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Tricks (and Treats) for Celebrating Halloween at Home

Savannah Kuchar
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Halloween cookies

Rice students (pictured, from left) Emmy Chavez, Lidia Ochoa and Yvette Martinez have their spooky pumpkin cookies ready for their Halloween movie night.

Traditional ways of celebrating Halloween can pose risks this year in light of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you have to scrap the holiday as a whole. There are still plenty of ways you can spend this Halloween in the spooky spirit, while staying safe indoors.

Take trick or treating inside
This Halloween tradition can still be enjoyed in Covid times, just in more inventive ways. I’m stealing a page from the Easter Bunny’s book here: have a trick-or-treat candy hunt. One person in the house can hide the candy all around the house. Then on the night of the 31st, everyone else can search to find the sweet treats.

Make your own haunted house
Going to public haunted houses may not be the safest option right now. But have no fear. If you like a good scare this time of year, your own home sweet home can become a house of horrors just for the night. And you don’t need a huge budget or connections in the special effects department to do this. There are several DIY decorations options that use things you probably already have around the house. Here are some ideas: 

  • Old bed sheets or curtains (white or light colors are best) plus the splattering of fake blood (red paint or water with red food coloring both work) equals super creepy wall hangings that make your halls look like the inside of Frankenstein’s laboratory.
  • Cut eye silhouettes out of spare cardboard and tape glowsticks behind them to create glowing eyes.
  • For some décor with a little bit of bite, turn your usually cute jack-o-lanterns into more ghoulish gourds using the fake teeth from last year’s vampire costume.

Halloween movie marathon (with snacks, of course)
A cozy night-in is also a perfect way to spend Halloween this year. Personally, I’m too much of a wimp for scary movies, so my recommendations are more on the side of wholesome. My favorite Halloween movies include:

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG; available on Disney+)
  • Any movie from the Halloweentown series (TV-PG; available on Disney+)
  • Hocus Pocus (PG; available on Disney+)

But if you’re into some fright-night vibes, you might prefer films such as: 

  • A Quiet Place (PG-13; available on Hulu)
  • Rosemary’s Baby (R; available on Hulu)
  • Us (R; available on Hulu)

Make your own Halloween treats 
Lastly, don’t forget the snacks. For some Halloween-specific ideas, here are some easy and delicious recipes to try:

Upcycle your jack-o-lanterns
Pumpkin carving can be a tricky process. See tips on pumpkin carving in this month's Buzz Baby. After you’ve created the perfect pumpkins and they’re on the porch for all the neighbors to admire, what's next?

  • For one, when you’re carving them, have different members of your household design their own jack-o-lantern. Then post pictures of each for your friends and followers to vote on. The competition can come to an end on the 31st, with the final number of likes on each picture determining this year’s pumpkin carving champion.
  • Before tossing the pumpkins out on Nov. 1, you can use them on the night of Halloween for a game of indoor jack-o-lantern mini golf. The mouths of the jack-o-lanterns will be the holes. If you have putters, great! If not, you can fashion your own with other household items like cardboard, PVC pipe or even a pool noodle.  

Editor's note: Have creative ideas for celebrating Halloween 2020? Comment below or email [email protected] to share your photos and stories. 

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