This Mom Isn’t Trick or Treating During The Pandemic: Here’s why

As the mother of children who seem to care more about Halloween than birthdays, Christmas and Easter combined, Writer & Author, Summer Land, has been thinking a lot about what October 31st is going to look like this year. In this article, she shares her tips for talking to kids about a new (not) normal as well as Halloween activity alternatives.

A mother and two kids wearing HART + LAND Halloween Pups PJ Sets

When it comes to Halloween, I’m admittedly equally passionate about costumes, candy and catching up with friends as my kids are. I have always embraced the holiday whole heartedly and made it a priority to make our home the spookiest on the block, host parties that feel bigger than the Super Bowl and proudly take my kids trick or treating while painted green head to toe. (Tips on my DIY crocodile costume another time.) Lest we forget haunted hay rides?!

In all seriousness – Halloween is a holiday that allows my kids to engage in some serious imaginative play and nothing brings me more joy than to see them experiment with Dracula’s deep voice, a cat’s aloof saunter or (let’s be honest) Poppy and Branch’s technicolor hair styles.

But with second and third waves of COVID-19 hitting many parts of the world and the CDC advising against many traditional Halloween activities, my family and I have made the tough decision to stay home. While it’s disappointing, I know that it’s not going to be like this forever and in fact – will most likely result in some special new memories and traditions.

If you’re feeling apprehensive or are unable to ‘Do Halloween’ like you normally do, scroll down to read my tips for talking to kids about Halloween in 2020 as well as my alternate activity ideas.


How to talk to kids about Halloween in 2020


Explain why we can’t go trick or treating


Arguably the most exciting part about Halloween for kids, going door to door will most likely not happen this year for a number of reasons.

  • It’s hard to maintain social distancing when knocking on someone’s door and/or handling the same candy bowl.
  • Depending on your costume choice, it’s difficult to wear a face mask effectively.
  • Many residents who are elderly or have a pre-existing condition should not have people come to their homes.

When talking to your kids about missing out on the annual tradition, be as honest as possible without causing anxiety. The truth is: kids are incredibly resilient and if the news is delivered in an upbeat voice, chances are: they’ll be fine!

For kids who are scared of getting sick: One effective method I’ve found for this is stating that, ‘while the possibility of us (or someone else) is unlikely to get sick from trick or treating, it’s best to be extra-safe.’


My Favorite Trick or Treating Alternative:

Backyard Trick or Treating! We actually did this last year and it was such a hit. We created 10 game stations where our kids had to accomplish things like shaving a balloon, bobbing for apples, digging for eyeballs and pinning the femur on the skeleton to earn their candy or toy! I’ve shared some of my favorite pins for these further down.


Point out the costume parades can happen, even if they’re not at school


While my kids are back at school, many kids are not, which means there’s probably not going to be a Halloween costume parade. Some schools have opted for classroom-only scenarios or Zoom costume parades. If your school hasn’t, you can try offering your child an alternative such as the below. You can also explain that it’s simply too many people in one room and would be difficult to maintain enough space. (Especially when your costume has dragon wings involved!)


School Costume Parade Alternatives

  • Have a family costume parade
  • Film a costume parade and send it to family and friends
  • Organize a neighborhood costume parade (Socially distanced of course!)


No party? No problem!


Again, you’ll need to explain that you can’t have very many people over because it puts people at risk for catching COVID-19. With that being said, you can also point out that the parties can still happen, just with immediate family or a very small group of trusted friends. Like most things in the time of Corona, the alternative for this is taking it to Zoom!


Most importantly – Focus on what’s still happening


Just because we can’t knock on doors and gorge ourselves on candy doesn’t mean we can’t show our Halloween spirit!

  • Get your kids involved with decorating the exterior of your house so that other kids will be excited to drive by
  • Hop in the car with your family and seek out the spookiest homes
  • Find a COVID-safe pumpkin patch and get carving
  • Make Halloween last longer than a day! For example, try doing a Halloween themed recipe or craft project every day for an entire week!
  • Curate Halloween goody bags for family and friends and drop them off on their door step
  • Focus on the costume or better yet – costume(S)


Halloween 2020 means creating new traditions

This year, my kids and I have already started making some new traditions starting with getting matching Halloween PJs! Since Halloween falls on a Saturday, we’re planning on the day looking a little like this:


Breakfast: Frankenstein Avo on Toast



Morning Craft Session


Did someone say pumpkin spice play dough? Dough Parlour did! Featuring four scented tubs of non-toxic dough, three Halloween cutters and a rolling pin, this is the perfect set for some creative and engaging sensory play!

Dough Parlour Halloween Set


Dough Parlour Halloween Set







Pumpkin Carving


We will actually carve our pumpkins pre-Halloween, but my kids are determined to have a contest judging who did the best one. We haven’t decided yet, but we may FaceTime the grandparents to be the final judges!


Backyard Trick or Treating


Like I mentioned before, my husband and I are going to set up roughly 10 game stations for our kids to go to! There are LOADS of ideas on Pinterest, but here are some of my favorites:


Witch Hat Ring Toss




Pin the Spider on the Web


Monster Hopscotch




Family Movie Night


And of course…. nothing makes Halloween feel spookier than piling on the couch to watch a scary movie! While watching Hocus Pocus has always been a favorite, we’ve also been really into The House With A Clock In Its Walls and Goosebumps!



Continue exploring