Socially Distanced Halloween: Four Fun Ideas for Teens and Families

Did the CDC just ban Halloween? Well not exactly, but as we have heard all throughout 2020, it will look different this year. 

For those of us with older teens and young adult children, the new CDC guidelines have less of a sting. It is recommended that we “consider fun alternatives that pose lower risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” Traditional trick-or-treating is considered high risk, and so likely are gone are the days of gaggles of little ones gathered at my doorstep.

Nostalgia about Halloween when our kids were little shouldn’t stop us from celebrating Halloween in 2020. (Twenty20 @rykov)

I can’t help but remember Halloweens past

I can’t help but be nostalgic while thinking of my kids with their cousins and friends prowling around the neighborhood on Halloween, blissful and carefree and coming home with a loot of sugary treats. Memories of kids dumping buckets and bags of candy on the table or the floor, where M&Ms and Skittles and Milky Ways and KitKats and Starburst and all sorts of sweets created a colorful pile of indulgence.

The kids would trade and discard, mom would eat the random snack size candy bars, and we would put a portion of the goodies aside to give to our local orthodontist who donates to the military and other organizations. So many memories.

I can’t help but feel nostalgic as I flashback to my childrens’ first Halloweens-my older child as a cute little baby pumpkin, and my younger child’s first Halloween in his adorable red pepper bunting. Through the years, my daughter was a dinosaur, a beautiful butterfly and later a psycho clown. My son was some sort of a vampire, Thing 2 with a friend, and even a slab of bacon one year. 

Did I mention that this year Halloween falls on a Saturday?  The most coveted Halloween day of all. That means Friday-Saturday-Sunday for “Halloweekend.”

And in typical 2020 style, a full moon will appear on Halloween. This is a rare and special event, occurring only once every 18 years or so on Halloween, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. And, this Full Harvest Moon will also have a blue tinge, bringing to life the phrase “once in a blue moon”. 

How can we celebrate Halloween this year?

So how can we celebrate safely this Halloween, and have some semblance of the Halloween spirit?

Here are 4 simple and CDC-approved ways to have a Spooktacular socially distanced Halloween:


Pull out those old decorations and put them up. Even that scraggly old plastic skeleton that probably should have been thrown away years ago. No kids at home? So what. Take those decorations outside and brighten up the neighborhood with some Halloween fun. Carve or decorate some pumpkins for display.

And for those with older kids engaged in remote learning, a Halloween blast from the past is sure to perk up their workspace. Caution tape is an easy solution to block off your front door in Halloween fashion, while leaving the candy outside for any trick-or-treat guests.

2. Host a socially distant Halloween costume party

No, you are not too old to dress up and have fun. My guess is that your friends could use the distraction and would love to join you in a responsible outdoor event. With three days in Halloweekend it will be easy to spread out your guests for a smaller but still boo-tiful time. Bobbing for apples may be out, but spooky mask contest is in. 

3. Send a Halloween care package to your grown and flown kids.

A box filled with their favorite candy and a little decoration from home will be sure to be a ghoulishly delightful addition to their holiday celebrations. Don’t forget about roommates and housemates too and put a little something in for them. Consider custom-making goody bags for your kids still at home, even maybe one for your spouse. We are never too old to enjoy a little bag full of our favorite treats.

4. Continue Halloween traditions where you can.

Traditions provide a sense of comfort and connection, two things especially important in the days of COVID-19. I still have the candy corn earrings my mother made for me in High School. I wear them every Halloween and will wear them again this year. Each year I make Pillsbury Halloween sugar cookies. The ones that already have the pumpkin or ghost magically drawn inside. I coordinate their bake time with the kids next door so when they come by the cookies are piping hot.

Even though neither of my children will be home this Halloween and the neighbors will not be trick-or-treating, I will still make Halloween cookies and drop them off for the kids to enjoy. The sugary smell will be sure to harken warm memories of Halloweens past, as we remain hopeful for the future. 

Wishing you all a magical, mystical, full moonlit and safe Halloweekend! 

You Might Also Enjoy Reading:

My Teens Are Over Halloween, But I’m Just Not Ready to Give It Up

About Shari Bender

Shari earned her BA in Communication from Stanford University and freelances all things Communication and Marketing. She is a cat-loving spiritual vegan and former admissions interviewer. With two grown children. Shari is happily and sentimentally embracing her Empty Nest
along with her husband of nearly 30 years. Her musings delight parents in numerous publications and online platforms, including Grown & Flown and

Read more posts by Shari

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