Trick-or-treat alternatives for an enjoyable celebration

Posted on October 21, 2020 at 6:00 am

By Alison Johnson

I really love Halloween. Thinking up the perfect costume is fun, and then there is the excuse to indulge in sweets!

You may be wondering, as am I, how we can still have a fun Halloween celebration with the restrictions we face right now. Many of us may err on the side of caution but hopefully not avoid having fun! I am hoping this post will help you create some fun for you and your family. Here I share some ideas and resources that can still make Halloween as fun as ever. 

I remember some of the best times I had as a kid was carving my jack-o-lantern for our front porch. It was a big production! My mom would round everyone together, and we would cover the dining table with newspaper because it got a bit messy! Then everyone was delegated something to fetch and bring to the table, whether it was the pumpkins or a bowl for the pumpkin guts.

Everyone sat down together with a pumpkin before them, including mom and dad! I think that was the best part. Everyone sat and bantered back and forth about each other’s jack-o-lantern faces as we carved our pumpkins.

This year, we can still do this Halloween activity and why not take it a little further-beyond our households. You could make jack-o’-lantern carving a neighborhood activity, carving or decorating pumpkins outside with friends and neighbors, while keeping socially distant from each other.

Extreme Pumpkins

You could also have a virtual pumpkin carving contest, bringing more friends and family into the fun! I would recommend on keeping all the electronics on high ground though! From my experience pumpkin guts get absolutely everywhere. I found some in my hair one year.

If you need any ideas for some fun and exciting jack-o-lantern faces try the book Extreme Pumpkins: Diabolical Do-It-Yourself Designs to Amuse Your Friends and Scare Your Neighbors, by Tom Nardone.


If you enjoy crafting and want to add more than just a jack-o’-lantern to decorate your porch or house this year I recommend checking out the digital resource Creativebug, which includes hundreds of online video classes for creativity. You can learn to create pumpkin dioramas, Halloween shadow puppets, and velvet pumpkins, for just a start.

Halloween would just not be Halloween without something sweet. Usually we get bombarded with sweets when trick or treating (or with left over candy after trick-or-treaters have gone home). This year if you are planning on something a little different, you can find fun ways to incorporate sweets into your celebration. One way to make them a part of the fun it is to create them yourself. Make it a family affair!

A Zombie Ate My Cupcake

Creating recipes in the kitchen is a great way to keep kids busy with an activity. Most kids love making a mess in the kitchen. One idea is to create a haunted gingerbread house. For some really fun recipes that are a bit spooky, try out recipes from A Zombie Ate My Cupcake: 25 Deliciously Weird Cupcake Recipes, by Lily Vanilli and Paul Parker.

Another way to make sweets a part of the fun is to create a sweet treat scavenger hunt for kids and adults. Grab some sweets or candy and hide them around your house or in your backyard. You can make it a slightly spooky or haunting experience with some spooky lighting to set the atmosphere. Everyone will have a spooktacular time finding sweet treats!

A scavenger hunt activity is great for all ages because you can make it as easy or hard as you want for the participants. Consider adding some spooky riddles to try to stump your family and friends and having a Halloween costume fashion show or contest!

Many of us will be making adjustments to our Halloween celebration this year, including me, so I hope these ideas encourage you to think outside of the candy bag!

Have fun carving, scavenging, and crafting, and remember to check your hair for stray pumpkin guts!

Alison Johnson

Alison Johnson is an Education and Enrichment Librarian who creates programming and events for ages 8–18. This means she gets to play with everything, including paint messes and mini robots. When she has free time she enjoys watching anything science fiction, hiking trails, and reading with a cup of tea.

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