Spooktacular 2020 Friendly Halloween Ideas for Families

Ah Halloween, one of my favorite holidays of the year. Because who doesn’t love all things spooky? Ghosts and goblins, witches and vampires, haunted houses and, of course, this year’s new frightful addition…COVID 19. Ruining holidays and special occasions since March, am I right? 

You’re a real son of a witch, 2020. Go brew yourself. 

But all puns aside, I think a lot of parents are wondering how to handle Halloween this year. Should we slap on some masks and take the kids trick or treating? There are only so few years we get this opportunity before our children are too old to enjoy it. On the other hand, is it worth jeopardizing their health for one night of holiday fun? 

The truth is my family is still wrestling with this decision, and whichever way we ultimately swing, we’ve already had to say goodbye to some of our favorite Halloween festivities. My sons’ school trunk or treat has already been canceled, as well as the big party we usually attend at our Town Center. And no matter what decision we come to as far as trick or treating goes, nothing this year will look the same. 

Nevertheless, I’m determined to make the most out of this holiday season. COVID has taken a lot from us this year, but I refuse to let it take the Halloween magic. So I’m pulling out my innermost Sanderson sister and bringing the spooktacular fun to us with a few fun and easy ideas. 

Family Pumpkin Contest

Spooktacular 2020 Friendly Halloween Ideas for Families

Spooktacular 2020 Friendly Halloween Ideas for Families

Every year we carve and paint pumpkins, and this year will be no exception. My kids like to come up with their own designs, and last year we even turned it into a bit of a pumpkin contest. I’m not sure how we’ll top our BB8 and garbage truck pumpkins, but I have no doubt my children will come up with something brilliant {and labor intensive} for Mommy and Daddy to help them create. 

Boo Baskets 

Boo baskets are new to us this spooky season. I first saw the idea on Pinterest and Instagram last year, sort of a haunted take on the Easter basket, so this year I gave it a try. I bought each of my boys a basket and filled them with goodies, including a new Halloween book, pair of orange and black jammies, some pumpkin treats and a few other odds and ends delivered from Amazon. Nothing big or expensive, but when added together it made for a fun and festive surprise to kick off October. 

You’ve Been BOOed Gifts for our neighbors 

Spooktacular 2020 Friendly Halloween Ideas for Families

We may not be able to trick or treat around the neighborhood this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get in on some neighborhood fun. One activity my kids and I love to do is “Boo” the houses next to us. We put together some small treats or prizes and add a tag letting them know they’ve been BOOed. You can handwrite the Boo note, find fun free printables on Pinterest, or even purchase a kit from places like Walmart or Target. Then we simply load up our goodies and go around secretly delivering them to all the kids on our street. It’s a sweet and simple way to let your neighbors know you’re thinking about them, and added bonus, is social distance approved. 

Haunted Gingerbread House

This tradition began long ago when I was kid myself. My cousin and I loved decorating gingerbread houses at Christmas so much we started making them for other holidays as well. Leprechaun houses for St. Paddy’s Day, Marshmallow Peep villages at Easter, and perhaps my favorite, haunted gingerbread houses for Halloween. Back in the day we had to buy and make everything ourselves, but apparently our idea caught on and these days plenty of stores sell pre-made Halloween gingerbread kits. I purchased two different sizes from Target which include everything we need fo lots of spooky, tasty fun. {Pro tip:: if your kids don’t intend to actually eat the gingerbread house, skip the icing “glue” that takes forever to set and simply hot glue that sucker together. It takes approximately 1/10 the time to put together and saves you from one heck of a headache.}

Fright Night Movie Spook-a-thon 

Okay, so in all honesty my kids are five, two and one month old, so when I say “fright night” movie spook-a-thon what I actually mean is snuggling on the couch together watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse:: Mickey’s Monster Musical or Paw Patrol Halloween; but nevertheless, spooky fun will ensue. When it comes to movie nights I like to go all out. Matching Halloween jammies for the kids, themed monster snacks and cauldron cocktails {aka. apple juice with a few fake spiders floating around}, and maybe even a caramel apple or two. Heck, we might even make it a standing Friday night ritual for the whole of October!

Boo Breakfast 

Who doesn’t love waking up on a holiday morning to a fa-BOO-lous themed breakfast? And with Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, what a better way to start the festivities! I like to go all out and set a sinister table for my kids to enjoy – it makes the whole experience just a little bit more magical. And then comes the deviously delicious delicacies :: waffles dyed Halloween colors with spooky sprinkles on top. Donuts with eyeballs in the center. Pancakes in the shape of ghosts with chocolate chip eyes. All the little ghouls and boys will love getting into the Halloween spirit with this frightfully tasty breakfast. 

Family Halloween Costumes 

Last but not least, costumes. Whether we trick or treat around the neighborhood or not, we will continue our tradition of dressing in a family Halloween costume…even if we only get to wear them around our house. There’s nothing more special than picking out a new theme for the year and coming up with something for us all to wear. We’ve done It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Harry Potter, Mario Kart, and last year’s dino-rific theme, Jurassic Park. We haven’t yet come up with our idea for this year, but I know we’ll have the best time putting it all together. And if we don’t get the chance to show them by going  trick or treating, maybe we’ll do a little family photoshoot and send prints to our family and friends with a Halloween card instead. 

Sure, nothing about this year has gone the way we’d hoped, and so many events have been cancelled due to the pandemic. But holidays are what you make of them, and Coronavirus or not, I’m going to make sure this Halloween is spooktacular!

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Lauren M. is a native Houstonian who now lives one street over from the house where she grew up in Sugar Land. After a brief fling with Austin where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Lit from Southwestern University, she returned home to attempt to write the great American novel {or, you know, the next Harry Potter series}. A short while later a friend recruited her for a kickball league where she met a tall, handsome engineer who quite literally swept her off her feet. After tying the knot in 2014, they soon welcomed their first son Raleigh {October 2015}, and little brothers Renner {January 2018} and Rafe {September 2021}. When not chasing around her three crazy Texas tornados and reveling in the boy mom life, Lauren has discovered a newfound passion for photography and Photoshop, creating whimsical family portraits at @andwhetherpigshavewings on Instagram. You can also find her at @polyjuiceandpixiedust .


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