Instead of Trick-or-Treating, We're Having a Candy Hunt, Halloween Movie Night, and More

For many kids, Halloween is the "best day ever." Between the unlimited candy, the permission to dress up in public, and the fun to be had with friends past bedtime, what's not to love? But, because 2020, Halloween fun is in jeopardy. Considering that the CDC specifically advises to avoid participating in traditional trick-or-treating to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, a plan B is definitely in the cards for us.

Thinking about skipping Halloween fun makes me sad. My daughter has already missed Easter-egg hunting, summertime carnivals, and a slew of other precious events that mean the world to her. I refuse to let COVID-19 ruin yet another opportunity to make memories, so instead, I'm making up for lost time by hosting a Halloween/Easter-egg hunt/carnival night at home in lieu of traditional trick-or-treating.

Since the CDC recommends keeping crowds to a minimum, I am only inviting my COVID-19 pod — two other families who we have isolated with since the springtime. We'll have the kids dress up in their costume of choice for the festivities. Using my outdoor space as the venue, I'll be hiding Halloween-themed plastic eggs for the kids to find. But instead of pastel eggs filled with jelly beans, they'll be getting brain-shaped "eggs" filled with toy brains and plastic jack-o'-lanterns stuffed with candy. Going through all of the found eggs should give the kids a thrill, much like going through their candy stash at the end of a successful trick-or-treating session. But this way, there will be fewer hands touching the treats and less opportunity for any ick to get in the kids' mouths.

Following the egg hunt, we are going to enjoy things that we missed by skipping the state fair this year. From making homemade fried dough topped with orange and black sprinkles to playing carnival-like games, including tossing objects into a barrel (using monster-shaped balls, of course!), we're making up for lost time.

After a little orange and black firework display (since we missed Fourth of July fun, too), we'll settle into an outdoor movie to mark the end of an untraditional, yet supermemorable Halloween. We'll pin up a sheet and use a projector to watch a socially distanced film, while still being able to share some giggles and memories with our friends. Us parents get an opportunity to relax and enjoy a Halloween-friendly cocktail, and the kids get to enjoy an old classic (we're thinking a Charlie Brown flick this year).

Like everything else that's happened in 2020, Halloween is changing, but there's no way that I am letting this holiday pass us by without observing it — even if it means foregoing traditional trick-or-treating. It hurts my heart thinking about my daughter missing out on such a fun tradition, but I'd rather know that I am keeping her safe (as well as keeping other people safe) by following CDC recommendations. This way, I'll feel calmer and will be able to enjoy the evening more; we'll all have more fun that way.