Halloween 2020 Tips for You and Your Family

October 20, 2020

In normal years, Halloween might be a fun but challenging holiday for your child. While they’re excited about costumes, candy, seeing their friends and going door-to-door, some houses and decorations can scare them and there’s the potential for sensory overload or the dreaded sugar crash.

Combine that with COVID-19 and 2020 is sure to be a different type of Halloween experience. The following are some tips and ideas from Good Shepherd Pediatrics on how to have a safe and fun Halloween with your children this year.


Depending on where you live, trick-or-treat might be on as scheduled or canceled due to COVID-19.

If trick-or-treat is on in your area and you intend on participating, it’s important to review rules with your child beforehand.

  • Will you let them go to a house’s front door if there are a lot of kids around?
  • How frequently will you wash hands?
  • How far away will you stay from other trick or treaters?
  • Review social skills, such as saying, “Trick or treat” and “Thank you” to neighbors giving out candy.
  • Follow directions to only take the number of pieces of candy offered.
  • Stay close to a parent at all times; adults wearing masks can be scary when it’s dark out.

Even with general trick-or-treat rules in place, the excitement of Halloween still can put kids on sensory overload. Here are some tips and tricks for parents or guardians can remember:

  • Use deep-breathing techniques.
  • Plan on going up to homes that have no children at the front door for a less stimulating and more socially distant environment.
  • Avoid houses with bright flashing lights if your child is visually sensitive.
  • Avoid houses with loud noises if your child is scared of certain noises.

If you know your neighborhood well, use it to your advantage. Take dry run walks with your child in costume to get them comfortable with the process and places while it’s not pitch dark. Try to go only to familiar houses.

On the night of trick-or-treat, have someone scout ahead for you, especially for potentially scary situations that your child cannot anticipate. Avoid houses where someone hides and jumps out.

Trick-or-treat alternatives – children of all ages (and adults, too)

If trick-or-treating is not permitted in your area or if simply isn’t the best option for your child, there are alternative ideas to have Halloween fun.

  • Make Halloween decorations. A fun one is cutting out paper spider webs — similar to paper snowflakes.
  • Pick your appropriate level of scare and have a Halloween movie night.
  • For picky eaters in your family, have them help cook Halloween-inspired foods.
  • Also on the food front (and again depending on the appropriate amount of scare), you could have cupcakes with colored icing all the way to having your kids put their hands into peeled grapes (eyeballs!) and cooked spaghetti (brains!). Check Pinterest or the Internet for additional Halloween-related food ideas.
  • Plan a Halloween scavenger hunt ahead of trick-or-treat or in your car driving around to look at decorations. Who can find two ghosts? What about something orange? A flashing light? And so on.
  • Talk to your neighbors about doing trunk-or-treat to decrease kids going to front doors or porches.
  • Similar to Easter baskets, try making a boo basket with presents and goodies.

Ideas for young children

  • Create a treasure hunt with a map to find the candy. Make sure it’s at least three steps.
  • Plan a Halloween hunt, similar to an Easter egg hunt. Do it in your yard or inside the house, whichever makes more sense.

Ideas for older children

  • Host Halloween movie night.
  • Design a spy-themed candy hunt, using red yarn or string. Hang up the yarn to create a laser maze that the kids have to navigate to get candy on the opposite side. You could also incorporate multiple clues to get them to the candy.
  • Create a Halloween word search.
  • Make a Halloween Scattergories game.

The Good Shepherd Pediatrics team wishes you and your family a safe and happy Halloween!

To learn more about Good Shepherd Pediatrics, click here or call 1-888-44-REHAB.