Spooky season is upon us, but this year, we'll all be wearing masks on Halloween. October 31st falling on a Saturday with a full moon was just too perfect for 2020, so COVID had to come in and make it that much scarier. 

Since going door-to-door is a terrible idea right now, communities and neighborhoods are throwing parades, trunk or treats, and drive-through events so kids can show off their costumes and get some candy. Never one to let a pandemic ruin my party, I've got some Halloween celebration alternatives for this year, starting with this monster playlist.


bonfire with flames and sparks in the air

Not everyone is blessed with a big enough backyard for a bonfire, but it does make one barn-burner of a Halloween (as we say in the South) as long as the weather cooperates. Tell ghost stories, make s'mores, and camp out...unless you're too scared of course!

Make Your Own House Haunted

front porch with halloween decorations

Whether you feel comfortable going to a haunted house this year is your prerogative, but since most of us will be spending Halloween at home this year, you can bet we'll be going over the top with decorations, from affordable to outdoor and DIY decor. I've never been a big fan of strangers jumping out and scaring me, but I can get down with haunted house decor, like this tablecloth covered in bloody handprints and garland of bloody weapons to go with it.

Movie Marathon

family watching movie together

To many mummies and daddies, eating candy and watching movies at home on Halloween is more appealing than going out to the bar or a party, pandemic or not. Whether you're into horror or not-so-scary movies, you can stream and scream with Huluween, Netflix, or Prime. Turn movie night into a virtual movie marathon with your buds by using Zoom, Netflix Party, or Houseparty.


halloween cocktails

No Halloween-at-home party is complete without a little magic potion! Get out your witch's cauldron to concoct some of these Halloween drink ideas. Better yet, brew up some Halloween punch or create these candy corn jello shots.


halloween cupcakes

Since TP'ing houses is an irresponsible use of a scarce resource, this year, we'll stick to treats, like these adorable Halloween cupcakes and these yummy pumpkin desserts. Since you'll be filling up on sweets, skip dinner and make a couple of these clever Halloween apps instead.

Candy Hunt

kids looking at halloween candy

For those of you with little ghouls and goblins, make sure they get their fair share of sugar this year by adding a little Easter to All Hallows Eve. Instead of eggs, hide candy around the house and/or yard and let the kiddos hunt for it in lieu of trick-or-treating.

Ghost Somebody

basket of treats

This clever quarantine Halloween idea comes from Good Housekeeping, and no, it doesn't involve leaving someone on read. Ghosting people is kind of like reverse trick-or-treating. You make a basket of treats; leave it on a neighbor, friend, or family member's porch; ring the doorbell, and run. Of course, it would be smart to include a note that says it's from you. Bonus points if you write it like a spell.


group of friends playing games

Whether you play with people in your household, your pod, or virtually, game night can be a fun way to spend this haunting holiday. Try horror trivia, Hunt a Killer (recommended for teenagers and up), or play poker with these serial killer cards. If you like to color, buy one (or all) of these true-crime inspired adult coloring books: Bloody Alphabet (an A-Z of murderers), Serial Killers, or Serial Killers And Their Last Words.

Get Mystical

tarot cards

Invite a couple of friends from your pod over for a small but spooky sleepover, featuring tarot reading, Ouija board theatrics, and perhaps even a séance. There's no telling what double double toil and trouble you witches will get into!

By the way, I was today years old when I learned it was "double double" not "double bubble" even though I totally performed Macbeth in high school. What did I think, that the witches were chewing bubble gum? Funnily enough, double bubble is pandemic speak for hanging out with one other household.

Face Painting

woman celebrating dia de los muertos

You don't have to have children to indulge in a little face painting, but it does make you look like less of a weirdo. Celebrate All Souls' Day, aka Dias de los Muertos, with sugar skull face painting. Also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, the Day of the Dead falls on the first of November and is a day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of those who have died.

Virtual Costume Contest

ribbon for funniest costume

Perhaps we can't compete in public, but you know everyone is going to be posting their getup this year just like every other, so go ahead and get dressed up for the 'gram. Or you can always throw a Zoom costume party. Need some inspo? Here are 25 costumes you can DIY in under 25 minutes and here's some Halloween costume ideas for kids with masks.

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