As we get closer to Halloween, I’m realizing that for a lot of us, traditional festivities will be on hold this year. In NYC, celebrating Halloween outside in the streets does not seem possible. It’s way too crowded for proper social distancing, and I imagine they won’t be closing designated blocks to cars for trick or treating, like on a normal year.

My kids are so sad about it. Halloween is their favorite day of the year. I’ve been thinking that this year could be the perfect opportunity to try trick-or-treating in the neighborhood around our house, which would be more like the Halloween I grew up with…but then I realized, maybe that’s a bad idea too?

I asked everyone on Instagram if Halloween was canceled this year. Most people said, “no” but many have found new ways to celebrate, whether it’s something COVID-friendly that’s been organized in their community, or just finding a fun way to spend it at home. Others said they will be doing regular trick-or-treating with masks and as much social distance as possible.

Before I share all the creative ideas everyone came up with to celebrate Halloween this year, I want to give everyone a few safety tips. First and foremost, if you or your kids have a fever, runny nose or are displaying other symptoms at all, please STAY HOME. If you decide to go trick-or-treating, make sure your kids wash their hands before leaving the house and then use hand sanitizer between houses to eliminate any germs they might pick up along the way. You should also disinfect anything else you touch like doorbells or doorknobs. And of course, make sure to wash your own hands before packaging or handing out candy as well!

26 Parents Share Their Plans for Celebrating Halloween During a Pandemic

1) “I have a big cardboard tube (like you get with a new rug) and will be distantly giving out candy that way! It’ll be up on my porch so all trick-or-treaters need to do is put their bucket under the bottom of the tube at the bottom of my stoop!” – @hallen814

2) “My 5-year-old finally understands that you have to knock on doors to get candy and is adamant about going trick-or-treating, so we’ve decided to decorate every door in our house for him to knock on and get candy. Front door, back door, but also bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. It’s our compromise.” – Libby

3) “We came up with an idea to trick or treat inside our house, with each room representing different houses. We came up with ‘who’ would be living at these houses so my husband and I could surprise the kids with fun ideas like ‘Taylor Swift’s house’ or one of our favorite neighbors ‘The Obamas.’ We are going to print out pictures and decorate each door accordingly!” – Kristin

4) “I am turning orange Easter eggs into pumpkins, putting candy inside, hiding them in the yard and giving my kids a Halloween candy hunt. Then I’m setting up a scavenger hunt in the dark with flashlights and spooky music that will have Halloween stuffed animals as the grand prize.” – Steffany

5) “We are doing a Halloween house hop with our ‘bubble’ of four houses. There will be a different activity and a candy hunt at each house.” – @sanakheiri

6) “A lot of families in our neighborhood are not into the idea of trick or treating so we decided to go all out on Halloween decor instead. Our community facebook group made a map of participating houses and everyone can dress up and walk around to see each of them.” – Debbie

7) “We’re going to dress up with masks and walk around the neighborhood to look at Halloween decor. Then we will come home and eat candy that I bought.” – @evinschmevin

8) “We will be trick-or-treating with masks, and holding off on the candy for a few days to figure out how to sanitize it. My son LOVES Halloween, so we are going to figure it out and try to be safe.” – @kprass6

9) “I’m painting houses on foam board and making a ‘neighborhood’ in our yard for my daughter and the kids in our family. Going to set out buckets with candy in front of each house so they can ‘trick or treat.’ Also going to do a little setup like all the fall places have, with hot cider, warm donuts, s’mores station, etc. I hope it’ll be even more fun than traditional Halloween.” – Ashley

10) “My daughter is having a small gathering on our deck. We bought heaters and a projector, so lots of candy and scary movies! Might be the best Halloween ever.” – @ieatmykidzsnacks

11) “Our neighborhood is still doing trick-or-treating, but most people are preparing candy bags to be given out instead of hands reaching in a bowl.” – Maya

12) “I’m doing a glow-in-the dark hunt in our yard. I will mark the areas to hunt with a glow stick and they can search the spot with flashlights.” – Leslie

13) “We’re doing a ghost hunt. You make ghosts out of bags or Kleenex and fill them with candy and then have the kids go on a scavenger hunt.” – Hayley

14) “We’re having a spooky dinner with snake shaped meatloaf with pimento eyes and peeled grape eyeball appetizer.” – Emme

15) “We’re dressing up and having a backyard carnival for our two kids with candy and school carnival prizes like spider rings, tattoos and witch fingers. We’ll play ghost bowling, toss the beanbag in the pumpkin, pin the spider on the web, etc. Simple stuff we can craft together at home.” – Katie

16) “I put four small pieces of candy into tied bags and plan on spreading the bags out on a 6 foot folding table at the front of the driveway, so kids can just grab a bag without touching others!” – Kira

17) “We plan to trick-or-treat strategically at 5-10 houses, with masks, very early in the evening. Then we are hunkering down at home. We stepped up our decoration game big time this year; the kids are excited to scare people with a fog machine and such. Lastly we invested in an outdoor projector (damn you, Prime Day) and will watch a movie in the backyard.” – Kim

18) “My 8-year-old wants a mini piñata that she doesn’t have to break, a pizza picnic in the living room while watching Hocus Pocus, and to make caramel apples while wearing her costume. So that is exactly what we will be doing.” – @walk_in_love

19) “We’ll have a donut eating contest, make cotton candy, do a candy egg hunt, mummy bowling, and other fun stuff for my teen’s Halloween birthday. My younger ones will enjoy it too. One year of not trick-or-treating isn’t going to be too devastating for our family.” – @enrotunda

20) “The kids in our neighborhood are having a costume parade with masks and distancing. We’re also setting up tables at the end of the driveways with individual bagged candy. ” – @721slm

21) “I was thinking of hanging a clothesline with candy pinned along it for kids to grab as they walk by. We are very strict about COVID, but I do believe there are ways to do it safely – especially with mask wearing! I might buy some decoy candy for my kids to eat, and put anything they grab away for a few days to make sure there are no germs on wrappers.” – Bridget

22) “There is a drive-thru Halloween event in our town with spooky sets, characters, music, even food and candy delivered to your car. Then we will be walking the ‘burbs in costume, candy in tow, to look at decorations. But no trick-or-treating.” – @sleepyheadstories

23) “We are having a COVID-appropriate ‘party’ with our bubble (of 2 other families). We will have a pumpkin decorating contest, costumes, a fog machine, silly games, and lots of candy in the comfort of our backyard.” @coryjanine

24) “We are in an area that has high case numbers right now, so we are not going out at all. We decided to stay home and have a family costume contest over zoom. Aunts, uncles, grandparents…they are all into it. And my kids are really excited. They want to win!” – Jessica

25) “My kids’ school is doing a drive-thru ‘trunk-or-treat’. People sign up to decorate trunks in the parking lot, and the kids dress up. Each family drives through to see all the decorated trunks, and each child gets a bag of candy.” – @nettey78

26) “I’m doing an unmanned, decorated table in my front yard with individual mini treat sacks and a big bottle of hand sanitizer. No way am I totally giving up on a Saturday night, full moon Halloween. We’ve creatively adapted in plenty of other more complicated situations. We can figure this out!” – @theunrealmellieg

Hopefully this list will help anyone undecided come up with a game-plan. If you have any ideas you want to share, leave them in the comments!