Life has dramatically changed since the coronavirus pandemic began. Families are now spending more time together under one roof and aren’t interacting as closely with people outside of their immediate household.
With that, holiday celebrations have been impacted, and Halloween is no exception. Unfortunately, that can have an effect on kids. “There have been so many disappointments in 2020 for kids and families in general,” Mike Patrick, MD, general pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, tells Yahoo Life. “If Halloween has been celebrated in your family, finding out a safe way to continue that tradition is important.”
Patrick says that celebrating Halloween in your family’s typical way — or even going a little above and beyond your usual — can help boost mental health for everyone, including children. “Kids just need to have some fun right now,” says Patrick. “Celebrating Halloween can be helpful for them.”
Before you add even more to-dos to your list, keep this in mind, per LaShawn Wiltz, mom influencer and creator of the lifestyle blog Everyday Eye Candy: You don’t need to go overboard. “Remember to keep it light and fun,” she tells Yahoo Life. “Kids don't expect a lot, adults do. So keep it simple!”
While trick-or-treating may be off the table, below you’ll find 10 easy and affordable ways to have a frightfully good time at home this Halloween.
Ramp up the decor
To celebrate the Halloween season, Patrick suggests decking out your house in themed gear. These adorable candy corn lights are a fun twist on the classic indoor/outdoor pathway stakes. Each 13-inch tall candy corn has a time function that allows for six hours of bright, cheery fun. Just pop in three AA batteries, and you’re good to go.
Get pets in the fun too
Wiltz suggests that parents “focus on creating new traditions,” and what better way to than getting Fido in on the fun? Get your own furry Baby Shark with this sweet — and hilarious — pet costume. It is made of soft polyester that gently fastens under your pet’s stomach and across their chest.
Count down to Halloween
Wiltz says she just discovered Halloween countdown calendars this year. “They are a play on the holiday advent calendars that you use to countdown to Christmas,” she explains. “Each day there is a treat or activity focused on Halloween.” This fabric calendar features glitter numbers and a different Halloween-themed icon for each day’s pocket. You can even fill the pockets with candies or fun trinkets.
Elevate snack time
For a cooler weather activity, Patrick recommends making Halloween treats together, and you can serve your sweet treats on a themed platter. This ceramic set comes with a cauldron-style bowl and lid, 13-inch serving platter and little ghost and pumpkin holders that are perfect for storing toothpicks, toppings and other small gear.
Dish up Halloween fun
Halloween is all about fun, and sometimes even splurging on silly decor your kids will love. This cauldron is a quick and easy way to make your child’s jaw drop. It’s illuminated by eight multi-colored LED lights and has a six-hour timer, so you won’t need to turn it on and off.
Bake treats together
Wiltz says cookie-making is part of her family fun series of events leading up to Halloween. Whip up fun Halloween treats together with this set of three pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters. You can make classic cookies, or even use the cutters to “carve” out fun sandwich shapes.
Light up your home
Philips recommends getting your child involved in decorating your home. This string of charming lights can spice up your yard, kitchen or living room. Each string contains 20 pumpkins and doesn’t need to be plugged in, so you can place them just about anywhere.
Carve pumpkins as a family
Trick-or-treating may be tough this year, but “you still can get a pumpkin and decorate it,” Patrick says. Have your family pick out pumpkins together and then set aside a special afternoon or evening for carving. You can even hold a contest to see who comes up with the coolest design. This nine-piece kit, with jack-o’-lantern-style handles, has everything you need to carve your pumpkins.
Get little ones in on the pumpkin decorating too
These fun decals make pumpkin decorating simple, even for little children. Choose from one of 12 different patterns — 24 sheets in all. Simply pull off the stickers, place them on your pumpkin and you’re good to go. No sharp tools required.
Plan a family movie night
Wiltz has a “scary movie night with s’mores” planned for her family’s Halloween festivities, and Patrick advises keeping your child’s age in mind. “You can watch some age-appropriate movies that are Halloween themed as a family,” he says. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest has all the elements of planning for a fun Halloween, but isn’t scary, making it perfect for the entire family.
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