October is a special time of year. The summertime is officially over, cool autumn breezes replacing blazing soon. The leaves change color, shifting the palette from green and bright blooms to dusky oranges, yellows, and red. We get snuggly with scarves and sweaters. And, perhaps most importantly, on the last day of the month, we celebrate Halloween.

Halloween is a long-standing tradition, dating back to long before there were cheap costumes and snack-sized candies. It has seen us through the best of times, as well as years of turmoil, so this Halloween, under quarantine, should be no different. We may not be out on the street with the tricks and treats, but we can still make the most of a really fun day.

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A home-bound Halloween can be as exciting as – nay, perhaps more exciting than – those run-of-the-mill, door-to-door affairs we’ve all come to expect.

1. Make Your Own Candy

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Of course, Halloween would not be complete without some candy to keep the spirit alive. However, while home-bound, we should view this as an opportunity to make more of it. Why not gather up some ingredients and recreate homemade versions of our favorite treats? That provides us with the fun activity we crave, as well as the tasty reward we also crave.

2. DIY Jack O’ Lanterns for Kids

Source: Riot Art & Craft/Youtube

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Jack O’ Lanterns are a Halloween must-have, but let’s be honest, knives, impenetrable pumpkin shells and kids aren’t a viable combination. While parents carve the pumpkins (maybe save it for the Halloween celebration), the kids could be making their own pumpkins out of construction paper, mason jars (candles could go inside), mandarins, and markers, or whatever other crafty version sounds fun.

3. Screen a Scary Movie

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With school as it is, screen time might not be at a premium these days, but a special, themed movie can always bring about a little excitement. There are plenty of age-appropriate choices, ranging from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to crappy throwback classics like Halloween to the truly horrifying slasher flicks of more recent years.

4. Get Dressed Up Anyway

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Block parties and crowded sidewalks probably aren’t on this year’s Halloween agenda, but that doesn’t mean we have to do away with the costumes! No, no, no. As long as we are taking a run at it with homemade candy and all the rest, we should make the full effort and get dressed up. Perhaps make the event more economical and environmentally friendly by crafting costumes by repurposing items we already have: The sheet ghost will always be a winner.

5. Have a Dance Party

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Amazingly, it doesn’t take much of a trip down memory lane or much time scrolling the old pop charts to compile a wonderful monster-themed Halloween playlist. For that matter, Halloween songs are so plentiful that one could create an entire list of child-friendly songs, a la “Monster Mash” and “I Want Candy”, and a catalogue of devilish hard rock—think Ozzy Osbourne—for after bedtime. Spotify, YouTube, and so on have already done the work.

6. Create a Halloween Feast

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Why is it that other holidays—Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter—seem so center around a meal, but Halloween just gets the junk food? We can easily change that with a new tradition: the Halloween feast. Picture potions (fruit punch, pumpkin soup) and thematic shapes (eyeballs, spiderwebs, jack o’ lanterns) to make it feel festive.

7. Set the Scene

Source: HGTV Handmade/Youtube

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With the food, costumes, music, and treats all on the go, it’s time to set the scene for Halloween. Decorating the house provides fun on multiple levels: The process of doing it is a blast, and the time spent enjoying the decorations, of course, is the entire point. Better yet, we can opt to decorate using repurposed materials to minimize our Halloween footprint.

Where there is the will to be spooky and kooky, there is most certainly a way, and this year should be no different. Home-bound trick-or-treaters can have a great time if we just get outside the same old candy bag and make something new happen.

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