Written by: Brittini Barnes, OTR/L, Teresa Hans, OTR/L, & Tiffany Thomsen, OTR/L

Halloween 2020: Tips and tricks to keep your family safe during COVID-19.

Pumpkin spice everything has returned, humidity is lowering a little bit in South Florida, and back to school supplies are starting to go on clearance in stores…. which can only mean one thing- Fall is here!

One of the holidays we look forward to the most each year is Halloween! From dressing up in creative costumes, celebrating with yummy treats and fun toys, putting up spooky or silly decorations, and carving jack-o-lanterns- Halloween is a tradition for many families! This year Halloween falls on a Saturday, allowing for all kids and families to join in the festivities without the worry of having school the next day. However, COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into Halloween 2020 plans for most! 

Never fear- because there are so many safe, and fun ways to still participate in Halloween and Fall celebrations while following CDC recommended guidelines. You may even create a new tradition this year!

How can families safely trick-or-treat this year?

Remember- it is important to wear a mask that helps to block particles in the air, carry hand sanitizer on the route, and maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet from other people around the neighborhood or other communities. Plan in advance with others in your neighborhood how people will pass out candy.

An alternative is to plan a Trunk-or Treat with friends or neighbors at a park or some other area. Families can also plan drive-by trick-or-treating which work just like COVID drive-by birthday parties. 

Try these safety tips for passing out candy in your neighborhood or during a trunk or treat:

  • Make a DIY Candy Chute! These long tubes can provide the distance and add fun to passing out candy. Make sure to load the chute by using a clean, gloved hand or tongs to reduce contact. Check out this How-To video here:
  • Avoid offering a bowl of candy, and instead create individual bags or cups of treats and place them out on a table on your driveway or some other outdoor area that allows distance between you and others. Instruct trick or treaters to pick up one item from the table as they visit, then refill the table when needed!
  • Use a ladle or reacher/grabber to pick up and place treats into children’s buckets, allowing no contact and maintaining distance between both parties! Both of these items can be found at Dollar Tree!
  • Do you have a fence? Tie individual pieces of candy on it using ribbon or string for kids to retrieve on their own.
  • Don’t have a fence? Attach candy to wooden skewers or stakes placed around your front yard.

I’m not ready to venture out with others- How can I celebrate at home?

There are plenty of ways you can turn Halloween into a fun family activity this year! Try a twist on the Easter Egg hunt, but get some glow in the dark eggs, or simply use eggs with Halloween friendly colors or designs. Decorate your lawn with tombstones and hide eggs filled with candy and prizes around the yard. Here are some Halloween friendly eggs for purchase on Amazon (paid links):

Skull themed eggs:

Green colored eggs:

Emoji themed eggs:


Another family friendly activity it to make a silly scavenger hunt with clues that the family can solve to search around the house for candy and prizes. Check out this link for a ready to print scavenger hunt: https://www.playpartyplan.com/free-printable-halloween-scavenger-hunt/

Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Add a twist to your scavenger hunt by including gross motor challenges such as “tight rope” walking, jumping, or animal walks!

Try a new family tradition of having a Halloween Piñata! Check out these fun piñatas found on Amazon (paid links):

Or if you are feeling really crafty, you can make one on your own. Click here to see 10 creative ideas and instructions for making your own Halloween piñata from the Do-it-yourself Network. https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/make-and-decorate/entertaining/creative-halloween-pinata-ideas-pictures


What are some other low prep/low cost ways to celebrate Fall & Halloween at home?

Plan a Halloween Movie Marathon complete with pizza, popcorn, and caramel apples!

Check out the library or streaming platform of choice for some of these fun, child-friendly Halloween movies:  

  • The Nightmare before Christmas
  • Coraline
  • Goosebumps
  • Hocus Pocus
  • The House with the Clock in its Walls
  • Spookley the Halloween Pumpkin
  • The Addams Family (cartoon or live action)
  • Super Monsters Save Halloween
  • Toy Story of Terror
  • Room on a Broom
  • Hotel Transylvania
  • Frankenweenie
  • Monster House
  • Corpse Bride
  • Pooh’s Heffalump Movie
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Casper
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
  • Halloween Town
  • Beetlejuice
  • Children’s shows with Halloween episodes include: Bubble Guppies, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Monster Musical, and Scooby Doo.

Want to join other friends safely? Host a Zoom Halloween dance party and jam to Halloween friendly music or learn the dance from Thriller together.


How do you plan to celebrate Halloween this year? Share with us in the comments!

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