What a year for Halloween to fall on a Saturday. You could really make the weekend out of it, but—given that we’re in the midst of a pandemic and the CDC has recommended avoiding traditional trick-or-treating—how, exactly, do you make the most of the holiday? A spooky sleepover, my friends. It can be just your family or letting your kids invite a friend from their pod; no matter the guest list, borrow these ideas and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
No Trick-or-Treating? Throw the Ultimate Spooky Sleepover This Halloween
1. trick Out Your Pjs
For a truly next-level Halloween (COVID be damned!), make like My Super Sweet 16 and plan a mid-evening costume change for everyone. No, really—trade out the Spidey suit or Doc McStuffins attire for a set of Halloween PJs. Just be sure to order yours early though: Etsy has seen searches for All Hallows Eve-themed pajamas spike 206 percent this year.
2. choose A Creature Feature & Make It Your Theme
You can’t go wrong with pumpkins, cobwebs and plenty of orange and black. But if you really want to lean into the holiday, peruse our list of the top 65 Halloween movies of all time, choose one (or two!) to play that evening, and plan your décor around it. The Nightmare Before Christmas and Hocus Pocus have no shortage of merch sold online; just keep matches far away from any black flame candles.
3. create Your Own Escape Room
Even angsty tweens will stop their heavy sighs and eyerolls as they get into this game: You have one hour to solve 19 puzzles and three locks before a mad scientist turns your whole pod into werewolves. It’s a race against the clock, and you can connect the game to Amazon Alexa, so the device can track your time and provide hints—all set to a creepy soundtrack—to really get your adrenaline pumping.
4. try A Trick-or-treating Alternative
OK, so you’re not going door to door in the traditional sense. That doesn’t mean you can’t try a modified take on the tradition. Maybe you craft a candy slide to distribute treats in a socially distant way. Or you can hide candy in mini jack o’lanterns and let kids search for them like they would an Easter egg hunt. Or play “you’ve been booed” at your kids’ friends’ houses, dropping off treat bags for them to discover.
You can even trick-or-treat for UNICEF virtually this year, with kids playing online games and watching educational videos to earn coins that convert into real-life cash they can donate.
5. craft Your Snacks
With hayrides and bobbing for apples off the table this year, you might be looking for more activities to keep you going throughout the day. Why not let the whole fam get in on making a Halloween treat? They could pitch in with an on-theme dinner, sure, but what’s even more fun is turning dessert into a craft. If you’re going with Hocus Pocus as your vibe for the night, for example, try making these s’mores pops, modeled after Winifred Sanderson’s beloved “booooook!”
6. bring The Pumpkin Patch To Your Backyard
With a few hay bales, some floor cushions and a handful of gourds, you’ve got your own Great Pumpkin-worthy patch right in your backyard, just like vlogger Tiffany Davidson and Lowe's did above. You can let kids pick out their pumpkin and decorate it, or gather around the fire pit and tell scary stories. Just maybe skip “The Green Ribbon” from In a Dark, Dark Room, unless you want everyone sleeping in your bed—with the lights on—that night. (‘90s kids know what we’re talking about.)