It's October! So not only does this mean (hopefully) crisp autumn mornings and darker nights drawing in, but it also means Halloween is approaching!
As we have seen throughout the majority of 2020 so far, things are far from normal as we are living through a global pandemic. Many events and festivities have been cancelled or have been vastly different to what we usually expect. So what does this mean for Halloween? Will we be able to celebrate and take part in our usual festivities?
To treat, but not to trick?
The first thing that usually springs to mind when I think of Halloween is trick or treating. Obviously this year with social restrictions in place it is not going to be as we know it. So because of this, many local communities have looked at putting their own spin on it while maintaining safe social distancing and following the local guidelines.
Many are looking at creating 'pumpkin trails' where people can inform the local organisers in advance that they are planning to decorate their house and leave carved pumpkins out so that people can visit. Or neighbours are simply decorating their houses without being part of an organised event in order to enter the spirit of the occasion and add to a more informal trail. A way of incorporating the 'treat' back into trick or treating is to take your own treats with you and dish out a reward of one sweet for every spooky house that you find on your trail! That way children are still able to go out, dressed in their fancy dress, visit houses that have left treats out in a safe manner and see all the decorations in their neighbourhood. Another way of decorating that I have seen locally is that of a halloween scarecrow! Some communities are creating their own scarecrow trail with people making scarecrow witches, ghosts, skeletons etc and placing them in their gardens for their neighbours to come and visit!
Others have created 'spooky trails' where they have decorated areas of their community such as parks or forests with pumpkins, cobwebs, and other spooky decorations so that children can enjoy following the trail and engaging in activities in a covid safe manner. I've even seen that some places have organised drive through spooky trails! So despite not being able to trick or treat in the usual manner, there are still many ways we can have some semblance of this while maintaining our own and others safety.
What are your traditions?
Dependent on how you choose to celebrate Halloween, you may still be able to do a lot of the things you are used to doing. In our house, we enjoy the decorating and pumpkin carving the most. As with previous years, places local to us are still hosting their pumpkin picking patches so that we can still enjoy searching for and picking our pumpkins as usual. Once home, we usually spend the afternoon carving the pumpkins and creating our spooky faces!
Then we set them down around the fireplace and fill them with tealight candles (battery ones to be safe) and we enjoy our evening surrounded with spooky lighting!
We will still be able to do this as normal this year, and as with previous years, my children will likely dress up in their favourite costumes to add to the ambience while we settle down with a film. To add a social side to it, maybe you could look at having a 'virtual' party via Zoom for example to see each other's decorated houses and costumes and maybe take part in some halloween themed games together?
Another activity I have seen suggested, which would be particularly good for the younger children is a treat hunt in the back garden. Similar to the Easter egg hunt, you could hide treats around your garden and then go out hunting once it has gone dark! I like the idea of a scavenger hunt with a torch to help us on our way! Another way to make it a bit more suitable in the dark could be to use glow sticks to mark the areas where the treats are hidden? Again, this could be made more social by having a video call with friends afterwards sharing their finds!
Halloween themed food and treats could also be incorporated into your celebrations to really complete the spookiness. How about hot dogs fashioned into severed fingers complete with ketchup blood, ghost meringues, or eyeball shaped cake pops?!
What about Halloween crafting?
Pinterest is full of Halloween crafting ideas from the very crafty, to the mostly useless amongst us (i.e. me!) One thing we are looking forward to trying with my smallest little person is making a 'bumpkin' plate. We are very lucky to have Cafe Glaze, a pottery/crafting cafe near our house where we are booked in to create our masterpiece. I'm hoping with the guidance of someone much more talented than I, we should have a good outcome! The bumpkin plate involves painting the behind of my unsuspecting 14 month old with orange paint and then printing it onto a plate! Afterwards you can add the finishing touches to the plate by adding further decoration or adding writing to it. This novelty piece will also help us get a little memento from our less than normal year and my son's early years! For my biggest little person, our lovely cafe also provide take home kits so that he will be able to join in at home once he is back from school, important to note though that we won't be painting his bottom! The take home kits have a pottery ghost, witch or pumpkin for example that you paint at home and then take back to the cafe to be fired.
There are many other ways you can enjoy some Halloween crafting, how about making spooky spiders with pipe cleaner legs? Or cotton wool ghosts? You can really add to the fun of decorating your house if you are making some of the decorations yourself!
So as we have seen, there are lots of ways we can still celebrate Halloween and have lots of fun, but still be safe in these uncertain times. We may not be able to share our fun with as many people as usual, but there are still plenty of things we can do to get involved. I hope you all have lots of Halloween themed fun, and most importantly, stay safe!
P.S. If it comes out ok, I'll be back to update you with the outcome of our bumpkin!!
P.P.S. Here is the bumpkin plate so far! We had so much fun creating this (well I think I had more fun than my small person! We have left it at the cafe to be glazed and fired but I love how well it has come out so far! I would highly recommend having a go. Thanks Cafe Glaze!