Halloween safe Rose Stuard.jpg

Friends and family can use a video chat platform, like Zoom, to participate in a virtual Halloween party.

This Halloween will be one for the books. 

With COVID-19 still underway, many traditional activities may not be safe and could be high risk for spreading the virus. Going door to door and receiving candy from strangers isn’t an effective way to stop the spread, no matter how fun the night is.

That being said, it doesn’t mean this festive holiday needs to be canceled. Halloween is a favorite night for many, so here are some fun ways to get involved and celebrate the holiday while keeping everyone safe.

Eerie virtual Halloween party

Friends and family can use a video chat platform, like Zoom, to participate in a virtual Halloween party while remaining safe in one’s home. Get creative with ways to indulge in this year's holiday under different circumstances by telling spooky stories, showing off carved pumpkins or digging into Halloween-themed snacks together. End the night by having a costume contest to show off this year's costumes since an in-person celebration may not be an option.

Spooky Halloween movie night

One of the best ways to get in the spirit of Halloween is to watch Halloween movies leading up to the holiday. These movies can be scary or not, and there’s plenty of each. Put together some snacks, grab blankets and pillows and prepare for a movie marathon. The best family-friendly Halloween movies to watch include “Hocus Pocus,” the “Halloweentown” series, “Goosebumps,” “Coraline” and more. If one’s looking for more of a fright, try “The Conjuring,” “Halloween,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and more.

Bake Halloween-themed treats

Halloween is nothing without sweets. There’s an abundance of recipes to incorporate into one’s spooky holiday to make everyone happy. For example, bake a pizza with the toppings in the shape of a jack-o’-lantern. There are also plenty of fun Halloween-themed desserts to try, such as ghost cupcakes or Halloween brownie bites. This can be a fun activity to get everyone in the family involved and celebrate Halloween safely.

Pumpkin picking

One of the best fall activities for everyone to enjoy is going to a pumpkin patch with friends or family. Some pumpkin patches include animals, refreshments or corn mazes. Some notable pumpkin patches within 30 minutes of campus include Myers Pumpkins, Back Home on the Farm and Valley Inn Farm. Any of these patches are bound to meet all of one’s needs for a pumpkin picking day.

Decorate pumpkins

While this is a classic Halloween tradition, it’s still an enjoyable way to show that one’s house is remaining in the festive Halloween spirit. Gather one’s family or friends and venture safely to a nearby pumpkin patch and pick out some good-sized pumpkins. Spend a night carving them into fun patterns and display them proudly at the front of one’s house. Make sure to light them up with candles for everyone to see all of one’s hard work.

If there’s trick-or-treating within one’s community, one should make sure not to lose sight of the pandemic. Incorporate a mask within one’s costume, remain six feet away from neighbors to keep a safe distance, avoid large groups or clusters at doorsteps and make this Halloween one to remember while doing one’s part to stop the spread. 

Contact Madison Mills at millsmv@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.