DIY Crafts and Activities, Events, Family Events

3 Ways to Celebrate Halloween in a Pandemic

As the leaves change colour outside, families during this time of year are usually caught up in the excitement of planning visits to pumpkin patches or coming up with ideas for creative homemade costumes. While many of the usual activities you might have planned for Halloween — parties, haunted houses, and trick-or-treating — might not be the way you’ll want to celebrate the day during a pandemic, that doesn’t mean you have to cancel your plans altogether.

Get Creative with Halloween Masks

Since we’ll all be wearing masks this Halloween, this is the perfect opportunity to get creative and make your own face mask for a completely unique costume! Here are some quick tips on how you can incorporate a medical face mask into your Halloween look:

  • Choose a costume where a mask makes sense! You could dress up like a real life hero this year and go as a doctor or nurse, where a medical mask will make complete sense with your scrubs and surgical gloves. Standard cloth face masks could also easily blend in with the fabric of a ninja, ghost, or mummy costume. Or, if your kid has an obsession with cowboys and bandits, having them wear a bandana over their nose and mouth could make a great accessory to add to their costume.
  • Wear a medical mask under your Halloween mask. If you have a Halloween mask that you love breaking out every year, you should keep in mind that these masks are not substitutes for medical face masks. You can, however, layer that costume mask over your medical face mask to stay safe on Halloween.
  • Treat your mask as an accessory. Instead of drawing on cat whiskers with face paint this year, you can use fabric markers to draw them on a cloth mask instead. You could also choose a mask that complements your costume, such as wearing a sparkly mask to go with a fairy princess costume, a camouflage print for a soldier, or a tie-dyed mask for a clown.

Have a Virtual or Socially Distanced Celebration

After a summer of planning outdoor gatherings and attending virtual meetings, many of us have become experts in throwing both virtual and socially distanced get-togethers. Now, we get to put those skills to the test and find new ways to celebrate Halloween with our friends and families. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:

  • Throw a costume parade! Kids and adults in costumes can take to the street and put on a neighborhood fashion show to show off the costumes they’ve worked so hard to create. You might also want to decorate your bike, wagon, or car to incorporate into your costume!
  • Have a pumpkin-carving (or painting) contest over Zoom. You could host your own contest with your family and friends or try searching your online community for events open to the public.
  • Organize a costume party on Zoom. You could pick a theme and ask people to prepare appropriate costumes, or you pick a theme at random and challenge your guests to come up with a costume on the spot with things they can find around their homes.
  • Do some Halloween baking. Instead of trick-or-treating, you could try out some Halloween baking at home with the family and deliver your creations to your neighbors and friends. From pumpkin shaped cookies to pumpkin pie, the possibilities are endless!
  • Join us for our Halloween “Character Treats” online workshop! Facilitated by Nana Gulic, an Education Doctorate student at OISE’s Social Justice Education Department, children and their parents can take part in a Halloween-themed activity where they identify their individual “character treats.” You’ll explore how your individual characteristics connect to those around you, and why that can be a real treat! All you’ll need is a piece of paper, markers, crayons, coloured pencils and a pair of scissors. This social and emotional learning activity is aimed at children 6-10 years of age. For further information, please visit us here.

Find New Ways to Trick-or-Treat


While we might not be able to gather with our friends and family to collect treats from our neighbors, lots of communities are banding together to throw outdoor Halloween parades or other socially distanced celebrations. One trend that’s gained popularity online is Trunk-or-Treating, which usually involves parking decorated cars in an empty parking lot so that kids can go trick-or-treating from car-to-car. With the extra space to move around and adults keeping watch, kids will still be able to collect pillowcases full of candy while maintaining social distancing. You could also host a modified Trunk-or-Treat event in your own neighborhood, with neighbors setting up spooky displays outside and passing out candy. Instead of having dozens of little hands reaching inside a bowl for candy, consider assigning a designated candy distributor in your social bubble to keep outside contact to a minimum.

What traditions are you most excited to reinvent this Halloween? Make sure to share your plans for Halloween in the comments below!