Turn Halloween at home into a wonderful evening for the whole family

Question: Heart to Heart with Adele- Halloween at home

Dear Adele,

The witches, goblins and ghouls will soon be coming to town. Our children are already disappointed that trick or treating is off the table this year for celebration. Have you any ideas to help our children over the frustration of coping with Covid-19 restrictions?

Head Ghoul


Dear Head Ghoul,

The global pandemic has been challenging on many fronts. How to celebrate a favourite children’s holiday is but one more you are facing, Head Ghoul. Traditionally, children have dressed up in costume and gone door to door in their neighbourhood collecting candy. This tradition began with the ancient Celts, early Roman Catholics and the politics of Britain in the 17th century. It evolved in the United States and Canada in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It paused during the Great Depression and World War 2 but became popular again when the war ended. Unfortunately, this is not a good year to have fun with the trick-or-treating house to house tradition due to the coronavirus issues.

Sometimes however, things we do not like turn out more positively than we expected. One Christmas when my children were small there was a severe ice storm. No one could drive anywhere and the electricity was out. Extended family and friends were unable to visit or join us for dinner. Our normally large Christmas celebration became just my husband, our two school-age daughters and myself. Strangely it turned out to be one of the most fun and memorable Christmases of my lifetime.

Christmas morning was relaxed with no rushing around preparing a big meal for company. After the gift opening and simple cold breakfast, we decided to have a dress-up event and descended to our basement rec room where all four of us dressed up in makeshift costumes from the dress up trunk. This was followed by a ping-pong tournament with the players rotating. Our turkey was cooked on the propane barbecue with the vegetables we could manage to prepare beside it. We exchanged Christmas stories and memories, went over photograph albums from the past and decorated the tree together. No guests, no television, no radio, no hustle and bustle, and no stress. One of the best Christmases ever!

I tell you this story so that you might feel more positive about the suggestion I will make to you for Halloween. Why not plan a family Halloween party at home? A few ideas follow:

1: Plan the party for two or three hours on Halloween night or an afternoon on the weekend. Only members of your immediate family can attend. Everyone in attendance must dress up in a Halloween costume.

2: Purchase some inexpensive Halloween decorations and let everyone be involved in decorating the family area of your home — figures of witches, dangling skeletons and Halloween cutouts of black cats are perfect. Orange balloons and crêpe paper are also useful.

3: Bring the family together in costume to sit on the floor in the circle around a candle in a darkened room, for a spooky story which Dad or Mom can read. Some scary poems could be read too if you like.

4: Play some games which the whole family can participate in. Purchase some small Dollar Store prizes. Suggestions follow:

  • Pin the tail on the black cat or a bow tie on a skeleton
  • Bob for apples (Float apples in a large bowl and remove hands free)
  • Break the piñata (Fill with Halloween treats)
  • Toilet paper mummy creation (Teams wrap their player in the toilet paper like a mummy)
  • Doughnut eating race (Hang donuts on strings and eat hands free)
  • Marshmallow toss (Toss miniature marshmallows into cups at a distance.)
  • Stomp the pretend pumpkins (Orange balloons are burst as fast as possible)
  • Guess the number of candies in the jar (Candy Kisses fill a large jar)
  • Face painting (Let the children be creative on the adults)
  • Halloween charades (magician, wizard, cauldron, apple, candy kiss, spook, headstone)

5. Carve or decorate small pumpkins, one for each family member. Award prizes for different categories e.g. the funniest, the scariest, the strangest, the creepiest, the most beautiful

6. Have some fun baking cupcakes or shortbread cookies. Decorate them with orange icing and assorted Halloween type toppings made out of candy e.g. black jellybeans, black licorice sticks, black and orange sprinkles

7. Make a witch’s brew to drink that your family might enjoy and serve it up with a pizza.

8. Finish your evening with a Halloween movie suitable for the whole family such as ‘Casper’ or ‘Beetlejuice’ perhaps.

9: Be sure to get your family up dancing sometime during the party. ‘Monster Mash’ or ‘Ghost Busters’ are perfect songs to burn off the energy of kids and show them their parents know how to have good time.

Hopefully you can take something from this list and create a wonderful evening or afternoon for your children. I have an inkling they will recall this as one of the best Halloweens they ever had with their parents, Head Ghoul.

Trick or treat, smell my feet
Give me something, good to eat.
When black cats prowl, and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours, on Halloween.
May your jack-o’-lantern burn bright,
All through the ghoulish night,
Happy spooky Halloween!

Hope it’s the best you’ve ever seen!

Sincerely, Adele

I'm looking forward to your questions! Email me at maryadeleblair@gmail.com and please put Heart to Heart in the subject line. Note that all columns will remain anonymous.

Photo: Pixabay