7 trick-or-treat alternatives: How to have a fun Halloween with your kids without going door-to-door

October 23, 2020

Check out these 7 trick-or-treat alternatives and have a fun and safe Halloween with your kids!


Kids watching a Halloween movie as an alternative to trick-or-treating

For many people, trick-or-treating is a staple of Halloween, and something kids look forward to all year. However, in light of the global pandemic, the CDC has strongly advised against going door-to-door with your kids this year. But that doesn't mean that your kids have to sit at home and waste the spookiest night of the year! There are all sorts of trick-or-treat alternatives that capture the true Halloween spirit. So read on as we show you how to have a fun Halloween with your kids without going door-to-door!

1) Walk or drive around to look at Halloween decorations


Many people drive around to look at Christmas lights, but people put a lot of work into Halloween decorations too. Instead of going trick-or-treating, get the kids in their costumes and walk around the neighborhood to take a look at all the creative displays! Alternatively, you take the family around the block in your car and even visit other neighborhoods, too.

While you're walking or driving, consider playing a game like Halloween Bingo! You can make your own bingo cards, filling your boxes with common (or not so common) Halloween sights, like bats, ghosts, spiderwebs, and gravestones. Play as many games as you'd like and as a prize, hand out your kid's favorite Halloween candy. If you're feeling extra creative, make bingo cards with candy beneath the squares (like an Advent calendar). 

2) Have a video chat costume contest


Trick-or-treating isn't just about the candy - it's about the costumes, too! Dressing up in costumes is always an integral part of the Halloween tradition, and everyone loves to see the creative designs as kids go door-to-door. But if traditional trick-or-treating is off the table, there are still ways to enjoy the delightful disguises we all associate with Halloween. 

Rather than going out, consider putting on a video chat costume contest with your child's friends, classmates, and family members! This gives you and your kid the opportunity to really put your heads together to come up with the best costume possible. 

During the video chat, have each kid take turns showing off their costume to the other contestants! You can even set the scene and create a runway or decorate the room to match their costume if you're feeling extra creative. After everyone has had a chance to show off their work, they can vote on their favorite, or vote on categories, like "Scariest Costume" or "Silliest Costume."

Of course, it doesn't have to be a contest to be fun. Simply throwing a costume fashion show with friends can be a blast in its own right. However, it's always important to make sure your children are safe when they're video chatting online. Make sure to keep your session invite-only and reach out to parents to obtain permission beforehand. 

3) Decorate Halloween cookies


Decorating cookies provides a great activity no matter what time of year it is. As an alternative to trick-or-treating this year, consider getting creative in the kitchen with your kids! 

Simple sugar cookies are the perfect canvas for creating any Halloween design. Just make sure to have plenty of icing options! You can also find plenty of cookie-cutters in fun Halloween shapes to serve as a base for their tasty designs.

But you don't have to limit your cookie creations to simply icing and sugar cookies. Consider providing some of their favorite Halloween candy to use as decorations, too. You can find tons of inspiring recipes online that make use of treats like chocolate bars, marshmallows, candy corns, peanut butter cups, and more. 

Finally, you can do a lot more than simply decorate cookies - you can decorate with cookies! Break out your kid's favorite cookies and help them make a cemetery dirt cake (it's a lot better than it sounds) or even repurpose a gingerbread house and make a haunted gingerbread house

4) Outdoor Halloween movie night


Watching Halloween movies is a tradition for many people; there are always classic film marathons on TV and there are plenty to choose from on your favorite streaming service. But while watching a Halloween movie on your TV can be fun, consider taking the film outside to really get in the Halloween spirit. 

If you have a projector, consider setting up a bedsheet in your backyard to screen your favorite Halloween film for your family. Although they are usually meant to be scary, you can easily find Halloween films appropriate for all ages

But don't stop there! To really set the mood, take some time during the day to decorate your outdoor theater with various elements from the movie. If you don't have a movie selected just yet, you can always use more general Halloween decorations, like spiderwebs and even a fog machine. 

5) Tell spooky campfire stories


If you have a place where you can have a fire safely, wait until the sun sets and tell scary stories by the fire. You can take turns sharing some of your favorites, or read from one of the many popular collections available. Just like movies, you can find stories that are just the right amount of spooky for your kid. For added effect, consider placing bluetooth speakers outside so that you can play creepy ambient music or scary Halloween sounds. 

If you don't live in a place where you can safely have a fire, there are a number of convincing fire simulators you can buy that do a good job of setting the mood. 

Make sure that your campfire is a safe distance from your house, your roof, trees, and any dry brush or grass. Be sure to check with your county to find out whether or not there is a fire ban in effect. Never leave the fire unattended, and always make sure to have an extinguisher on hand. 

6) Try one-way trick-or-treating


One-way trick-or-treating can be a fun and safe alternative to your traditional methods. Rather than having kids come directly to your door for candy, you fill goody bags with individually wrapped candies and leave them at the edge of your lawn or driveway. If you organize such an event with your neighbors, this allows kids to put on their costumes and hit the streets without having to have close personal contact with the neighbors.

This alternative also provides some opportunities to get creative! If you and your family are participating in one-way trick-or-treating this year, you can get them involved in creating the goody bags. Provide them with fun stickers, markers, and other Halloween-themed craft supplies and have them decorate bags to put outside. 

Rather than just simply lining bags out on the curb, take some time to create a fun sign letting trick-or-treaters know where they can find your candy line up. Alternatively, you can use your car as a hub for one-way trick-or-treaters. While a traditional trunk-or-treating in a parking lot is not recommended by the CDC, you can decorate your car, leave it in your driveway and put your bags in the trunk. Then, sit back on the porch, watch, and wave as the ghouls and goblins grab their goodie bags.

7) Organize a candy hunt


A Halloween candy hunt is basically like an Easter egg hunt, but with a spooky twist. You can use regular Easter eggs and paint them orange, black, white, and other fall or Halloween colors. This is also a great opportunity to get crafty with the kids! Have them help decorate the eggs with googly eyes, paint pens, pipe cleaners, and so on. 

Once you've got your eggs, the real fun begins. For a new spin on trick-or-treating, fill half of the eggs with your kid's favorite candy and the other half with fake spiders, monster toys, or other fun, creepy Halloween items - opening each egg will be surprise every time! Finally, hide them around your home and your yard and let the fun begin!

Halloween cookies, a safe alternative to trick-or-treating

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Read more: Looking for more activities to do with your kids? Gather up all of that sourdough discard and try these recipes!

by Geoff Ullrich

About the Author

Geoff Ullrich is a writer and Content Marketing Specialist at Germania Insurance.