By Kayla Bowman, M.S., M.A.Ed.
Fall celebrations might look different this year, but there are still plenty of fun ways to celebrate safely. If you need some tricks to add to your treat bag this Halloween, try these tips for a spook-tacular celebration with family and friends.
1. Have a Virtually ‘Gourd’ Time
Coordinate a virtual celebration with your family’s “scream team”—AKA, your friends. Children can dress up in their costumes and take turns reading their favorite scary story. After story time, have a pumpkin decorating contest. If older children prefer to carve their pumpkin, take advantage of the ‘haunt’ mess by roasting the pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack! Check out more Halloween-themed snacks to have for your next virtual party, here.
2. Have an At-Home Costume Party
Get the whole family involved by dressing up in costumes for family mealtime. Let everyone share a story about their costume and explain why they chose it. Monster Pizza and Boo-Berry Blast are fun food ideas that children can help prepare for your next mealtime.
After dinner, gather up any craft materials you have around the house to decorate face masks together. You could also participate in playful learning from home by finding your local children’s museum’s activities on Children’s Museums at Home, a searchable database from the Association of Children’s Museums. Playful learning a great way to learn more about your children’s interests and how they gather information.
Check out Healthier Generation’s 20 Family Bonding Activities, for more ideas on what you can do together as a family.
3. Watch a Halloween Movie
Celebrate from the comfort of your couch by having a movie night at home. There are a lot of options for movies, such as Coco, which highlights the celebration of Día de Los Muertos. Tie in social-emotional learning by pulling up Healthier Generation’s Feelings Chart during the movie. During different scenes of the movie, pause to talk about the emotion a character may be feeling. For example, if you notice the character Miguel is feeling scared, talk about it with your child by showing the feelings chart and asking, “Which feeling do you think Miguel is feeling right now?” This helps to develop social emotional skills because identifying your own emotions is important for learning how to manage them. Recognizing those emotions in other people also helps develop empathy. Continue discussions throughout the movie by asking, “Why do you think he is feeling that way?” or “What is going on in the movie that makes you think he feels this way?”
4. Décor Your Door any ‘Witch’ Way
Children are used to decorating and making crafts at school this time of year. To continue that holiday spirit and fun at home, let them use supplies around the house to decorate the space in which they do their schoolwork—perfect for a virtual backdrop. They can show it off to their class and feel a sense of creativity every time they complete homework or participate in their virtual classes. It’s just one way to create a supportive at-home learning environment.
Take it a step further and decorate your front door, a window, or your mailbox! It’s a great way to share your enthusiasm with your neighbors and community.
5. Move Your Boo-ty
Turn on a Halloween soundtrack and boogie down. Dancing to ‘Thriller’ or ‘Monster Mash’ is sure to be a bloody good time. Make it a dance party with the whole family as a part of your prescription to play. It’s a no-brainer way to have fun—even if you’re not a zombie.
6. Treat Trick-or-Treating Differently
If you plan to engage in traditional trick-or-treating, consult the latest COVID-19 data in your community using this map or check the latest safety protocols from the CDC before you go. These resources can help your family decide on your comfort level for celebrations and provide activity recommendations based on your location.
Don’t forget: Daylights Savings Time falls on Halloween this year! Keep your routine on track by following these helpful sleep tips.
For more family-friendly resources, visit KohlsHealthyatHome.org to discover Healthier Generation’s latest tips for eating well, moving more, and feeling your best.
Kayla Bowman is a Family Engagement Manager for the Kohl’s Healthy at Home initiative at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.