Halloween may look different in 2020, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be any less enjoyable.
Sure, wearing a mask took on a new meaning this year, but when you plan a virtual Halloween with your family, kids can safely celebrate the holiday while wearing a mask better suited to the season.
We’ve rounded up five ideas to celebrate a virtual Halloween in 2020 that are as fun as they are simple to execute. They work for a variety of ages, and most can be adjusted to fit your family’s favorite traditions.
Connect with friends and family, even if they usually live too far away to trick-or-treat with, in TREAT TOWN from Mars Candy Company. The app lets kids “visit” those who you’ve connected with in the app while actually collecting real candy. Here’s how it works:
Families can participate via phone apps or online, so make sure your Internet speed isn’t the scariest thing about this Halloween. Create an account for your family, and decorate your virtual “door.” Invite and connect with friends and family to build up your neighborhood. Make sure to buy credit towards candy that you can pass out to your virtual visitors—that candy can be redeemed for real treats.
Watch Movies Together
New technology means you don’t need to be in the same room—or even the same city—to enjoy a movie together. Disney+ recently rolled out GroupWatch, which allows viewers to sync streams so everybody can watch the same movie at the same exact time. Need to pause or rewind? The film will pause or rewind for other viewers, too, making sure everybody stays on the same scene. Watch Family-favorite Halloween classics like Hocus Pocus, The Haunted Mansion, or Halloweentown with up to four different accounts (or 7 different users) at once.
GroupWatch doesn’t have a feature that lets you talk or video chat during the movie, which is why we suggest connecting via Zoom or other platforms for an even more interactive experience while you watch.
When streaming, it’s especially important to have fast home Internet, especially if you want to use other devices to chat with others while watching movies.
Host a Virtual Halloween Party on Zoom
Send out Halloween party invitations and host a virtual gathering for your family and friends via video conferencing tools like Zoom.
Just because the party is virtual doesn’t mean you can skimp on preparation though. Send out cupcakes and candy to guests (or ask them to provide their own), and pick up a pumpkin beforehand if you’ll be carving. And with a digital party, it’s even more important to dress up the house in Halloween decor to get you and your kids into the Halloween spirit sans guests.
Another favorite party activity is sharing scary stories. It’s easy to find kid-friendly stories for Halloween online, or go analog with the classic book “Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark.”
Help set the mood at home by dimming the lights and setting out popcorn—just make sure you’re ready for a few sleepless nights when the stories get too scary for your little one!
As the host, you’ll need to move the party from activity to activity. Set time limits for pumpkin carving and costume sharing, and don’t be afraid to mute guests when needed. A virtual party might look and feel a little different from what we’re used to, but with the right activities it can still conjure that spooky, fun feel.
Virtually Tour Haunted Houses
This year isn’t ideal for visiting Haunted Houses, at least not in person. But the latest technology means your family can have a similar experience from the safety of home. A number of places have introduced virtual tours of haunted houses, ranging from the mundane (read: a museum style tour of real life haunted places) to the very scary. Loop in an educational experience with a tour of the Paris Catacombs for an all-in-one activity.
For the bravest kids of the bunch, a VR headset can make the digital experience more of a reality. Google Play VR, for example, has many haunted house experiences to choose from. Just be sure to check it’s age-appropriate first, since many are rated for Teen or older audiences. Unlike VR headsets of the past, you can find affordable versions that pair with your smartphone.
Show Movies on the Lawn
With the right equipment and a big enough space, safely gathering with neighbors (while keeping your distance!) might be possible. Showing a Halloween movie outside on the big screen is a fun way to celebrate Halloween while still following experts’ guidance about staying healthy. This can also be a good time for kids to show off their costumes to neighbors in a safe way!
Pick up a film projector, make sure your wi-fi connection is strong, and grab a blanket or two if it’s cool out. Suggest that your neighbors bring their lawn chairs and blankets along with their own snacks (and candy!) while displaying a family-friendly movie from a projector onto a blank wall or large sheet. Go the DIY route by hanging a king-sized sheet over your garage door.
Either download a movie or be sure to test your Internet connection prior to the big day—this is no time for loading screens or lags!
With so much of life going digital, connection is more important than ever. Here’s to a fun, healthy, socially distanced Halloween!