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Halloween 2020 alternatives: 16 ideas for trick-or-treating and celebrating

These are the best ideas we've found to have safe, spooktacular fun on this wild, weird Halloween.
/ Source: TODAY

Trick-or-treating will be trickier than ever this Halloween due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. But that doesn’t mean this year’s celebrations need to be any less fun. TODAY Parents rounded up alternatives to keep your little ghouls happy and safe — from socially distanced trick-or-treating hacks to ideas for alternative ways to celebrate.

1. Candy chute

To help ensure social distancing, Carson Daly has set up a candy chute on his front steps.

“The treats will drop from 6ft away from the little goblins who dare approach,” the TODAY show co-host wrote on Instagram.

Carson explained that he made the chute out of a PVC pipe and noted that his his children are going to add sticks and other “finishing touches" to the gadget.

In September, one Ohio dad created a similar contraption by using an Amazon package, duct tape and spray paint.

2. Pulley system (aka ghoul on the go!)

California mom Brooke Mahan demonstrated this one at her home for Hoda and Jenna. Take two laundry line pulleys and attach them with zip ties to something sturdy. Tie on a spooky skeleton, weird witch or ghoulish goblin of your choice and zip tie a candy bucket to its hands. You have a fully functioning and super safe candy delivery system!

3. Trick-or-treat table

Many families are setting up treat tables in their driveways with candy-filled goodie bags. Individually wrapped goodie bags are much better than the big communal bowl that kids would paw through.

4. Candy Tree

Hang bags of candy on a tree or a fence to be "picked." For added effect, decorate the branches with cobwebs.

5. Candy Sticking

Wendy Winter, a mom in Denver, Colorado, decorated her front lawn with wrapped candies secured to sticks with tape. Winter used bamboo skewers, but for safety reasons, she recommends popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, glow sticks, and plastic straws.

“Yes, I still want to hang out on the porch and see everyone’s cute costumes. But no, I don’t want a bunch of kids ringing my doorbell and fishing in my bowl for candy,” Winter wrote on Facebook. "So, I’ll be decorating my yard with candy — Willy Wonka style."

Just don’t put your treats out too early.

“Squirrels apparently love to trick or treat and will take advantage of any candy forest if left unattended for too long,” Winter warned in a follow-up post.

6. Ghost Hunt

Ashlee Nicholas, a special education teacher in San Francisco, went viral on TikTok after creating a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt with ghost candy bags for her 2-year-old son.


Halloween is NOT cancelled! Don’t want to go trick-or-treating? Do a ghost hunt! ##Boo ##teachertok ##mom ##toddlermom ##momsoftiktok ##halloween ##covid

♬ Monster Mash - Bobby Pickett

Nicholas is a crafter, but don't worry if you're not. All you need to do is wrap individual pieces of candy or small toys in white tissue paper, tie them with a festive orange ribbon and then draw a ghost face on it.

“The best part of all of this has been people saying their Halloween is ‘saved’ now because of (my) video and random strangers sharing their own fun ideas with the world,” Nicholas previously told TODAY Parents. “I love it.”

"Into the house you'll want to rush; find some candy where you brush!"
"Into the house you'll want to rush; find some candy where you brush!"Barbara Majeski

7. Scavenger hunt

Lead your kids on a clue-filled adventure through your house and backyard; you can put the mystery in Halloween AND they get their candy fix. The best part is, you can tailor your clues to your own kids' ages and interests.

Blogger, mom and "curator of the good life" Barbara Majeski offers the following ideas for clues:

For teens:

In order to get this next treat, listen to the beat.

Although I have 88 keys, I cannot open a door

But I can promise you a song you will adore.


In order to get this next treat, you will have to think on your feet.

I come with a tongue but I cannot speak;

And if not tended to correctly I can really reek.


For younger kids:

Look over there, you might see a ghost;

Find your next treat where we make toast!


You're almost there, just one more;

Go find a treat at the front door!

"Poke a pumpkin" is a fun twist on classic trick or treat.
"Poke a pumpkin" is a fun twist on classic trick or treat.Barbara Majeski

8.Poke-a-pumpkin game

This "poke-a-pumpkin" game is a twist on the classic trick or treat. Each cup is filled with either a treat — maybe a piece of candy or fake teeth — or the cup contains a “trick” challenge to get a treat. It is made with paper cups, tissue paper and rubber bands. The real fun is when the kids pull a trick card! You can get creative: Tricks could be bowling with a pumpkin, wrapping a sibling like a mummy, popping orange balloons in a makeshift "pumpkin patch" or racing potato sacks.

9. Reverse trick-or-treating

Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, suggests organizing a neighborhood event similar to a parade.

"Instead of having the kids go door to door, let the candy come to you," Blumberg wrote. "Kids can stand in their front yard showing off their cool costumes, while adults drive by and throw candy into their yard."

10. Glow-in-the-dark egg hunt

"We’re going to turn our backyard into a spooky egg hunt," Jodi Schilling wrote on Instagram. "It is easy! All you need is a sharpie and some candy."

11. Celebrate virtually

The video games your little goblins already love to play may have special Halloween events and celebrations. Minecraft, Fortnite, Animal Crossing, Pokémon Go and more are offering special spooky challenges, storylines and creative events within the game world.

12. Movie night

Cuddle up on the couch with the family and enjoy some classic, or new, spooky movies. Check out our list of Halloween movies, from "Hocus Pocus" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" to "ParaNorman," you'll find spooky suggestions the whole family will love.

13. Go wild with decorations

Kick your Halloween spirit up a notch with these creative ideas. From skeletons doing remote learning to coronavirus pumpkins, your Halloween decor can truly express your feelings about the all-too-real frights of 2020.

14. Dance party

Check out our list of the best Halloween music for families. Is there a better time to teach your whole family the "Thriller" dance? We think not.

15. Make a spooky cookie house

Oreo Oreo has released a new Spooky Graveyard Chocolate Cookie Kit, which merges arts and crafts with holiday cookie fun.

16. Cheers to mom and dad

Once the little goblins are sleeping off their sugar high, raise a spooky glass and enjoy a well earned adult beverage with these creative Halloween cocktail ideas.