours wiping down groceries).

To me, this makes a case for going ahead with trick or treating but as with everything in 2020, an abundance of caution is required. Plus, we know how quickly things change, and some of us have already been told not to go out. Plus, the situation today might not be the situation on October 31.

So, what to do? How do we plan for Halloween when planning anything has become nearly impossible? How do we give our kids the special day they deserve while also keeping them safe and healthy?

Once again, how your family celebrates will come down to what you, and only you, feel comfortable with. If you’re up for trick or treating, that’s great! Mask up, keep a safe distance from others, and sanitize everyone’s hands regularly.

If you decide to skip trick-or-treating altogether, here are a few suggestions.

How to Make Halloween 2020 Fun

Get the costume. No matter what, get the costume. Even if your kids aren’t going to school or trick-or-treating and it seems like a waste, just get the costume. And if you can, get the costume that comes with a mask and gloves. There’s never been a better year to be a surgeon! Or build the costume around something on this fun list of Halloween-inspired face masks.

Talk to your neighbours. Not everyone is going to be willing to open their door to strangers this year. But an organized neighbourhood effort that has every house leaving treats left on the stoop or at the bottom of the driveways minimizes contact and makes everyone feel more comfortable.

Head to a pumpkin patch. Plan your pre-Halloween weekends to include a trip to a pumpkin patch. Not only will you be able to pick a prime pumpkin for carving, but there’s also bound to be loads of fresh air, photoshoots, hiking opportunities, and tasty, homemade morsels.

Parties and gatherings will likely still be a no-no. But rather than default to Zoom, organize a meet at your local park or green space where kids can show off their costumes, see their friends and burn off some Halloween excitement. Consider doing trick or treating there too, maybe out of car trunks.

Movie night. There’s no shortage of kid-friendly Halloween movies out there so if you’re staying in, pop some popcorn, dim the lights, open that, ahem, extra-large bag of mini chocolate bars and cue up something from SavvyMom’s list of 20 Halloween Movies That Won’t Scare the Pants of Your Kids.

Indoor trick-or-treating. Instead of going house to house, have your kids go room to room and collect their treats. Or arrange a scavenger hunt (à la Chrissy Teigen) with a big bag of loot at the end. Scavenger hunts take a little bit of time and preparation, but no one said you couldn’t hide the items and write out the clues while also eating peanut butter cups.

Have fun with pumpkin decorations. Halloween can be a great time to unleash creativity. Why not grab an extra pumpkin and try something new this year? Maybe a drip paint technique, abstract look, or glitter? Or perhaps this is the year to start with a white pumpkin canvas and go from there.

Turn your house into a haunted house. I know, I know, who has time for that? However, if there was ever a year to go all out, this is it. Check out your local dollar store, Party City, Walmart or big box store for decorations and ideas. Up the creep factor by blindfolding the kids and letting them put their hands in bowls of monster eyeballs (peeled grapes) and intestines (cooked, cold spaghetti). And don’t forget to cue up an Apple Music or Spotify Halloween playlist to complete the mood.

It’s unlikely we’ll be able to pretend that it’s business as usual this Halloween, especially with older kids. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as most child health experts agree honesty is the best policy when it comes to talking about our health. (Honesty calibrated to age, stage, and temperament, that is). Start the ‘what Halloween might look like this year’ conversation early and involve kids in the discussion and decision-making, if appropriate, so they feel like they have some say and some control.

Many of us are struggling to make sense of this new reality so don’t be afraid to seek out advice for talking to your kids. And instead of letting Halloween become another example of what’s gone wrong this year, let’s turn it into something great.




  1. Karen Gravelle on September 22, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    This is awesome. What a great article! Thank you. Hallowe’en will be challenging this year, but I think if we all work together we can make sure the kids have fun. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters! (Btw, I am also from Markham!)

    • Heather Dixon on September 23, 2020 at 6:46 am

      Thanks for your comment, Karen! So glad you enjoyed this!

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