(Click play, and channel the holiday spirits while you read.)

How's this for something scary: When the stay-at-home order was first announced in March, many Houstonians assumed the ghosts of masks and social distancing would be locked away inside our ghostbusting proton packs by the time Halloween rounded the corner. Instead, as this ghoulish month is practically over and the Houston Health Department urges the community to avoid trick-or-treating and large gatherings in the hopes of avoiding another Covid-19 surge, it’s safe to say our packs crossed streams.

But, who says prioritizing safety during this spooktacular season can't be fun?

For Ashley Park, a teacher at Tompkins High School in Katy and mother of two, imagining her kids (both at home and in the classroom) living in an almost entirely digital world for the majority of the year sounded crazy last spring.  Yet, after watching her daughters embrace wearing masks in style and seeing 75 students grasp AP Literature through Zoom, Park believes Houston’s youth will bring that same resilience and optimism to their social distanced Halloween celebrations.

The best thing we can do to ensure they have a blast, she says, is to find safe, creative ways to make this All Hallows' Eve one to remember. “Your kids are going to have fun as long as you make it fun,” says Park. “I think it’s just trying to figure out, What fun things can we do instead so that we’re making new traditions and memories?

If you’re looking to make the 31st a night of safe, never-before-seen fun that could enhance how you celebrate in the future, you’re in the right place. 

Deliver Treats to the Neighborhood

For Park, one of the best things that’s come from staying at home for so long is getting to know the folks in her neighborhood better. Because everyone has been spending more time outside, biking or walking around the block, she says it’s been easier to meet new, friendly faces. And although we’re not able to celebrate Halloween with our neighbors like we normally do, that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate with our communities safely.

This year, instead of doling out tricks, try bestowing treats on your neighbors. In the cauldron, boil and bake a batch of your favorite fall snacks (maybe leave out the eye of newt), wrap them up individually, and leave them on your neighbors’ front doorsteps with a note wishing them a Happy Halloween. This allows for a fun time in the kitchen with family and a contactless way to show your neighbors you care.

Hallow’s Eve Egg Hunt

Sorry, Easter Bunny, looks like you have some competition. A Halloween egg hunt is the perfect idea for anyone with little monsters who look forward to dressing up or raiding the "secret" family candy stash. This spooky scavenger hunt can be set up around your house and yard to ensure social distancing while also guaranteeing your little candy connoisseurs end the night without excess energy (well, unless it’s driven by a sugar rush).

On top of being one of the most cost-friendly ways to enjoy the night, you also have full control over how many people you’re surrounded by, how many hands are touching your kids’ treats, and how challenging of a hunt your favorite witches and superheroes will go on when Halloween arrives. 

Zoom Costume Party

Getting to dress up in cool costumes, spend time with loved ones, AND stay in the comfort of your own home? Sign us up faster than you can say, “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.”   

Though you might not be able to dance the “Thriller” with large groups of people packed into festive venues, this option allows you to celebrate with as many guests as you want, no matter where everyone’s located, and keep the spooky spirit alive, in spite of this exhausting year. Plus, it's a Zoom call, so you don't even worry about the bottom half of your costume.

Bring the Haunted House to Your Home

With a few quick Party City trips and some accessorizing, you can turn your home into the house on Haunted Hill and have the perfect place to host a frightful night for small groups of family and friends. Not only does this option allow you to spend quality time with those you love while setting up the devilish décor (Who doesn’t love dishing out some apple cider and jamming to “Monster Mash” while surrounded by cobwebs?), but it’s also a great way to make an unforgettable experience out of staying at home. 

Whether you host a haunted-house tour, have the kids trick-or-treat inside (imagine getting candy from your kitchen-turned-graveyard or bedroom-turned-bat cave), or just have a small group hang out in all that ghostly glory, there’s a good chance giving your house an Extreme Makeover: Haunted Edition will gift you with unforgettable memories.

Spooky Piñata Party

What better way is there to prove you “ain’t afraid of no ghosts!” than getting to crack one open with a stick? Don’t worry, this Casper's made out of paper mache. Piñatas are a surefire way to add extra fun to any occasion, so incorporating one into any of the aforementioned Halloween celebrations will just add more life to your frightful, Covid-friendly festivities. It’s also a quick, easy way to supply everyone with enough candy to last them until Thanksgiving. 

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