Halloween in the Time of Corona - How to Keep Halloween Alive During a Pandemic #halloweeninthetimeofcorona #quarantineoween

"There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch." ~ Robert Brault

Halloween has a special kind of magic no other holiday has.

It teaches us that fear can be fun. The heart-pounding, spine-tingling, thrills and chills that spook us during the Halloween season get our blood pumping and act as memento mori- a reminder that death is ever-present and that we should live life to the fullest enjoying each moment while we can.

Halloween offers us just that as we trek into the darkness of night to go trick or treating as a child or to visit haunted houses as an adult. 

Halloween offers us a moment to indulge in the decadence of too many sweets or alcohol filled drinks. It is a time of dark enjoyment. Blood-curdling screams often dissolve into laughter as we realize the fear is just make-believe. Fear, fantasy, and revelry mingle making us feel more alive than ever.

Halloween is often a child’s first taste of the forbidden fruit. It is a night children get to stay up late and go out after dark knocking on doors asking strangers for candy…things that on any other day is expressly forbidden.

Halloween also offers children a true taste of the make-believe, of pretending to be anything they want to be through their Halloween costume. When else can we dress up in costumes, hide behind masks, and pretend to be something we aren't?  It is our first magical taste of the transformation power of costumes.

As we get older that magic stays with us and sometimes it's not about pretending to be something we aren't on Halloween but it's the ability to finally show who we really are. On Halloween, we can show our hidden selves, the scary, beautiful, sexy, powerful, goofy, silly, crazy self that we are afraid to show off any other day. On Halloween, we can be anything we want to be for that one day. And sometimes we decide to be our true selves.

That's why we can't let COVID kill Halloween. We've figured out how to make things work for almost everything- school, work, socializing virtually.

We can figure out creative ways to celebrate the spooky season.

Here Are Some Ways To Celebrate Safely

  • Many of us still have fingers crossed for a miracle that trick or treating can be saved but realistically we have to plan for alternatives. Depending on the status of the pandemic and current infection rate of your area in October, I think some places could safely set up trunk or treats with proper social distancing. People giving out candy should all practice proper social distancing while encouraging the trick or treaters to do the same. Set up guidelines to keep everyone at least 6 feet apart. Encourage all adults to wear masks. The pandemic kind, not the Halloween kind. Though you can combine the two by having fun Halloween themed pandemic masks. (I predict there will be many, many Plague Doctor masks this Halloween season)
  • Host digital Halloween parties with friends and family via Zoom, Skype, Google Meeting, or another online platform. Encourage everyone to dress up. Have costume contests. Host a wine and Halloween candy pairing or an Autumn themed beer tasting (think Pumpkin Spice Brews and Hard Ciders) event for adults.
  • Netflix usually adds Halloween favorites during the season, use NetflixParty.com, and host a Halloween movie watch party with friends. One of my family Halloween traditions is watching Hocus Pocus together. If it’s not a school night, we will watch it after trick or treating. If Halloween is on a weeknight we’ll usually watch it the weekend before. This year I think we might have an entire night dedicated to Hocus Pocus because the new Hocus Pocus board game released July 26.  Other family-friendly Halloween movies are the Disney Halloweentown movies, The Addams Family, the Goosebumps movies, Frankenweenie, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Para Norman, Corpse Bride, and Monster House.

  • Have a family pumpkin carving event. Every year my family has an annual pumpkin carving night. The guys are very competitive and creative, they'll break out the power tools and see who can create the craziest design. If carving isn’t an option for you pumpkins can be painted, covered in glitter, or accessorized with jewels and costume pieces. You can even use craft pumpkins in place of real ones. My book Pumpkins and Party Themes: 50 DIY Designs to Bring Your Halloween Extravaganza to Life features many no-carve options for decorating pumpkins. 

  • Create new family Halloween traditions- like ghosts stories and s'mores around a bonfire or fireplace.  No real fire option? Grab a fun indoor s'mores maker from Walmart.com, Bed, Bath, and Beyond,  or Amazon. Add a spooky Halloween twist to your s'mores by using Halloween Peeps in place of marshmallows and Halloween chocolates in place of regular Hershey bars. Want more Halloween S'mores ideas? Visit SpookyLittleHalloween.com

  • It’s in our best interest to wear masks during this pandemic, so why not make them fun? Get masks made with fun Halloween fabrics. Have a contest among friends and family, post pictures, and have people vote on their favorites. I purchased these fun Hocus Pocus themed masks on Facebook. Several online merchants have Sanderson Sisters masks. What a great way to complete your Hocus Pocus costumes while being safe during COVID.

  • Make your own Plague Doctor masks and decorate them with paint, glitter, jewels, feathers, scraps of fabric, or whatever other craft supplies you have around the house.  You can create them with papier-mâché, paper, cardboard, leather or fabric.
Full DIY on Makezine.com

  • I've heard that many people are planning to go all out with their outdoor Halloween decor this year. Take that to the next level by organizing a neighborhood Halloween House contest. A fun option for neighborhoods or small towns is a Halloween House contest. Our area does this for Christmas and the winner gets a sign in their yard and a prize pack full of goodies donated by local businesses. The whole family can help decorate the yard and house for the Halloween contest. Neighbors can vote online. Perhaps work with your local Chamber of Commerce or Homeowner’s Association to set up something official and encourage local businesses to donate a few prizes. This gives the family a Halloween project to work on together and the neighborhood something fun to do together while staying safely apart.
  • Support a good cause: The Halloween Fun Pack. Jason Rhodes, the founder of the Halloween Fun Pack Project, hopes to provide up to 1,000 free “fun packs” with candy, stickers, trading cards, activity pages, and more this October to children throughout the U.S. who may be unable to trick-or-treat due to COVID-19. “Most people at this time of the year normally are thinking about beaches and vacations, not jack-o-lanterns and skeletons,” said Rhodes. “To make this project a reality, however, likely will require months of fundraising, which is why it’s important to start now.” Rhodes is no stranger to starting Halloween planning early. For nine years, he organized Treat Street, a safe Halloween trick-or-treating event in Salisbury, MD, that required months of advance planning and a similar fundraising commitment to serve hundreds of children annually. Learn more and donate at https://www.halloweenfunpack.com/donate

  • Depending on your location and the level of restrictions your area is under in October you could have a series of micro-parties. Micro-parties are small gatherings consisting of 10 or fewer people. You could have a craft party with your crafty friends. Get the kids together for games, costumes, and pumpkin decorating. Have a small Halloween dinner party. Host a Halloween High Tea. These are all ideas that offer maximum fun for a small group of people. 

  • If we have to quarantine and stay safe at home, then we'll put everything into it and have Halloween fun safely. Quarantine-O-Ween Part 2. March 31 was Quarantine-O-Ween, a day to break the monotony of quarantine and give Halloween fanatics something fun to do in the time of corona, because the depression and fear was hitting hard, and Halloween lovers know first hand that a great fix for that is fear that we can control. That's why so many love the spooky life and horror movies. We control the fear. We won't let Halloween be canceled. Where there's a will there's a way and Halloween lovers worldwide will find a way to celebrate. It might not look like what we're used to, it might not be a physical party with all our friends, but Halloween will live. 

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