With the coronavirus pandemic, Halloween will be a bit different in 2020 here in Brooklyn and, likely, wherever you live. Though you probably won’t be attending any costume parades or trekking your favorite trick-or-treat routes, as usual, New York City festivities are aplenty.
We’ve rounded up 13 family-friendly Halloween ideas that are sure to lift your ghostly spirits, some of which you can participate in safely at your home while social distancing.
Pumpkin patches tend to take place on sprawling acreage, which makes for an ideal social distancing activity. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find so many pumpkin patches throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. A few worth recommending include Staten Island’s Decker Farm and Elwood Pumpkin Farm, Demarest Farms in New Jersey, Harris Hill Farm in Connecticut and Queens County Farm Museum (which has many more options listed below).
Once you’ve picked a pumpkin, or bought one at the grocery store or bodega, let the fun begin. Carve or paint pumpkins inside with members of your household to the tune of a Halloween playlist or a chilling movie marathon. You can arrange for a couple friends and neighbors in your quarantine pod to meet outside at a safe distance while wearing a mask.
Have your kids put on their Halloween costumes and help you decorate your space, whether that’s inside, your front door, windows or yard if you have one. Try involving neighbors in a decorating contest or hosting a virtual contest by taking photos of your decorations and posting them on social media along with friends or other families.
This one’s ideal for those who have friends and relatives residing outside NYC or those of us being extra cautious right now. Cook up some Halloween-themed treats either on your own or as part of the Zoom festivities. Create a spooky backdrop and put on your costume for a Zoom Halloween party. Have a costume contest, virtual dance party, cookie or pumpkin decorating contest, tell scary stories or play some Halloween games.
Now through October 22, 2020, you can enter the Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest which will take place online this year. Voting is between October 23 and 26, and the main event happens on October 29 at 7pm.
Cook a Halloween themed meal or make some festive snacks and plan a family movie night indoors. If you’d rather have movie night in your car, Skyline Drive-In NYC here in Brooklyn is playing a few Halloween films. Don’t have a car? Don’t worry, this is NYC after all, and they have a new outdoor seating area too.
We’ve already gone this year. Have you? The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is one of our favorite wow-worthy annual Halloween celebrations in New York. There is so much creativity involved! You can take part in the fun in both the Hudson Valley and on Long Island.
Purchase some craft supplies and fabric, or use what you have around the house to make masks and costumes that the kids can wear for Halloween this year or next year, or use for dress-up play year round. Or switch it up by having them make masks or costumes for other family members.
Put on some Halloween music or a movie in the background, have your kids put on their costumes and hide some sweet treats around the house. Provide fun clues or little games that reveal hiding places, or have the kids search for them on their own like you would during an Easter Egg Hunt.
As usual, Queens County Farm Museum has a host of options when it comes to celebrating Halloween in NYC. Whether you visit their Maize Maze, Harvest Weekends, Pumpkin Patch or Fall Escape, you’re sure to have a great time.
October 23, 2020 through November 1, 2020, is an El Dia de Los Muertos celebration at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where visitors are encouraged to bring personal offerings to a community altar.
No matter how you choose to celebrate your NYC Halloween this year, remember to play it safe: Wear a mask, keep your distance and carry sanitizer with you if you leave your home.