Parent’s Guide to a Quarantine Halloween, Despite COVID-19

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I’m gonna be honest, I’m not a big Halloween person. But do you know what I am a big fan of, especially this year? Marking time. COVID-19 has made the months of 2020 run together. Celebrating Halloween will act as a clear fall indicator. Let’s celebrate our Quarantine Halloween safely with social distancing in mind.

The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are bleeding into fall. The large, community Halloween celebrations I tow my toddlers to face cancellations. And, with a new baby at home, it would be hard for us to get there this year, anyway.

How best can we get through this season with Halloween activities that will entertain kids while staying (mostly) socially distanced at home? I’ve got a week’s worth of activities to count down to a super extra family Halloween day party (consider getting this pumpkin pinata!). But, don’t worry, it’s not super extra labor-intensive, as we’ve got two toddlers and a newborn to deal with, too.

coronavirus halloween

Safely Celebrate the Week of Halloween with COVID-19

Most of these activities are indoors and spent with the family. With all the kids returning to school (ours are at least, are yours?) and various cities seeing a spike in Coronavirus cases, it’s important to stay socially distanced and to avoid large gatherings.  It’s okay, though, we can still make great family memories.

Preparation for Quarantine Halloween

Prepare for socially distanced Quarantine Halloween by reaching out to neighbors. See if there are already neighborhood events planned that you can help with or attend. I’ve heard of some neighborhoods and cities holding Neighborhood Drive-By Trick-Or-Treats, Trunk Or Treats, Trick-Or-Treating Stations, Costume Parades, and Drive-Thru Haunted House. If any of these are an option where you live, take the opportunity to participate! It might be your only chance to do a drive-thru haunted house.

Saturday, October 24th

It’s prep day, adults.

Take the Saturday before Halloween to look around your pantry to make sure you’ve got all the food prep and recipe ingredients you will need. Do the same with your crafting supplies. Keep glitter and stuff in mind. Head to the store and prepare areas as needed.

Ready for Quarantine Halloween
Pregnant with Little A, in some Ariel onesie pajamas, Halloween 2017

Sunday, October 25th

Time to start preparing the kids! Tell them that it’s Quarantine Halloween week and let them know how you will be celebrating the holiday differently this year. Let them know that today you’ll work together to decorate the house and kitchen for Halloween.

Go for a fall hike to gather colorful leaves, pine cones, acorns, etc. Tomorrow you’ll use them to make fall decorations.

End the day by baking some of those cut and bake cookies. The ones that come in a tube with Halloween figures on them. Have the kids help cut the cookies, it increases hand strength and dexterity.

Monday, October 26th

Let’s do some more decorating! Use the materials gathered during yesterday’s hike to make more decorations like leaf garlands and acorn people (don’t forget googly eyes!). You can also make bird feeders with the pine cones (cover them with peanut butter, glue a tied string to them, hang outside).

Gather your costumes and materials! Make sure to get everything that could be considered a costume (in our house, that means a lot of hats). Get everything in order, you’ll need them for the festive shenanigans tomorrow.

Designate an area in your house as haunted, as big or small as you wish. Decorate accordingly.

socially distanced halloween costume
Big A as an alligator, Halloween 2017

Tuesday, October 27th

It’s Costume Parade Day! Have the kids help you make an easy Halloween snack to enjoy while gearing up.

If you’re staying in, do a Zoom Costume Party. Send the link to some family and friends and show off your seasonal threads. You could also model different costumes and props with your family and take silly pictures. Your very own COVID-19 Halloween Photo Booth, if you will.

Wednesday, October 28th

Might as well call this Pumpkin Day. Cuz we’re doing errything pumpkin.

Have your kids rip orange paper in strips and glue them onto construction paper in pumpkin shapes. (Or place Halloween stickers on construction paper in a pumpkin shape.) Read books about pumpkins (Our favorite is The Legend of Spookley, The Square Pumpkin).

Once the kids are good and primed, let the actual pumpkin carving begin! Doing this over Zoom with friends and family will make it interactive. You could even have a pumpkin carving contest (paint pumpkins if knives are out of the question.)

Cap the evening with pumpkin stew for dinner. And this delightful fall treat (that kids can help make!) for dessert.

trick or treating
Big A as a train conductor, Halloween 2018

Thursday, October 29th

This day is for the adults. But we can also call it Apple Day. Head out to an apple orchard and do all the fall stuff. You know.

Have whatever you want for dinner but definitely turn some of the apples you brought home into a baked apple dessert.

After the kids go to bed is when the real fun stuff happens. Spike some apple cider and kick back with your favorite adult Halloween movies. The scary ones.

Friday, October 30th

Family movie night! You can keep the adult apple cider, but maybe watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or something.

Make these Halloween movie snacks and consider a whole Halloween-themed dinner. We’ll serve jack-o-lantern quesadillas with apple sauce from the local orchard and veggie sticks that we’ll say are haunted or something.

Do a Halloween Dress Rehearsal. Whatever you’re going to do tomorrow, practice it with the kids. Stuffed animals can act like the people giving or receiving candy. Read some Halloween stories and get those little monsters to bed.

trick or treating with baby wrap
Little A as a pumpkin, me as Ariel (again), Halloween 2018

Halloween 2020

The big day has arrived! Today we’re pulling out the stops. For breakfast, serve scrambled eggs with orange food coloring. This is the kind of energy we’re bringing today.

Color Halloween pictures and have the kids help hang them up. Did you get that pumpkin pinata? Time to hang it up (with some streamers). Make some crisp rice treats, fill bowls with candy. Cue up a Halloween playlist, do some Monster Mashing. Play some Halloween games like mummy may I, bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the pumpkin, marshmallow toss, etc.

End the night with handing out candy, or hanging with neighbors, or having the kids find candy hidden in the house.

Quarantine Halloween Night

Eat some of the kids’ candy. You’ve earned it.

covid-19 halloween 2020
A cold and sleeting 2019 Halloween

This is how my family will be navigating a COVID-19 Halloween. I wish you joy in however you’ll be celebrating yours. It’s a weird time, man. I wish us all the best of luck.

Download the Quarantine Halloween Calendar so you and your family will still have a great time while socially distanced.

How will you be celebrating Halloween this year? Let me know in the comments. Share this article so you don’t forget these ideas!

Happy Halloween!


megan imhoff


Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She possesses a bachelor's degree in psychology, a flair for theatrics, and a whole lotta nerve. She lives in the Midwest (and loves it) with her wonderful husband and three young boys.
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