7 socially distant Halloween ideas for kids & families in Tennessee

Halloween might look different this year in some places, but that doesn’t mean kids have to miss out on the fun.

First, consider the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for minimizing risks, which includes opting for events that are virtual, outdoor, shorter, smaller and as local as possible.

While some traditional Halloween activities are higher-risk, there are several that experts consider safe when proper precautions are taken.

Here are 7 creative ways to celebrate Halloween safely

1. Get creative with carving

Pumpkin carving is already socially distant by nature, so consider getting a few extra gourds for kids to carve if you can. If you live in an apartment, try pumpkin painting instead of carving to keep things clean and help the pumpkins last longer.

If you feel comfortable with an in-person event, invite one or two family members or neighbors over for a socially distant carving party in the yard. Just be sure to ask everyone to bring their own pumpkin and space people out at least 6 feet apart.

2. Dial up decorating

If there were ever a year to amp up home decorating, this is it. If you live in a house, let your kids take over decorating your porch or yard. Encourage healthy competition by teaming up family members to tackle different sections.

If you live in an apartment, allow each child to decorate their own window. See who can get the most creative with lights, decals or drawings.

3. Take a page from Easter

Rather than trick-or-treating from house to house, hide candy in your yard or around your house and treat it like an egg hunt.

4. Set up a visual scavenger hunt

If you’ve ever played “I Spy,” you’ve got the experience needed to plan the perfect virtual scavenger hunt. Simply take a walk around your neighborhood and make a list of fall- or Halloween-themed items for your kids to find.

If your kids are old enough to explore on their own, you can even have them text photos of the items they find in real-time, or allow them to post photos to a secure photostream so family members can watch along.

5. Host a virtual costume contest or movie night

One good thing about 2020: “hosting” events has a new meaning, and it no longer requires you to clean the house or stock the fridge.

Host a virtual costume contest for family, friends or your child’s classmates. Give prizes for the most creative, most realistic or funniest costume, and let your kids pick some categories for awards as well.

You can also host virtual movie nights in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Consider streaming a non-scary option for young kids one night and something more mature for braver older kids or teens. You can even make picking the movie part of the event by crowdsourcing friends or family to nominate films and vote on which to watch.

6. Put on a parade

Work with neighbors to put on a small, outdoor, open-air costume parade. If you live in an apartment or condo, schedule a time for a small group of kids — perhaps selected by floor, unit or child’s age — to meet up at a local playground and parade through with their costumes.

7. Go outside

When it comes to organized events, Tennessee’s state parks and local farms are a good place to start looking for safe celebrations. From apple picking to socially distant camping, there are events for every interest.

Check out:

  • Tennessee State Parks website to view events by region or to find a place to hike or walk.
  • Pick Tennessee to find pumpkin patches or orchards where people are committed to using hand sanitizer, wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
  • Haunted forests that are strictly open-air, one-way and walk-through.

Ashley Brantley

Ashley Brantley has been writing about food, culture and health for more than a decade, and has lived in three of Tennessee’s four major cities (Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville).

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Ashley Brantley has been writing about food, culture and health for more than a decade, and has lived in three of Tennessee’s four major cities (Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville).