Halloween is not canceled. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the season in a festive, safe way that's fun and memorable for the whole family! From dressing up to making special foods to creating a scavenger hunt, ahead, discover how three creative families are shaping their own at-home Halloween adventures by incorporating both new and old traditions.
In the Sweeney household, Halloween is typically a long, fun-filled day consisting of trick-or-treating, neighborhood festivities, and mountains of candy. This year, the family of five will be staying home, but even though Halloween will look different, mom Shay Sweeney is determined to make it special.
"We will still let the kids put on their costumes and be kids and have fun," Shay told us. "We're going to decorate the yard with fun and festive pumpkins to get them in the spirit. We may not be going door to door to get candy, but they will have more of an Easter-egg-hunt moment with finding candy in the yard and filling up their pumpkin buckets. I can't wait to see their faces when they see all the treats hidden in the front yard!"
Shay and her husband, Ahmad, also plan on going all out with the decorations, even carving pumpkins with the kids to make up for not visiting a pumpkin patch. "I know the kids will ask why they can't get candy from their friends' and neighbors' houses, so I am going to make our yard extra special," Shay explained. "We're bringing the party to our own house with tons of pumpkins and candy. Creating our own magical moment is what I'm excited about."
Part of the fun will be letting Aubri, Averi, and Ashton pick out festive costumes and clothes from H&M — both in stores and online. "I am all about wearing costumes for Halloween, and H&M gives the option of being stylish while dressing up," Shay said. "Costumes tend to be super expensive and kids wear them one time, so I love H&M's price points. You can also get accessories for your costumes and don't have to go to a store to find the perfect pieces because they offer everything online as well."
Above all, what matters most to Shay this year and every year is that her family makes lasting memories together. "Halloween is that one time of the year that kids can dress up and just have fun," she said. "I plan on actually dressing up with the kids this year and getting in on that fun! Our time and silliness is what kids love and will remember for years to come. Let your kids pick your costume out and be whatever character they want you to be!"
Like the Sweeneys, the Gueary family is also foregoing trick-or-treating this year in favor of a celebration at home. "Our backyard has been our safe haven, so we will outfit it like a pumpkin patch and have Halloween crafts," mom Brandy Gueary told us. "Painting and carving pumpkins outside will be so much fun! It's very easy to treat it like another day because of all that is going on, but we won't. We will still put our Halloween socks on and watch movies as a family."
Making the entire day feel magical for their kids is Brandy and her husband Mike's top priority. "With everything being such a challenge, it feels wonderful to have any sense of normalcy, especially for children," she said. "This year, celebrating Halloween will make things feel 'normal' and give us an opportunity to have a lot of fun doing some things out of our regular daily routines."
When it comes to festive activities to fill the day with, Brandy is in no short supply. "Cook Halloween treats and food as a family to enjoy during the day. Pumpkin pancakes and candied apples are always a fan fave!" And for those who want to share some trick-or-treating magic with others, Brandy recommends creating premade goody bags with your kids and setting them outside so neighbors can take them without making contact.
Halloween wouldn't be the same without some on-theme looks, and this year, Brandy is all about pieces that are just as cute as they are cozy. "H&M is the ideal outfit and costume spot because we are going beyond just a costume this year," she explained. "We want to have fun all day, and to do that, the adults need comfy, stylish looks and the children need more than just costumes. Pajamas or cozies for the night, festive loungewear for day, and costumes for the activities. We can get them all at a great price at H&M."
For the Ricos, the entire month of October is one big Halloween party! "Halloween is like our Christmas; to say we love Halloween is an understatement!" mom Daniella Rico told us. "This year, we decorated our house early, and we went big. I usually wait until October, but I really wanted to get the kids excited and give them something to look forward to. We are going to continue to add some decor here and there until Halloween."
Leading up to the 31st, the family of six will also be doing Halloween-themed activities as part of a holiday countdown. "There are so many cute calendar printouts online — or you can make your own," Daniella said. "I think it will be fun for the kids to visually see a calendar with a countdown, and I plan to do a different indoor activity each day in October."
If you're feeling crafty, Daniella suggests making your own slime. "There's spooky slime, glow-in-the-dark slime, and more," she explained. "Whichever you choose, I guarantee you will be the coolest parent ever.” Another favorite Rico tradition? Halloween movie nights. "We do this every weekend in October," Daniella said. "Put on some fun, festive pajamas, get cozy — popcorn is a must — and get your movie night on!"
For their celebration on the actual day, Daniella and her husband, Mario, have their own Halloween party in store for the kids — complete with indoor trick-or-treating. "I plan on hiding candy all over our house and turning out the lights for a fun hunt in the dark!" she said. "There have been so many changes and disappointments in the last six months, and I want to make sure that Halloween is as close to normal as possible."
Part of that normalcy will be dressing up with the kids as usual. "I love going to H&M because it is a one-stop shop for my entire family," Daniella said. "I can get fun, festive outfits for my son and daughters and get coordinating outfits for my husband and I — all while staying within budget for my large family."
For Daniella, the biggest thing families should remember is that Halloween can be fun and exciting even from inside. "There are so many activities we can do at home as a family," she said. "We may have to make some adjustments to some of our traditions, but they will definitely still happen. I can't wait to try and make this the most memorable Halloween yet."