Creative and COVID-19 safe ways to spend Halloween

Taylor Elliott

A neighborhood street decorated with cobwebs and carved pumpkins overflows with witches, princesses and superheroes as the sun begins to set. “Trick or treat” echoes from house to house as kids of all ages gather their year’s supply of chocolate and other sweets. Oct. 31 is usually a spooky yet exciting night for many; however, this Halloween, Marin County health officials urge people to stay home. According to the Marin Independent Journal, parties, carnivals and festivals are banned, and trick-or-treating is “strongly discouraged.” But if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is how to make the best out of a bad situation, so here are a few enjoyable ways to spend Halloween night COVID safe.

Juniors Lauren, Claire Mckechnie and Sophia Pero sit six feet apart outdoors while carving pumpkins. (Taylor Elliott)

1. Socially distanced pumpkin carving

When meeting up with friends, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends meeting outdoors and maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet from those not in your household. These guidelines can be met while carving pumpkins with friends or family. Head over to a local pumpkin patch or gardening store, such as Sloat Garden Center in Mill Valley, and choose a few pumpkins that you deem appropriate for carving. To aid you in designing the perfect jack-o’-lantern, make sure to have serrated knives, scooping spoons, trash bags and maybe even some decorative teeth on hand. 


Oreos resembling witch’s hats and spiders are an excellent example of Halloween themed treats you can make at home. (Taylor Elliott)

2. Making Halloween themed food

Perhaps all that carving will work up an appetite. Making Halloween treats is one of the best ways to get into the fall spirit. Pinterest offers a variety of recipes and photos for inspiration, such as jack-o’-lantern quesadillas, breadstick witch fingers and even graveyard pudding cookie cups. Search these names on the site for more information or choose to recreate the Oreo witch hats and spiders I made. That recipe calls for Double Stuf Oreos, vanilla frosting, food coloring, pretzels and Hershey’s kisses. Another more savory idea is mummy hotdogs! Click on the recipe by Pillsbury linked here for more details.


3. Halloween movie night

This men’s ninja Halloween costume for sale on Amazon includes a black face mask that doesn’t disrupt the original outfit. (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

After a night of carving and cooking, you may want to curl up in bed or on the couch and watch a spooky movie. Some family-friendly titles include “Hocus Pocus,” “Halloweentown,” Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Haunted Mansion.” All of these films can be found on Disney+. Prefer to watch a scarier movie with friends? Netflix offers both “Goosebumps” and “Goosebumps 2,” “Poltergeist” and my personal favorite, “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” To abide by social distancing guidelines, watch a movie with friends through Netflix Party. This Chrome extension allows users to watch almost any show or movie in sync with friends and chat over text on Netflix. If you have access to a projector, another way to enjoy Halloween films with friends is outside and six feet apart.

4. Costumes with masks

Finally, just because people can’t go out does not mean they can’t dress up! Wearing a costume can still be fun even if it is just around the house or at a socially distanced event. There are plenty of masks that double as a costume, such as the Jack Skellington mask or pumpkin grin face mask. Both are sold on RedBubble. If you want to get a bit more creative, wearing a costume that already requires a mask is a great option. Dress up as a doctor or nurse paired with a medical face mask, and it doesn’t alter the original costume at all. Another idea is going as a ninja and wearing a black face mask. Both of these items are available on Amazon in many variations. With these costumes, you can be COVID-19 safe and stylish!