For kids, Halloween is the biggest celebration of the year—when else do they get to gorge themselves on chocolate while wearing a superhero costume? Last year, parents found all kinds of ways to safely celebrate the spooky season (hello, Halloween candy chutes and “You’ve been booed” kits), and this year is shaping up to be another year of careful—but fun—trick-or-treating. We did our research and tapped the experts to uncover the biggest Halloween trends of 2021, and we’re happy to report that families are gearing up for a decidedly festive (and safe) fright night season. From costumes to activities, here are the coolest-yet-spookiest things happening this October.

RELATED: Witchcore, Halloween Trees & 4 Other Halloween Décor Trends Taking Over 2021

Halloween costumes for kids
halloweencostumes.com

1. Pop culture-inspired costumes

While many people decided to skip dressing up in 2020, sales of Halloween costumes are almost double that of last year, the pros at halloweencostumes.com tell us. And for kids’ costumes, the mega retailer reveals that the hottest picks for the under-12 set are Disney characters (Raya and the Last Dragon, Descendants), movie inspo (like Hotel Transylvania, Ghostbusters and Paw Patrol) and video games (Minecraft, Fortnite). Some shows that have been more popular with older audiences—like Cobra Kai and Ted Lasso—are already tracking to be trendy kids’ costumes. Because c’mon, how cute would a pint-size Roy Kent be? (Psst: The online retailer warns that parents should order their costumes soon before sizes start to sell out!)

Halloween covid trends
AleksandarNakic/GETTY IMAGES

2. “Haunted Trails” and other COVID-influenced Halloween celebrations

People may be more likely to celebrate the season this year than in 2020, but with the Delta variant raging, safety is still paramount for families. As such, searches for “Halloween face masks” are up 60 percent on Google in the last week alone, and searches for “DIY Halloween masks” have increased 64 percent on Pinterest. If your DIY skills are lacking (no judgement), we’re fans of these adorable Halloween-themed masks from Etsy. Or, for something a little more subtle, these purple, orange and black masks are practical and festive. Similarly, Pinterest tells us that searches for “Halloween outside” have also seen a ten-fold increase. Apart from last year’s Halloween candy chutes (which parents should expect to see again this year), one other way that families are thinking outside the box for creative and safe fright night festivities is with “haunted trail ideas.” These outdoor walks can be as spooky or cutesy as you like (think: a winding path through the park with ghouls and goblins along the way or an easy maze in your backyard dotted with pumpkins and candy).

trick or treat trends
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3. Candy, lots and lots of candy

Forget costumes and masks—Halloween is all about the candy. But kids falling into a Hershey’s Halloween coma isn’t exactly new, so why the mention? Well, what’s predicted to be different about this year is the sheer amount of the stuff. According to recent research from Packaged Facts, people are planning to extend seasonal and holiday celebrations to make up for “lost gathering time” during the pandemic. In other words, Halloween candy sales are slated to be huge this year. That might explain why many stores are expected to put out their seasonal treats even earlier than usual—Costco put its Halloween candy out in May already! Hey, it’s never too early to feast on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, in our opinion.

Amazon

4. Halloween Squishmallows

Squeezable Squishmallows have been popular for years, thanks to their adorable lineup of characters and, well, squeezability. And now these sweet plush toys have been given the Halloween treatment with fun options to choose from like the Hocus Pocus witches, ghosts, draculas, pumpkins and even a PSL. But if you want to nab one for your kid’s trick-or-treat basket, you might want to act fast—searches for “Halloween Squishmallows” were up 1,200 percent in Google in the last month alone.

Old Navy

5. Halloween pajamas

If there was one fashion trend that has defined the last 18 months, it would be comfort. So, of course, we’re bringing lounging into the holiday season with a selection of super soft, cozy Halloween-themed pajamas. There are tons of great kid-friendly picks to choose from here (how adorable is that unicorn set?) and families are already scoping out deals on Old Navy Halloween pajamas, a search term that’s up 1,100 percent in the last month.

halloween trends movie night
Cavan Images/GETTY IMAGES

6. Halloween movie night

With Addams Family 2 and Hotel Transylvania both being released for home viewing on October 1, family movie night this Halloween is going to a whole new level. Need some more inspo for your weekend spook fest? We’ve got the best Halloween movies you can stream on Disney+, funny Halloween movies and the absolute best Halloween movies for kids, according to their age. Just don’t forget the snacks.

RELATED: 43 Halloween Activities for Kids, Ranging from Spooky to Cutesy

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