Spooky season has arrived, and COVID-19 decided to stay as well. 

Halloween is an anticipated holiday for children. Now that I am an adult who has to cover her own dental tab, Halloween has lost some of its appeal. But being around my niece and nephew this year changed that.

COVID-19 has already forced kiddos and adults to delve into a new reality. Our county, in particular, has very strict COVID-19 restrictions that ban trick or treating. My niece and nephew were devastated, so I decided to create the ultimate Halloween extravaganza — here’s the blueprint. 


First, I had to set the spooky mood. Decorating may seem intimidating, but Pinterest is always there to help. When decorating outside, I like to follow a theme so I know what I need without feeling overwhelmed. This year, I chose a ghostly graveyard. We have skeletons, styrofoam graves and a sign with cliche sayings. My nephew insisted we add a Snoopy blow up because the yard was, “too spooky.”

When decorating the inside of the house, I like to follow a simple layout. Room entrances and window frames need garlands. Whether it be bat cut-outs strung together or spider webs taped to the outline — garlands are a must. I used a mix of spider webs and lights to set the mood. I bought my glow-in-the-dark spider webs and some glitter spiders from Five Below (these can also be found on Amazon).

Next, I hit the stairs. I placed a string of lights behind the stairs’ railing to create a bright orange scene for people going up and down the stairs at night.  Hanging from the railing are pumpkin ghosts. At the top of the stairs is a giant spider. Upstairs, there is a projector showing various spooky images in our window, visible from inside the house and out. 


I made a month-long outline of activities that my niece, nephew and I are doing to keep the spooky spirit alive, in spite of being stuck in the house. In our upstairs playroom, we have a poster that has dates for each activity. I found that kids like anticipation. So without giving away exactly what we’re doing each day, I let them know that we have something planned. This also forces them to learn their dates and addition — remember we are doing virtual school.

Our October plans are listed below and are paired with spooky movies like “The Grim Adventure of Billy and Mandy Jacked Up Halloween,” “Hocus Pocus” and the “Halloweentown“ series. 

Oct. 8 – Dance Time

This day was dedicated to creating a Halloween music video. I let the kids choose between “This Is Halloween” from “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. They chose “Thriller,” and we spent the day creating choreography, picking outfits and filming around the neighborhood. 

Oct. 10 – Foodie Date

Food is everything, no matter the season. So I found tasty homemade treats to make with the kids. On our first foodie date, we made Goosebumps Punch and ghost cookies — all homemade treats with recipes available here.

Oct. 13 – Game Day

I took the kids to a park and wrote out monster footprints on the sidewalk to create ultimate Monster HopScotch. After that, we had a ghost sack race followed by a good game of bobbing for doughnuts. We finished with a mummy wrapping contest that turned into a mummy race. The trick is to be first across the finished line without ripping your toilet paper.

Oct.  17 – Foodie Date (Part 2)

For our second foodie date, we are going to do a giant Halloween gingerbread house. 

Oct.  18 – Game Night

The next installment of game night features life-size ghost tic tac toe, pin the nose on the witch, ghost bowling, Halloween freeze dance and, of course, a homemade “feel box.” 

Oct.  22 – Observatory

We are scheduled to go to the Sacramento Observatory for the Halloween storybook reading under the stars.

Oct.  24 – Corn Maze

We are driving to Apple Hill to experience the drive-through light show that includes Zombie Laser tag from the comfort of our car.

Oct.  27 – Craft Time

We are going to create Halloween themed masks and lanterns in preparation for the big day.

Oct. 31 – Halloween Spooktacular

The big day will feature an educational scavenger hunt, bubble dance party and the last movie of our movie night adventure.

I have begun to dig holes around the house to plant candy bags. There are also patches around the neighborhood that I have mapped out to park my sister’s, her husband’s and my car. 

On the day of Halloween, the kids will receive a map that has clues they have to solve using what they’ve learned in virtual school. Each clue will lead them to the tools they need and treasure (candy). They will have to dig and ride their bikes to find the “treasure chests” hidden throughout our home and neighborhood. 

Once they’ve found their treasure, we will celebrate with a bubble dance party.  Some recommended songs are: “Wall to Wall” by Chris Brown, “Ghost Buster” and “Disturbia” by Rhianna. After our dance party, we’ll end the night with Return to Halloweentown” on Disney Plus.

The kids deserve a worthwhile Halloween, and hopefully, this blueprint helps.