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5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween This Year

Ianni Le

As the spooky season approaches, we're scrambling to adjust our traditions so they line up with public health and safety requirements about masks, social distancing and the size of gatherings.

Luckily, there are still so many different ways to celebrate Halloween. Here are ideas for all ages — share them with your college student, and plan some fun for your own household or neighborhood.

A Fresh Spin on Trick-or-Treating

Did you do Boo Bags with friends and neighbors when your kids were little? The idea was to leave a bag or bowl of Halloween toys and treats at someone's door after dark, ring the bell and run away before they could see you. Having been booed, it was then your turn to "boo" someone else. Good, clean and slightly spooky fun!

Well, Boo Bags are back and better than ever, and this is an easy way for your student to celebrate in their dorm or off-campus housing.

Anyone can start the boo-ing, or your student may want to "boo" everyone on their hall or in their house by dropping off goodie bags full of candy, knick knacks or whatever else they can think of. They might even want to challenge their friends to do the same.

Your household could have a blast creating personalized bags for your neighbors, and possibly include invitations to dress up and have a picnic at a local park together. Include Halloween decorations like fake cobwebs or toy spiders — invite a little friendly competition to see who can decorate their front door best!

Get Creative with Masks

Needless to say this is the year when people will be incorporating masks into their Halloween costumes in both traditional and unexpected ways. There are sure to be skeleton and plague-themed masks, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) masks, and masks inspired by The Purge (a series of dystopian horror movies), as well as of course character costumes that were meant to have masks to begin with.

If you haven’t jumped on the trend of making your own masks or personalizing store-bought masks, here's your opportunity. Take it as a challenge to wander a little bit out of your comfort zone with your costume this year!

Here's a collection of Halloween-themed masks available on Etsy and from other sellers >

Pets Like to Dress Up, Too

(At least we'd like to think they do!) Whether you’re a seasoned pet costume designer or a novice pet parent with your heart set on embarrassing the new member of your family, start now to find or create the perfect costume for your animal companion.

If you’re anything like my roommate and me, you’ll be planning your whole ensemble around your pet’s costume (our puppy bears a striking resemblance to Dobby, the house elf from Harry Potter). But if you've already picked out your own costume, see if you can incorporate your furry little friend into the fun!

Check out this list of doggy costume ideas. Maybe the neighborhood pets want to join in, too! A costumed pet parade around the block is sure to be a Halloween holiday highlight for everyone involved.

Indulge in a Spooky Film Fest

It’s that creepy, crawly time of year again when you want to cuddle up and binge your favorite Halloween movies. Make a list of your household’s favorites and make a night of it. Dress up in costumes (or animal onesie pajamas) and prepare some themed movie snacks. Don’t forget to stock up on your favorite Halloween candy beforehand, too.

Find (and Carve) the Great Pumpkin

Take advantage of the brisk fall air to visit a local pumpkin patch with your friends. Because it can be a safe and socially distanced activity, some are still offering corn mazes and hay rides as well as pumpkins in every shape and size for your Halloween decor.

Once you've found the perfect pumpkin, invite everyone to a park or backyard to carve Jack o' lanterns together. It can be BYO carving tools, hot cider in a thermos, and whatever else you need to make it festive. Just remember to  wear a face covering and maintain social distance while you’re out having fun!

Everybody’s comfort level is different right now, so be sure to communicate with your circle to make sure they’re okay with your plans. However you decide to celebrate, get creative, stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!

Ianni Le is a freelance writer and content creator. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, graduating with a degree in Media Design and English Literature. Ianni grew up in Shanghai, China and enjoys her dogs, books and food equally.
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