Trick-or-Treating, Costumes, and More: Tips for Celebrating Halloween Safely in 2020

Halloween 2020 Sorry Next Year

After months of being cooped up, we’re all ready to get ghostly for Halloween. Wearing costumes, decorating our houses and carving pumpkins are very low risk, but the tradition of trick-or-treating makes things a bit more complex.  While Chicago’s Office of the Mayor has issued its “Halloweek” guidelines in Chicago this year — for starters, strongly advising for safe trick-or-treating, plus no parties or haunted houses — there are still plenty of ways to get a candy fix and have some Halloween fun. The city is also hosting a reverse Arts in the Dark parade in the afternoon on Oct. 31 in Washington Park (reservations are required).  

If you are determined to go trick-or-treating, wear a face mask, keep exclusively to small groups (either family or those within in your “bubble”); maintain social distance when crossing paths with others, and bring hand sanitizer along and use it frequently. At least one adult should accompany children to ensure that they stay away from high-touch surfaces like doorbells and knobs, and are able to follow social distancing and mask-wearing protocols. Even better, stick to houses with people handing out candy outdoors using safe or contactless methods and wearing face masks. Resist the temptation to eat candy along the way — go home and wash hands first before digging in. 

For treat-givers, here are ideas on how to safely and creatively hand out candy this year: 

Make a Halloween candy slide

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This 6-foot-long skeleton-themed candy slide by Wicked Makers is highly effective and elaborate. You can make your own version of a candy slide, as fancy or as simple as you like, for handing out goodies from a safe distance. Or pull out a plastic kid slide, add some decorative spooky touches to it, and voila! A whimsical way to distribute your treats. 

Host a Trunk-or-Treat

Oriental Trading

Double down on Halloween decorations and an innovative way to pass out candy by transforming your automobile into a festive trunk-or-treat station right in your own driveway. Even better, dress up in costume to match your trunk-or-treat theme. There are umpteen ideas for trunk-or-treats on Pinterest, Instagram and the like. You will just need to take a few extra steps to keep candy dispersal as contactless as possible (ideas below). Use glow-in-the dark tape on the ground to indicate a one-way path for the trick-or-treaters to safely approach and depart your trunk. 

Distribute candy safely from a distance


If DIY isn’t your thing, keep it simple with a bowl of candy and a pair of kitchen tongs (or extra-long barbecue tongs) to pick up and drop candy in bags. Or better yet, get this kid friendly robot claw to let kids reach into the bowl themselves without touching anything. 

You can also package treats in individual baggies and leave them on a table, scattered around the yard or loosely tied to trees and bushes, for contactless pick-up. Or wear gloves to stuff small candy pieces into balloons, blow them up with a pump, and let the kids pop them with their feet to get their treat.  

Fashion a candy blaster


This Nerf Dog is designed to project tennis balls for your pup to chase, but it can double as a projectile candy dispenser. Just stuff any snack size candy item into the blaster and let it rip (we tried it with Kit Kats), and see who can catch the candy in their bag or hands. Just make sure kids are a safe distance from the blaster and don’t aim directly at them but slightly into the air, so no one gets hurt by flying confections. 

Forgo trick-or-treating altogether and make your own fun

If you are just not comfortable with the idea of your kids roaming house-to-house this year, there are still plenty of ways to partake in some spooky enjoyment. Set up a Halloween treat hunt in your own yard, making it even more interesting with glowin-the-dark eggs to hold the candy. Put together a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood. Make your own popcorn balls and candy apples at home. Set up a pumpkin carving contest. Watch scary movies in your backyard using a screen and projector. 

Check out our favorite spooky Halloween recipes to make at home, here.

Now for the dressing up part. Here are some trendy costume ideas we love: 


Karnival House

Costumes with a mask as a central part of the theme are both adorable and practical. Need ideas? This mom has a few.

Zoom Call 

Project Kid

Like, dressing up as an actual Zoom call. How clever is this? 

Notorious RBG


The passing of this Supreme Court icon is sure to inspire some to dress up as her. 

Need more ideas and don’t have time for DIY? Working Mother offers a list of the 25 most popular, for-purchase kids costumes in 2020. 

How to help:

Many dentists offer a candy buy-back program so your child can earn some money and their candy can go to a good cause like Soldier’s Angels or Operation Gratitude. Search for a program near you.

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Donna Berry Glass

Donna Berry Glass is a freelance writer in Marin County who writes mostly about family and kid-oriented topics. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family exploring the natural beauty of Marin, snuggling with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel while reading a good book or whipping up something delicious in her space-challenged kitchen. Donna is a supporter of the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and the Institute on Aging which provides much needed services to seniors and disabled individuals.

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