How to make Halloween a scream in a socially distanced world.
Halloween may seem a little sad this year. But for Halloween lovers, COVID-19 safety restrictions doesn’t mean the spooky holiday season is cancelled.
“We have received calls and inquiries from many parents on what to do this year,” said Lisa K. Cohen, director at Creative Arts & Parties for Kids and owner of the new Play & Parties location (opening Oct. 31) in Orange. “I always look at every challenge as a creative opportunity and this pandemic is no exception. When you think about the essence of Halloween and what gets kids excited to celebrate it, it is dressing up and pretending to be someone or something else and then sharing that experience.”
Creativity is the name of the game this Halloween season. It can mean creating a virtual Halloween party for your kids at home, going out to a socially distant event or something else. At the center of it all is a passion for Halloween and the inventiveness of creative minds.
“This challenge has inspired some families to be even more hands-on and involved with their kids’ activities,” said Cohen. “I would recommend that even the parents and other family members dress up and join in the fun. Find your own inner child and join in. Kids love it when ‘their grown-ups’ let down and have fun with them.”
“Parents can absolutely put together a virtual Halloween party or event,” said Cohen. “The host family just needs to have one adult lead the call and keep the structure of the event moving, and yes in order to do this effectively you do need some specific technical things to make it work.”
She said some activities for a virtual Halloween party can include:
Dance Party: Kids can show off their costumes and do a freeze dance — where they dance to some fun music like “Thriller,” “Ghostbusters” and “Monster Mash,” and freeze whenever the music stops. One of the adults can serve as the designated virtual DJ for this one.
Costume Parade: “Each child will have a moment to be highlighted on the Zoom call and strut their stuff for the other Zoomers,” said Cohen. One of the more energetic parents can serve as an announcer. “’And now presenting Sophia, who will show us her beautiful princess twirls and curtsies,’” Cohen said.
Interactive Craft: Kids can make a fun, easy craft simultaneously during the call. Just remember that when you send out your invites to make sure each family knows what supplies they need to get in advance. Kids can add googly eyes and stickers to a pumpkin, or decorate a candy bag. “There are endless ideas and craft kits on Amazon, Pinterest, etc.,” said Cohen. “Your guests can create the craft together and share the fun results right there on Zoom.”
Scavenger Hunts: “This takes a little planning on the parents’ part, but it is so easy and super worth [the] fun,” Cohen said. The adults hide a few toys and treats in the home — like a plastic pumpkin ball under the couch, or a little toy witch in the kitchen. The host then gives clues for the kids to go scavenge for the items. “Kids love looking for the lost treasures,” said Cohen.
Cohen said you can make the party as elaborate or simple as you like.
“A more elaborate virtual Halloween party would include things like virtual backgrounds, possibly inserting a shared movie or video, and incorporating music,” she said. “I think that either way, elaborate or simple, you need a structure and someone to keep it moving and interesting for the kids.”
Of course, it’s also important to stay on top of the technology aspect of a virtual party.
“Make sure your phone or iPad is on a tripod or set the laptop in such a way so you are framed properly,” Cohen said. “[Once] that is set up, put a light source behind the phone, laptop or tripod as well as make sure that you have light on you as well. You can use lamps, clamp-on work lights, whatever you have. Pick or create a fun background or cool place in your home to stage your Zoom.”
And don’t forget to involve your kids in the planning process.
“Sit down with them and make it a fun family project,” she said. “Ask them what they would like to do and then brainstorm with them on how to make it happen. Maybe they like puzzles, or quizzes, or treasure hunts. Then figure out how to make this work.”
By Jessica Peralta
(Photos courtesy of Creative Parties for Kids)