6 Fun Things to Do on Halloween Without a Screen

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Words by
Jana Dalby

Published on


Is there a screen zombie on your couch? These days, it seems to be every teen’s favorite “costume.” 

If your son or daughter would rather rot their brain than eat brains, don’t put away the pumpkins just yet. Help them shake off the spell with a few tricks and treats.

Have a Safe, Screen-Free Halloween

Halloween is for screams, not for screens. Even in the age of social distancing, you can help your screen-addicted kids enjoy the holiday:

1. Carve Pumpkins 

Who doesn’t love carving pumpkins? This Halloween tradition is inexpensive, fun, and just the right amount of messy.

Challenge your kids: Who can come up with the most original design? Who can carve it most recognizably? Who can scoop out the most seeds?

Remind everyone to be careful with knives. A trip to the ER might be scary, but it’s not much of a treat. 

2. Watch a Scary Movie

There’s no better excuse for watching a scary movie than Halloween. Pop some popcorn, grab a blanket, and pop on your favorite scary movie

Beware that a lot of horror films aren’t appropriate for kids. If you’re looking for one that is, our family’s favorite is “Hocus Pocus.” This classic may have come out before your kids were even born — meaning they’ll need to look up from their phones to follow along.

3. Eat Entirely Too Much Candy

Don’t tell your kids’ dentist: If Covid-19 has reduced the number of trick-or-treaters at your door, you’ll just have to eat the candy yourself.

Make your kids earn their candy: Perhaps the exchange rate is one piece per minute spent picking up their room. If anyone has a tummy ache afterward, well, they’ll know to practice more self-control next Halloween.

4. Scare up a Scavenger Hunt

When you were young, remember how much fun you had marauding around your neighborhood with other kids? While times have changed, you can still make Halloween social for your kids with a neighborhood scavenger hunt.

Call up other parents nearby. Although they may be hesitant to let their kids go door-to-door, given the Covid-19 crisis, they ought to be OK with a scavenger hunt.

As parents, set out a series of candy or other small treats, like $1 bills. Put together a list of instructions, replete with Halloween puns, that are appropriate in difficulty for kids.

What does the winner get? That’s up for you, as the organizing parents, to decide. Opt for a non-digital reward every kid will appreciate, like some candy treats or a subscription to their favorite magazine.

5. Dig Into Dia de Los Muertos

Halloween is celebrated around the world in many ways and colors. One of the most famous is Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Originally an Aztec holiday, Dia de Los Muertos is now celebrated throughout Central and South America. By blending indigenous with Catholic teachings, it encourages observers to see death as not just a normal part of life, but one worth celebrating.

For this celebration, include a serious and a fun component. Perhaps you can all paint sugar skulls together, in place of or alongside carving pumpkins. 

6. Craft Some Decor for Next Year

Is your home short on Halloween decor this year? Perhaps it wasn’t in the budget, or maybe you didn’t expect to have trick-or-treaters to impress.

Feed two birds with one scone by getting crafty with your kids. Easy projects include:

  • Witch’s broomsticks: Grab some twine and twigs from the backyard for the broom’s base. For the body of the broom, either purchase a few pieces of bamboo or thick wooden dowel rods. 
  • Geometric bats: For this craft project, all you need is some black construction paper, googly eyes, and string to hang the bats with. Try it without a template: Who can cut squares, circles, and triangles that, when put together, actually look like a bat?
  • Matchstick skeletons: In the right hands, a handful matchsticks or balsa wood strips can become a spooky skeleton. Use glue and construction paper to put these decorations together.
  • Mini mummies: Have some extra gauze, toilet paper, or white twine laying around? Cut cardboard or construction paper into a human shape, wrap it up, and add some googly eyes. Voila — a mummy!

On a holiday like Halloween, any screen time is too much. Put down your phones so you can eat candy, drink some punch, and be scary together.