About a month ago my three year old fully grasped the concept of Halloween and trick-or-treating. Thanks to some of her favorite shows on Netflix she finally understood why I dressed her up like a PJ Mask last year. 

“Mama!” she shouted as she came over to me, “This year I’ll wear my costume and we’ll go get candy! Baby [her little sister] can dress up too!” 

RELATED READING :: The Best Pumpkin Patches In & Around Austin

Naturally my heart broke. 2020 has been a debacle, I’m sure we can all agree to that. It’s been months since my kids have seen their grandparents or another human being in person for that matter. We’re taking quarantine seriously as we have some risk factors and don’t want to risk exposure. 

Now that my daughter has this understanding of the holiday I hated having to sit her down and explain that we won’t be doing traditional trick-or-treating. But I did it. Not because I’m a horrible monster who enjoys crushing her dreams, but because I believe it’s important to speak truths to our children. She recognized pretty quickly that life was different in March, suddenly mom and dad are home all the time and there’s no more daycare/school. She wanted to know why and we explained the situation, with age appropriate language. 

My oldest knows that people are getting sick and that we’re staying away from others right now so that we don’t get sick. We don’t give her all the details, but she understands we are trying to keep her, her sister, ourselves, and our family safe by staying away for a little bit. 

So I told her trick-or-treating was not going to happen, but we were going to do fun activities together instead. I’ve listed a few of the ideas I’ve had below to help you out if you’ve decided to forgo traditional trick-or-treating as well! I also think that some of these traditions are going to stick even when life returns to ‘normal’ and we’re able to celebrate holidays the way we used to. 

  • Cardboard homes for trick-or-treating: one year a mom’s group I was a part of created little homes out of cardboard or drew the homes on poster boards. The kiddos could go up to each home “knock” and receive a candy! You can even have your kiddos help decorate the little homes, create a story for each family, get as creative as you’d like! 
  • Halloween scavenger hunt
  • Witches potion/vomiting pumpkins: we got this idea from Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix. You place baking soda in a carved out pumpkin (or witch’s cauldron), then mix food coloring with lemon juice (or vinegar) and pour it into the pumpkin (cauldron) and watch the fun chemical reaction create a vomiting pumpkin or overflowing witch’s potion! 
  • Pumpkin hunt: like an Easter egg hunt, but using plastic pumpkins that can hold a candy or two inside! 
  • Pumpkin cookie or bat cookie decorating: whip up a batch of sugar cookies in the shape of pumpkins, bats, etc and allow your little ones to decorate with frosting, sprinkles, and maybe take a bite or two! 
  • Bat garland: designing, cutting out, and then stringing paper bats with your kiddo(s)
  • Spider web creation and decorating: using a hot glue gun you can create a spider web (with or without direction from your kiddo) on parchment paper. Once the glue is dry your kiddo can decorate it with paint and you can hang the webs up to admire them! 

While I really want to just say ‘screw it!’ and give my daughter a ‘normal’ holiday because honestly I’m sick of how much we’ve had to sacrifice this year, I know this is for the best. I also recognize that she’s young and hopefully the world will work to overcome this and we’ll return to normal at some point. 

What other ideas do you have for celebrating Halloween this year?

Photo Credit :: Lindsay Herkert Photography


Jaki was a mom working in the HR field turned to stay at home mom for two years, turned back to working mom, back to stay at home mom. (Whew!) She now spends her days trying to be the best mother to her daughters, Madi (4/2017) and Gwen (5/2019), while squeezing in relationship time with her husband, Zane. Their 3 rescued pups complete the crazy family. Together they live right on the border of Austin & Pflugerville. She loves Harry Potter, sci-fi, hiking, reading, being a vegan foodie, traveling, learning more about the HR field, figuring out how to homeschool the Montessori way, and writing about her adventures. Check out her blog at https://medium.com/nerdy-together


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