Even though Halloween isn’t cancelled, for lovers of this spooky holiday that’s kind of what it feels like. With physical distancing being essential to stop the spread of Covid-19, refraining from trick-or-treating this year is a smart decision – but that doesn’t mean the fun needs to end! There are plenty of ways to keep the scary celebration tradition going, even if you can’t involve the neighbours.

Scavenger Hunt

trick-or-treat alternatives: scavenger hunt

Hide clues for your child around the house and watch them use their problem-solving skills to work their way towards a bounty of loot at the end. If you are feeling poetic, make the clues rhyme! “Roses are red, violets are blue. To protect your feet, you put on your _______.” 

Candy Hunt

Borrow from another holiday, and do a spooky version of an Easter egg hunt. Grab those trick-or-treating pails and have your child search the house for hidden candy. Maintain the surprise of not knowing what candy they will get next, but without getting too close to other people. Watch their eyes widen as that bucket fills with tasty treats. 

Piñata Smash

trick-or-treat alternatives: pinata smash

Fill a fun piñata with Halloween sweets and treats, grab that stick, and get whacking. You can buy a pre-made piñata, or make your own.

Exclusive Party

Throw a VIP (the members of your household) monster bash! Buy or make some spooky decorations, play some funky music, get dressed up in your Halloween best, and party down. Play some festive games like:

  • Pin the bone on the skeleton
  • Freeze dance
  • Keep the “ghost” (white balloon) in the air
  • Halloween-themed charades
  • Hot potato, but with “spooky pumpkin”

Halloween Food Bonanza

Turn dinner into a Halloween feast with themed food items your child can help make. Some food item ideas include:

  • Pumpkin or mummy pizzas Shape dough into a pumpkin or mummy shape and let your child “decorate” it with their favourite toppings. Bake and enjoy.
    trick-or-treat alternatives: mummy pizzas
  • Witch’s potion drink Use food colouring or Kool-Aid to make ice cubes in a variety of colours. Put a mix of coloured ice cubes into a transparent glass, and fill with clear, fizzy liquid such as Sprite or 7-Up. As the ice cubes melt together, the witch’s potion begins to transform.

  • Pumpkin oranges Peel an orange and add a chocolate “kiss” or celery stick on top for a stem.
    trick-or-treat alternatives
  • Mandarin Jack-o-lanterns Use a permanent black marker to draw a Jack-o-lantern face on the top of individual mandarin snack cups. 

  • Build your own monster Lay out a variety of finger foods like cut-up fruit and veggies, cheeses, crackers, meats, etc., and let your child make their own monster face on a plate using the food ingredients. Go for a variety of shapes and colours to maximize the creative design opportunities. 
    trick-or-treat alternatives: monster fruit
  • Spider cookies These no-bake cookies made with crunchy chow mein noodles, chocolate and butterscotch chips, and nuts (optional) are a favourite in our house! Leave as-is, or add some candy eyes to enhance the creepy-crawly effect.

  • Worms in dirt Mix chocolate pudding with crushed Oreo cookies. Stir in some gummy worms or other insect-shaped candy. Top with more crushed Oreos. So messy. So gross. So delicious.
    trick-or-treat alternatives: Halloween food

Costume Fashion Show

Clear a space for a “runway”, and haul out the dress-up clothes. Have your child put on different costumes and do an in-home costume parade. Add to the fun by letting your child make their own costumes from items they find around the house.

Candy Exchange

trick-or-treat alternatives: candy drop-off

Coordinate with friends to do a candy exchange. Each family makes up little grab-bags of candy, Halloween treats, and trinkets. Put the grab bags into Halloween pails left on the doorsteps of the other families, and put a pail on your doorstep for them to do the same. Once all the deliveries have been made, your child, and your friends’ children, will have a bucket full of surprises without having to go door-to-door. (Remember to keep your distance of more than six feet if you happen to cross paths with your treat-delivering friends.)

Even though trick-or-treating is not an option this year, with a little creativity, the Halloween fun can continue. Do one of these activities, or combine a few into a spooky but safe Halloween blow-out. 

Heather M. Jones is a writer in Toronto and mom to two young boys. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.