Who would have thought that the scariest thing about Halloween this year would be a pandemic? The coronavirus has swept the land and all of our plans away with it. The way we gather together has changed drastically, and knowing that makes planning the upcoming holidays more difficult than usual. Our regular traditions and annual events will look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun. 

Many events that we typically look forward to around Halloween aren’t taking place this year due to health and safety concerns. 

“With the pandemic, everything I have planned in the past is not happening because it would be irresponsible,” said Cris Coffman, owner of Nesting Goods.

Coffman said that when it comes to children, it will be up to the adults to present the changes this year as an extra special Halloween rather than something to be upset about. Get creative with decorating and finding new ways to celebrate. 

Trick-or-treating won’t be the same this year, but there are a family-friendly events in the community such as “Trunk or Treat” at area churches where kids can get some candy while sporting their costumes. There is a “Drive Thru Trunk or Treat” at the Remington Nature Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. During this socially distant community event families and community members are invited to decorate their car windows and dress up in their favorite costumes. Traffic will be directed around the parking lot to enjoy decorated trunks, and community businesses and organizations will bring treats to cars at designated stops. 

If the idea of waiting in a line of traffic with a car full of kids doesn’t sound fun, consider stopping by the houses of friends and relatives for Halloween treats. You can still practice social distancing by requesting treats be left outside. You also could organize a neighborhood drop off for homes with children. Encourage neighbors with children to mark their houses by leaving out a plastic pumpkin. Neighbors can drop packaged candy on the porch for kids who can remain safe inside and still show off their costumes. 

One idea Coffman suggests is for families to set up a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt.

“They could find candy surprises along the way and solve clues,” Coffman says. “You could even partner with another family. Set up a scavenger hunt for the other family and solve each other’s while staying safe but still having some interaction.” 

For the more daring, there are multiple haunted houses still open to the public. Restrictions are in place due to COVID, so be sure you check those before you head out. The Faucett Freak Show is relatively close and open weekends in October, and Kansas City has several popular haunted houses, including The “Spectral Distancing” Ghost Tours at the Wornall/Majors House Museums that start with outdoor storytelling followed by a museum tour. 

If you like being scared and letting your imagination run wild, simply going for a walk in the dark can give you the chills you seek. Parks are just generally creepy at night, and you might even find a “ haunted trail.”

For those not interested in the spooky side of Halloween, a simple bonfire with friends can be the perfect way to celebrate. Everyone can wear a costume and gather around the fire for a fun night of safe socializing. You could also simply spend the evening at home with family or a few masked friends watching your favorite Halloween movies.

Get creative. Paint some pumpkins. Carve a scary face. Whatever you do, make this Halloween one to remember by finding your own way to have fun while staying safe. Who knows? You might even decide to start a new tradition with your creative endeavors.