13 Alternatives to Trick or Treating


If there was one holiday that follows the most social distancing protocols, it has to be Halloween. Most kiddos are already wearing masks, person to person contact is under 15 minutes, and it is outdoors. But, if going door to door the traditional route is not in the cards, here are 13 alternatives to trick or treating to keep the spooky spirit of Halloween alive this year.

1. Virtual Costume Contest

Dress up, take a photo, create a social media thread, invite others to do the same, and voila you have a virtual costume contest. Other options would be to have everyone send pictures to one person, create a google form or online poll, and have everyone vote. Best dressed wins a predetermined prize. 

2. House Decorating

Get lights, pumpkins, fake cobwebs, and let the kids plan out how to decorate the house. This works outside, but would also be fun to do inside. Kids can decorate their bedrooms. They’d love it!

3. Parade 

Plan out a route, decorate a vehicle, and have friends join. Or meet at a park or other open space. Let kids walk around in costumes and throw candy. If you choose this activity, be sure to find a safe location and do not hold up traffic on the streets.

4. Movie & Candy Night

Depending on the age of your kids, this could be something super spooky or something short like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Let the kids have a say, pop some pop corn and toss together with candy corn for a festive mix. Add some homemade punch and the kids will remember the family time. 

5. Treat Buckets aka “Boo Bucket”

Boo Buckets
Boo Buckets

Buy some pumpkin buckets–about a dollar at most stores–and fill them with goodies: candy, coloring books, small toys, light up pumpkins or glow sticks, crafts, etc. Give to children on Halloween or make it a little fun like Easter and hide the bucket so the child can find it. Combine this with some of the other activities for a full night of fun. 

6. Candy Stations & Carnival Games

Let each family member pick out a bag of his or her favorite candy and be responsible for creating a carnival-style game. Family can play the games with the prizes being the candy. Everyone gets a mix of what everyone likes. The best part is that kids can be creative and create a game to play with others. Need a few ideas? Try this blog post from The Spruce

7. Countdown Calendar

A play on an advent calendar for Christmas. Set up some type of calendar with pockets or pull tabs. Each day kids will pull up the tab to reveal a little prize, message, activity, or treat. On Halloween, expand the fun by have something extra planned like ordering take out, a family game night, or one of the other activities in this post. 

8. Homemade Haunted House

For little kids, save those Amazon boxes and buy some Duck tape. Let them get creative designing their own haunted playhouse—maybe a village of haunted playhouses fit for trick or treating. Little ones would really get into this activity. For bigger kids, give them a space–like the basement–to creatively design their own haunted adventure. Make tickets; tour the house. 

9. Pjs with New Halloween Themed Book

Is it just me or did the kids grow like crazy over the summer? If so, they may need some new PJs. Buy a fun Halloween themed pair and a spooky read to go with them. Snuggle up for the story with hot chocolate. 

10. Craft Like Crazy

Halloween craft
Pumpkin decorating

Shop the Dollar Tree or Target Dollar Spot to find some crafting items. Or let kids search Pinterest for some art ideas that inspire them. Gather supplies and try a new craft each day. If the craft is more complex, spread it out over the course of the week. Take pictures to share on social media or wrap as gifts for loved ones. Don’t forget to make a homemade card.

11. Scavenger Hunt

Instead of the door to door of trick or treating, create a list of things one might see in the neighborhood around Halloween. Then, take the kids outdoors for some fresh air. Give them each a clipboard and a pen. Have them check off the items on the list. For more inspiration check out this post from Fun Loving Families

12. Candy Hunt

Buy a few bags of individually wrapped candy. Hide them around the yard or in some rooms of the house. Sends kids around with buckets to hunt for the candy. This could be made more challenging, by hiding larger candy bars with a clue attached. Older children have to solve the clue to find the next candy location. To get started with this option, check out this free printable from Ministering.

13. Boo Your Neighbors 

Gather a bucket full of Halloween goodies, attach a sign, secretively deliver the goodies, and watch the neighbor’s excitement from your window. Once “booed” the recipient places the sign in the window and repeats the activity. Here is a free printable from Happiness is Homemade. This is so much fun! In the past, we’ve done this at work with coworkers, but it works in so many settings. Instead of doing this with neighbors, it would be perfect to start with a small circle of friends. Drive by, drop the goods, and go.

With Halloween less than a month away, these activities can provide some alternatives to trick or treating. No matter how you choose to celebrate the upcoming holiday, the most important part is that you are making memories with your loved ones. Happy Halloween!

Of course, pumpkin patches are always fun activities to add to the list. Read about Green Bay Area pumpkin patches here