12 - 48 Months

How to celebrate Halloween and maintain physical distance

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Halloween—like almost everything else—is going to look a little different this year 👻

Trick-or-treating guidelines published by the CDC are somewhat vague, Halloween parades will likely be cancelled or held virtually, and festivities in general may feel a bit more subdued.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate if you’re willing to get a little creative. Toddlers and preschoolers may not remember much about last year’s Halloween anyway, which takes some of the pressure off of this year’s celebrations. Who knows? You may end up with a new family tradition or two to carry into the future.

Here’s how you can still celebrate Halloween during Covid:

Trick-or-treat at home

Traditional trick-or-treating can be fun for young children, but it can also be a little daunting—even frightening—for some. Doing it at home offers a low-stress way for your child to practice and enjoy it, and also allows you more control over the treats your child gets 😉 Here are a few ways to try trick-or-treating at home:

  • Put a bowl with a treat, a favorite toy, or something (gently) spooky behind every door in your home—including closets, cupboards, and anything a child can open and access. Then go door-to-door to see what’s hiding behind each one. For young children, discovery and surprise are every bit as fun as candy.
  • If you have enough adults and/or siblings, you can also take turns standing behind doors to practice what a typical trick-or-treat interaction looks like—including that all-important “thank you” to the treat-giver.
  • Young children adore repetition—and often think it’s hilarious. Have your child, with an adult, stand outside and knock or ring the doorbell. Each time you open the door, put one treat in their bag. Repeat as many times as you can handle it 🙃

Lots of costumes

Dressing up has near-universal appeal for toddlers and young children. Whether in a new costume or an old favorite from the dress-up bin, young children will most likely still love a walk around the neighborhood, or even just a chance to be in a costume (or several) for as long as they want.

Halloween scavenger hunt

Watching neighborhood decorations go up is a favorite Halloween activity; that’s one way this year is no different. Try creating a scavenger hunt for your toddler to help them keep an eye out for common decorations like pumpkins and ghosts. Here’s a fun printable you can use.

You can do this anytime in the month of October, but going on the day of Halloween may yield even more items to check off. Other common items to include on your hunt: spider webs, headstones, pumpkins, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, witches, skulls, brooms, skeletons, candy, and scary masks.

Even without a list, going on a walk or drive around the neighborhood to check out decorations is a fun, socially-distanced way to enjoy the spooky fun of Halloween.

Go on a “treat hunt”

For a twist on an Easter egg hunt, set out treats around a yard or your home, give your child a basket, and let the hunting begin. For added excitement, wait until nightfall (or lower the lights inside as much as possible) and give your child a flashlight; if you decide to do your hunt this way, you can just hide the treats in plain sight.

Have a (dance) party

Dance parties have become regular events during quarantine, and there’s no shortage of great Halloween songs to groove to. If you’re going to host your own party—with your family, your pod, or even virtually—Lovevery has you covered with a playlist of dancy, spooky, silly tunes.

Read spooky books

Even during a normal year, scary books are a Halloween staple. Young children can be easily frightened by masks, ghosts, and other Halloween images, but there’s a wide array of just-slightly-spooky choices for young children. Not only are these books fun and exciting, they can help your child understand the difference between reality and fantasy by casting traditionally scary images in a funny, silly, or sentimental light.

Here are a few favorite Halloween books that are just a tiny bit spooky (and very funny) for toddlers and young children:

  • Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara is about a little witch girl who moves into a house filled with ghosts and decides to give them proper care by washing and drying them, then using them as cozy covers and beautiful tablecloths.
  • A Tiger Called Tomás by Charlotte Zolotow & Marta Álvarez Miguéns is about Tomás, a boy who moves into a new neighborhood and worries that his neighbors won’t like him—until Halloween rolls around and he gets a new tiger costume to trick-or-treat in.
  • Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds & Peter Brown is the story of Jasper, a little bunny who wants to be a big-boy rabbit, and decides he wants to buy a pair of “creepy underwear” instead of plain white. Things start to get a little strange when he puts them on…
  • Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett & Paul Meisel is about baby Tootie’s first tooth, normally an occasion to celebrate. When she starts biting everything, her older brother wonders if maybe, just maybe, his sister might be a vampire baby.
  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler tells the rhyming tale of a witch and her cat flying happily on a broomstick. When her hat falls off and they have to go find it, some animals want a ride …then more and more. Is there enough room on the broom for them all?

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Posted in: 12 - 48 Months, Social Emotional, Books, Playtime & Activities, Child Development

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