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Safe and Alternative Halloween Family Activities
by Ashley Smith, FAACT-recognized Support Group Leader and FAACT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board Member
Happy Fall! October is here and that means cooler breezes, leaves are displaying a beautiful array of vibrant hues, and everyone’s favorite spooky holiday is quickly approaching. But what will Halloween look like this year? As many families are searching for ways to safely celebrate Halloween amid the Covid-19 pandemic, this collection of socially distant Halloween ideas will ensure that you too can create your very own Spooktacular Halloween!
Virtual events are a great alternative to in-person gatherings that allow families, friends, and school communities the opportunity to come together while staying apart. This is also a particularly fun way for relatives that live far away to join in on the festivities. Host a virtual mad scientist event, magic show, costume parade, or jack-o-lantern carving showcase. How about a virtual escape room? (Teens and adults, that suggestion is for you!)
Surprise the kids with a family fun Halloween party! Planning parties is one of my favorite things to do. Here are ways to create a fa-boo-lous at-home Halloween celebration this year.
Decorate your home! Whether you would like to roll up your sleeves and do some fun DIY projects, invite your young ghouls and goblins to craft and display their best Halloween art displays, or turn your home into a haunted house, decorating will definitely get everyone excited for October 31st to arrive.
Plan Halloween movie nights or a weekend movie marathon! Select a special day once a week (or one weekend) to sit down as a family and watch a Halloween movie together. My kids are old enough that they enjoyed helping me pick out which movies we will be watching.
Carve/decorate pumpkins! A classic Halloween tradition for many families. Allergy-friendly alternative if someone has an allergy to pumpkins - purchase a styrofoam or cardboard pumpkin to paint teal and decorate it. You can also print out a pumpkin template or draw a pumpkin to decorate and display around your home. Did you know that teal pumpkins represent inclusion for all trick or treaters with food allergies or other conditions? More information about the Teal Pumpkin Project® can be found here.
Bake allergen-friendly Halloween desserts! Halloween can be a very scary holiday for families managing food allergies but this year my kids are particularly excited to help bake and decorate allergen friendly sweets. Even if you do not have allergies, spending time together and teaching the kids new baking skills is a fun way to spend the day. Check out FAACT’s Allergy-Friendly Recipes Pinterest Board for more ideas.
Don’t forget to dress up! Halloween would not be complete without costumes! Grown-ups, let the kids help pick out or create a costume for you to wear too.
Play Halloween games! Kids will love these traditional games with a Halloween Twist. Pumpkin Ring Toss. Instead of ‘Simon Says’ play Frankenstein Says. Monster Mash Freeze Dance, Halloween Bingo, and there are many more ideas online (thank you, Pinterest) if you need some extra inspiration. You can also check out FAACT’s Halloween Pinterest Boards for fun, allergy-friendly ideas.
Create a Halloween-themed art project! Assemble a foam or wooden haunted house, get messy with finger paints, or have fun counting down the days until Halloween by creating a paper chain.
Conduct your very own mad scientist experiments at home! - Younger kids might enjoy simple science projects such as investigating pumpkins, float or sink, or maybe the leak proof bag experiment while older kids might prefer making slime or trying the elephant toothpaste experiment.
Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating
Pinatas! My family is doing a Pokémon Halloween theme this year, so I am overly excited to surprise my kids with their very own pokeball pinata to break open this year in place of trick-or-treating.
Scavenger Hunts! Pinterest has many free scavenger hunt printable ideas that are Halloween-themed. Make it a treasure hunt with non-food items or allergen-friendly treats as the hidden surprise! *Note: FAACT’s Teal Ghost Non-Food Fun Halloween treats can be found at your local Walmart.
Glow in the dark egg hunts! Reuse those plastic Easter eggs by filling them with either non-food favors or allergen friendly candies. Tip: use a sharpie to draw jack-o-lantern or ghost faces for an added Halloween touch.
Having trouble coming up with inclusive non-food Halloween treats this year?
As a FAACT-recognized food allergy support group leader for the Los Angeles area, hosting allergy friendly/non-food events for my community has been such a gift to me. I find myself unable to appropriately convey how meaningful it has been for me to see so many families over the years safely enjoy what can truly be a frightening holiday. Here are some allergy-friendly non-food treats that are sure to be a hit.
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) and Walmart have made it easy for anyone wanting to offer a fun array of FAACT’s Teal Ghost Non-Food Fun treats such as ghosts, yo-yo’s, bubbles, slime, pencils, teal skeletons and pumpkin cups, and more. Just look for FAACT’s Teal Ghost logo on the display cases and packaging in the Halloween section of your local Walmart.
Other ideas you may want to consider: a new book or puzzle, glow sticks, Rubik’s cube, spin tops, slinky, invisible pen with notepad, bookmarks, stamps, flashlights, mini footballs, beach balls, squish balls, keychains, mini plushies, bracelets, yo-yos, LEGO Minifigures, and more!
Whether you are staying home or just looking for allergen friendly alternatives to celebrate Halloween, I hope this collection of ideas will help you create a safe, but spooky good time this Halloween!