Halloween 2020: Trick or Treating Alternatives

Much like the rest of 2020, Halloween is going to look different this year.

I KNOW. I truly do. I get it. I hate it, too. But this is our reality, and we have to adapt. My kids look forward to trick or treating all year long, and usually start talking about Halloween costumes in July. We’ve already begun to prepare them that it’s going to be different this year, but still fun. Here are some ideas of safe activities that we’ll be starting this year. And who knows?! Maybe these will be so fun they’ll become part of our traditions for next year.

Home Carnival

Whether you’re in your backyard, front yard, driveway, or you turn your living room into a private party room for your family, you can throw a little carnival. Make it special with food, games, and Halloween music.


Themed food is extra fun! A big bowl of candy, popcorn with candy corn, spooky treats (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls to look like mummies is a favorite around here!). Pinterest is full of Halloween food ideas (you can view my Halloween board here). Or if themed food is too much for you to handle (which is completely reasonable and you should not for a single moment feel guilty about!), pizza, popcorn, or your family’s favorites work just as well.


Target has loads of spooky themed fun games right now. You can view many of their themed ideas here. You can also make your own, like pin the skull on the skeleton by printing out a paper skeleton and hanging it on the wall (or buying one at the Dollar Tree!). Spray paint a frisbee with glow in the dark paint and voila- a fun spooky game. Those glow in the dark bracelets we bought for safe trick or treating this year can be used for a ring toss around an empty soda bottle, or for a nighttime game of tag. Draw on the driveway with chalk, and you’ve got spooky hop screech (like hop scotch), a maze, a monster drawing contest. Bob for apples, decorate cookies, build a cardboard monster house out of all those Amazon boxes. Or set up a little photo booth area! We always want more photos of our kids, right? Maybe we can even sneak one in with us in it!


Whether you use Pandora, Spotify, Prime Music, Apple Music, whatever- they’re sure to have a Halloween playlist. Or make your own, with the Monster Mash, the Hocus Pocus soundtrack, Thriller, the Addams Family, and more.

Masquerade Parade

If your kids are sad about not getting to show off their costumes, organize a socially distant Masquerade Parade for your neighborhood! Set a time, remind everyone to stay ten feet apart, and walk through the neighborhood. Or do a Halloween fashion show, and stream it to your family and friends via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or your preferred platform. They can don all their favorite dress up outfits, and finish the show with their Halloween costume.

Trick or Treat at home with quick changes

This is something I’m definitely doing this year. I’m going to stand behind the door, and have the kids knock. Each time they knock, I’ll be wearing a different costume. I’m not so extra that I have loads of costumes around, but we do have their play dress up clothes. So I’ll wear a Mario hat, a cowboy hat, a cat mask, tiger ears, a chef hat, kitty headband, a witch’s hat… each time they open the door, I’ll have a different headband/hat/mask, and they can feel like they’re trick or treating without actually getting close to anyone outside our family.

My quick change stash so far!


I’m usually fairly low-key on Halloween decor. We go crazy with window clings, and hang little white ghosts from the trees outside, throw some themed placemats out. Fall is my big decorations, with pumpkins galore. But this year, I’m upping the outdoor decorations and buying the games and activities mentioned above. We may buy some Halloween crafting supplies as well.

Halloween 2020 is sure to look different. But it’s on a Saturday, so we have the whole day to make it special. We can make it fun and memorable, and maybe even find some new traditions to take forward.


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