6 ways to make Halloween feel special if you're skipping trick-or-treating

You can still have a fun Halloween celebration right in your own home!
adults and children throwing backyard halloween party at home
AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

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It sounds like the title of a spooky movie, but really it’s just another chapter in the saga that is 2020. Coming this October to a neighborhood near you, “The Year There Was No Halloween”. A chilling title when you’re an adult, a downright tragedy when you’re a kid.

We’ve all settled on the fact that Halloween is going to be different this year. While trick-or-treating may not be recommended, I live by the philosophy that holidays are something you keep in your heart. Unless it's Thanksgiving — that’s kept in my stomach.

According to Gene Huddleson, founding partner of event production company Detail + Design, there are still plenty of ways parents can make the holiday feel special this year. Huddleson is an expert when it comes to extravagant and gorgeous events, but he also knows a thing or two about the beauty of simplicity.

“Some ideas may sound simple, but you don’t have to always complicate things to make things fun,” Huddleson told us.

Incorporating simple family crafts such as balloons draped in gauze or topped with funny hats into your in-home Halloween décor will go a long way.

“Run to the 99 cent store and buy a bunch of witches’ hats, get a helium tank, fill some balloons and put the hats on the balloons,” suggests Huddleson. Anchor your witches around the house, turn on some fans and watch them fly!

Other simple tricks to treat your kiddos could include replacing everyday light bulbs with purple and green lights, or creating a few themed rooms in your house.

“Something I have done for a few parties is to take fishing line and tape it to the ceiling,” Huddleson said. “Turn off or dim the lights and let the kids wander around. It will create that sensation of people touching you."

No matter what you end up doing, the good news is you don't have to put in too much effort.

“None of these ideas are too hard,” Huddleson said. “And the kids will have a blast because they are having fun with it.”

So with a little creativity and know-how, this Halloween may be less of a "Nightmare on Elm Street" and more of a brainstorming session at the intersection of Pinterest and Lowes. Check out a few of the items below to help get your creative juices flowing!

1. AGPTEK Fog Machine with LED Lights

The key to any Halloween fun is setting the mood! Nothing says spooky quite like an ominous rolling fog.

This easy to use fog machine produces a pretty powerful fog that can alternate between several different colors. As an added convenience factor, this machine comes with a remote to activate the creeping mist. If you are looking for some added fun for just sitting around the fire and telling ghost stories — or to add some theatrical ambiance to your family Halloween photoshoot — this fog machine will do the trick!

2. Ghost Stop Learner Ghost Hunting Kit

If you have a would-be Ghostbuster in the house, this kit could be worth its weight in ghoul! Get it?

Seriously though, this ghost hunting kit would take your home-based family Halloween to the next level. The kit includes the gear that the pros use, like an EMF meter to check for changes in the electromagnetic energy, an EVP wrist recorder for capturing electronic voice phenomena, a flashlight for seeing things 2 feet in front of you and a solid gear case to keep your equipment safe.

3. "Ghost Hunter's Handbook: Supernatural Explorations for Kids," by Liza Gardner Walsh

Now that you have your ghost gear, it may be a good idea to get a manual on what to do with it! Good for ages 6 to 12, this handbook includes ghostly stories and eerie activities that are fun for everyone in the family!

4. Elite Screens Pop-up Cinema White 92-inch Diagonal Portable Projection Screen

One of my favorite Halloween traditions growing up was having scary movie nights with my best friends. While our experiences were limited by VHS tapes and 20-inch tubed televisions, your family’s spooky movie fest could be beyond spooktacular with this 92-inch outdoor projection screen.

Picture it! The fog machine is rolling, friends are socially distanced in your backyard and you are the host with the most with your own drive-in theater. Easy to set up and easy to store, this screen can easily transition from a Halloween movie fest to a summer night's cinema.

5. Yaheetech 32-inch Outdoor Fire Pit

Halloween isn’t Halloween without a spooky story around the fire. With Camp Crystal Lake out of the question, it may be time to enhance the backyard vibe with this wood burning fire pit. The chic design and bowl depth is what really caught our eye, as well as the eye of other purchasers.

6. The Holiday Aisle Candy Bowl Whimsy Witch Figurine

Leave the treats and avoid the tricks with this candy bowl. A great option to either hang on your door or place on a porch table, this wicked witch will greet your guests with lights and spooky sayings every time someone makes a grab for the Halloween loot!

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