The PSP Guide to Halloween Fun in the Time of Coronavirus

Events, socially distanced ideas, and trick-or-treating updates

 

Like all other aspects of life, spooky celebrations will look a little—or a lot—different this year. But we at Park Slope Parents are a resourceful bunch, and we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves to help you have a hair-raisingly haunting Halloween despite the circumstances. Read on...if you dare!

 

Are you a parent in Brooklyn who's not yet a Park Slope Parents member? JOIN US today to chat with fellow families about trick-or-treating best practices, share intel on the best pumpkin patches, and get advice on everything from costumes to carving to crafting. Hop on your broomstick and sign up HERE!

 

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Events

Fall and Halloween Events

Activities on Halloween

Trick-or-Treating

At-Home and Socially Distant Activities

Have a Family Theme

Warm up your costumes NOW!

Pumpkin carving (and contest)

Go on a Spooky Stroll

Halloween piñata

Music, movies, and books

Virtual watch party

Decorations

Spooky rocks

Costume contest

Face painting

Spooky Potions

Spiderweb candy hunt

Candy scavenger hunt

Indoor trick-or-treating

Camping

Party games

Past Halloween photo albums

Go Ghosting

Crafts

Food

Savories

Sweets

Sips

Final Reminders

 

 

Events

 

For everyone’s safety, the 2020 Halloween Parade is canceled this year, and there will be no organized merchant trick or treating. The Park Slope Civic Council encourages everybody to trick or treat within your own buildings, among your immediate neighbors, and between family members or your selected pods.

 

The Civic Council is also joining forces with the Old Stone House, Park Slope Parents, and the Park Slope 5th Ave BID to coordinate festive and socially distanced activities. Keep an eye out for more details about the upcoming 5th Ave scavenger hunt, crafts, and events—and check out the awesome IRL and virtual events around the neighborhood below!

 

 

Fall and Halloween Events

 

Boo at the Prospect Park Zoo

Daily through October. Prospect Park Zoo is going batty every day in October with Halloween-themed educational (and fun) decorations. Find out more here.

 

Halloween Window Treasure Hunt at Lulu’s Cuts & Toys

Daily through 10/29. Stop by the store for a list of treasure hunt questions, then find the items and answers by looking in Lulu’s Halloween window display. Learn more here.

 

Halloween Pumpkin Hunt.

Now through 10/31. Inspired by the Rainbow Map, the Halloween Pumpkin Hunt encourages people to put pictures of pumpkins in their windows and then enter the location on the map. On Halloween, children put on costumes and hit the streets to hunt for pumpkins! Even though the Hunt is for the kids, anyone can make a pumpkin and tape it in their window. In fact, the more pumpkins on the map, the safer the activity because there will be more route options. Learn more here!

 

Here’s a pumpkin you can print out and color for your window!

 

Spooky Fun at Liberty Science Center
Now through 11/1. Make your way through the famous spider maze and learn about some eight-legged wonders along the way. Inside the Center, follow the Face Your Fears Path to learn about five phobias, and earn stickers to gain entrance to a Pumpkin Patch. Stop by "Wild About Animals" for a great live show featuring some creepy, crawly residents. Plus, there's Halloween dance party every day and you can see pumpkins smashed to smithereens during a "Boom Time" show. Buy tickets here.

 

Go on a Scavenger Hunt at CAMP in Hudson Yards
10/25 through 11/1. Folks at CAMP have designed a fun, Covid-safe, touchless trick-or-treating experience all throughout the mall at Hudson Yards. Families will go door-to-door on a scavenger hunt finding tricks, treats and secret codes to crack! You can expect CAMP-style fun that is interactive, full of laughs, some light scares and safely-dispensed treats. Recommended for families with kids ages 4-12. Costumes welcome. Buy tickets here

 

Great Pumpkin Path at the New York Botanical Garden

Now through 11/1. Discover plentiful pumpkins and hordes of gourds along the twists and turns of our Great Pumpkin Path on the Conservatory Lawn, culminating with some of the largest pumpkins in the world with the arrival of giant pumpkins on October 24. Keep an eye out for a display of whimsical scarecrows throughout the Garden as well. Learn more here.

 

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Town Square's Pumpkin Day

10/17 @ 11 am–2 pm. Outdoor fun on the Brooklyn waterfront at Greenpoint Terminal Market. Pick your own pumpkin. Decorate it with paints, glitter, and colorful ribbons. Enjoy arts and crafts and other fun activities with your family. Get your timed-entry ticket here.

 

Pumpkin Carving Workshop at Private Picassos Art Studio

10/18 @ 11 am. Admission for one adult and one child is $40 and includes one gutted pumpkin, use of their carving tools, pre-made templates and a demonstration for how to create your own design. RSVP here.

 

Art on the Farm at Randall's Island Park
10/24 @ 2 pm–4 pm. Join us for unique family (to-go!) art projects inspired by the Urban Farm! Visitors can collect pre-packaged creativity kits including Urban Farm inspired activity sheets and craft supplies. Learn more here.

 

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Suzi Shelton's HALLOWEEN SPECIAL!

10/28 @ 4 pm. Join award-winning singer/songwriter Suzi Shelton and Friends as they celebrate Halloween  at a safe and spooky distance. Music, puppets, and even a costume fashion show! This concert is free to watch and sponsored by the Park Slope Library & Jack & Friends which is presented in celebration of Jack Roberts and his joyful spirit. His friends and family hope you enjoy it. Tune in on Facebook or YouTube

 

BAX Virtual Halloween Playspace

10/29 @ 9:30–10:15 am. BAX is diving into the Fall season with all of their Playspace fun, including singing, stories, dancing, and a special treat (but no tricks—they promise). All with a little Halloween twist!

Join in for Halloween-inspired found object crafts, storytime, and a culminating Costume Dance Party, facilitated by Playspace faculty Jessica Lee & Ariel Blake! Kids (and adults!) are encouraged to come in costume. Sign up here.

 

Halloween Egg Hunt at Good Day Play Cafe

10/30–10/31. At $45/child, each session includes Egg Hunt, open play, pizza & juice and a cup of Stumptown hot coffee for the adults. Book your egg hunt here.

 

Check out a fall festival or fair. Time Out has put together this round-up of autumnal goodness in NYC and environs, including both IRL and virtual harvest fun.

 

 

Activities on Halloween

 

Brooklyn Heights Association Halloween Parade

10/31 @ 10 am. The Brooklyn Heights Association will be hosting a socially distant, face-coverings-required Halloween Parade for families on the Promenade, offering kids a chance to show off their costumes and receive a treat. RSVP here.

 

Kids Dance Sport Halloween Bash at Kinderdance

10/31 @ 9:30 am–4:30 pm. Ghosts and goblins ages 3–12 can participate in a free dance, gymnastics, sports, or kids Zumba class at Kinderdance's Flatbush location. Get your free ticket here.

 

Brooklyn Acting Lab Halloween Parade 2020
10/31 @ 10 am. On Halloween morning, meet BAL at 10 am (11th Street & PPW) for a socially distanced parade in Prospect Park followed by a Monster Mash dance party and a live performance from their Rocky Horror Time Warp video dancers! Learn more and RSVP here.

 

Halloween Outdoor Sing-Along Adventure in Cadman Plaza Park (0-3 year olds)

10/31 @ 10 am. Join Treasure Trunk Theatre for a morning of songs and games in the park, geared toward babies and toddlers up to three years old. Register here.

 

Halloween Outdoor Imagination Adventure in Cadman Plaza Park (4 - 7 year olds)

10/31 @ 11 am. Join Treasure Trunk Theatre for a morning of songs, games, activities, and improvisation in the park, geared toward kids aged four to seven. Register here.

 

Virtual Children's Halloween Parade

10/31 @ 1 pm. Hosted by NYU and Manhattan Community Board 2, the 30th Annual Children's Halloween Parade will feature musical performances, a costume contest, a downloadable activity book and more. The video will premiere on this page at 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 31. Send costume photos to by October 16 if you’d like to enter the costume contest!

 

Laurie Berkner's "Halloween Party" Live Virtual Family Concerts

10/31 @ 12 pm and 5 pm. Legendary children's musician Laurie Berkner has been performing a concert on Halloween for years, and she's taking it virtual in 2020 so all can enjoy and be safe! Her "Halloween Party" Live Virtual Family Concerts will happen on Laurie's website. Tickets are $20 per family, and they get you access to both shows for a double dose of musical fun. Learn more and buy tickets here.

 

Hall-O-Ween Party 2020 with Hall That Fun

10/31 @ 4 pm. Join Hall That Fun and A Princess Like Me NYC in Prospect Lefferts Gardens for an afternoon of fun, games crafts and entertainment. Learn more and buy tickets here.

 

Halloween Science with Kiddie Science
10/31 @ 4 pm. Join Ms. Carmen live on Zoom for some hands-on Halloween science fun! This 45-minute workshop is for ages 4 and up and uses supermarket ingredients and candy for a fizzy, colorful, and gooey exploration. Learn more and register here.

 

 

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Trick-or-Treating

 

There are differing levels of comfort with trick-or-treating during Covid in NYC. Park Slope and some of the other brownstone neighborhoods have a great level of mask compliance and low rates of infection, so it's not out of the question to trick-or-treat in a safe and responsible way. Check out this New York Times article by a professor of pediatrics, which says:

 

"[T]he ruling on Halloween from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a bridge too far.

The agency recently announced that traditional trick-or-treating, with face-to-face candy distribution, is a high-risk activity. Even modified trick-or-treating with grab-and-go goody bags was labeled a moderate risk.

But if I had to design an activity for children that might be safe during a pandemic, I’m not sure that I could do a better job than trick-or-treating. It’s outside. It can be socially distanced. The food is individually wrapped (before anyone partakes, parents can wipe the candies down while kids wash their hands). It’s the one night a year when kids will not argue at all about wearing masks."

 

Halloween generally brings 5,000 extra folks into the neighborhood from other neighborhoods for trick-or-treating and to watch the parade. Consider this when you decide whether you are going to participate in trick-or-treating in NYC. Some people are opting to go elsewhere to enjoy. 

 

If you are considering trick-or-treating, you might put out a bowl so you don’t have direct contact. You can also buy trash picker-uppers locally and inexpensively—and decorate and give out candy with a ghoulish hand! Or there are these options as well. 

 

 

Buy the gorilla grabber HERE and the witch hand HERE.

 

You can always see what it’s like with the trick-or-treating and decide to pull the plug if it’s too much. As one PSP member wrote, “I think we will do some very limited trick or treating on only our own block. I think what will be key is being ready to pull the plug or redirect if it becomes at all crowded. Normally it becomes so packed that I repeatedly lose my children, which is part of the fun for them. But that doesn’t work this year.” Consider having a socially distanced meetup with friends in the park if you’re worried about safety. If you bag the candy and wait a few days before anyone eats it, you may be just fine, so consider that.

 

Candy exchange with a few friends. Go “trunk-or-treating,” except instead of a car, bring your picnic blanket to Prospect Park and have kids go blanket-to-blanket for treats.

 

Create a Candy Chute

One thing making the rounds on social media is a tube or chute where you can distribute candy. If you want, you can make a candy chute so you can remain socially distanced from your trick or treaters!

 

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Instructions HERE

 

However you feel about trick-or-treating, please keep the following things in mind: 

  • If you're sick, stay home!

  • Trick-or-treat with immediate and podding families only.

  • Keep six feet away from other families.

  • Wear a face mask covering BOTH your mouth and your nose. Wear a mask over or under your costume. Get creative and work a mask into your costume design!

  • Be extra careful about going into the street to move around people in bunches.

  • Sanitize your hands frequently while out trick-or-treating, especially before eating.

 

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At-Home and Socially Distant Activities

 

Have a Family Theme. Since your kids might not be around all their friends this year, make sure to get dressed up too! Go as the Addams family, the Incredibles, Harry Potter, or, of course, 2020 favorites (e.g., Tiger King and tigers, couch potatoes, elusive roll of toilet paper, etc.)

 

Warm up your costumes NOW! As soon as you get your costumes, let your kids dress up now. Who says that costumes are ONLY for one day?

 

Pumpkin carving (and contest). When your masterpiece is complete, enter it into the EKC Pumpkin Carving Contest. All proceeds raised Extreme Kids & Crew, a nonprofit serving children with disabilities and their families in NYC. Winners will be announced on October 31!

 

Also check out the North Pacific Playground Pumpkin Patch, located at 473 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill. You can head there to take home a pumpkin, carve or paint it, and then return it to the patch by 3 pm on 10/31 to see it lit up on Halloween night!

 

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After you gut your gourds, don’t forget to put those pumpkin seeds to good use:

 

Go on a Spooky Stroll. Explore the neighborhood to see all the different decorations during the day or at night. Make sure to wear your costumes!  

 

Make a Halloween piñata filled with candy. Here’s one for the crafty folks. Make your own piñata and fill it with candy. You can papier-mâché a ghost, witch, or pumpkin (a big balloon will do!).  

 

Magical movies, mischievous music, and blood-curdling books. Make a library run, create a Spotify playlist, and line up a movie night—all with a Halloween theme, of course. If it’s a nice night, you could get a projector and show it on a driveway or big sheet in your backyard. Some classic movies to get you started include:

  • It's the Great Pumpkin

  • Charlie Brown

  • Hocus Pocus

  • Goosebumps

  • Halloweentown

  • Ghostbusters

  • Hotel Transylvania

  • The Nightmare before Christmas 

  • The Scooby Doo movie

  • Addams Family

  • Kiki’s Delivery Service

  • Coraline

 

Virtual watch party. Pick one of those frightening flicks and get a few friends together on Zoom to watch. If you have Netflix, their Party feature will synch up the video and add a group chat!

 

Decorate like never before. Festoon your fire escapes with spooky skeletons, and then go out for a tour of your neighbors’ dire decor. Check out past Halloweens on 12th Street for inspiration!

 

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Paint some spooky rocks. Decorate some fun Halloween-themed rocks and scatter them around the neighborhood and park to let others enjoy.  

 

Costume contest. Have kids pick a theme with their friends or family and come up with a few rules (e.g., no store-bought costumes) and then plan the big reveal on Zoom for Halloween night. If lots of people are participating, or to make things less competitive, you can come up with lots of different categories for awards.

 

Fort Greene Park Conservancy is hosting a Virtual Halloween Costume Contest, so be sure to submit your Halloween costume pictures for the chance to win a gift card to Greenlight Bookstore! Winners will be announced live on Zoom on November 1 at 11 am, followed by a performance from Kotchegna Dance Company.

 

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Face Painting. Check out the PSP photo gallery of Face Painting How Tos. We’ve had great luck over the years ordering from Silly Farm. Get a palette of your favorite colors, some black and white Wolf Brothers paints, some good brushes—and don’t forget the glitter!

 

Make Spooky Potions. A quick Google search brings up hundreds of Halloween potions. One member recommends “The Wizard’s Workshop: A Science Activity Book.” 

 

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Spiderweb Candy Hunt. One PSP member explains that you can make a spiderweb by weaving thick yarn through multiple trees and chairs. Hang candy off of the yarn with color-coded clips or put treats in eggs on the floor throughout the maze!

 

Candy scavenger hunt. Hide candy around the yard or in the house and have kids do a Halloween hunt (rather than easter eggs). Or meet up with friends, bring a book to occupy the kids, and have some folks hide Easter Eggs in the park while someone reads the book.

 

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Inside trick-or-treating. Consider having indoor trick-or-treating: Adults use every door in the house (think closets, bathrooms, behind shower curtains, bedrooms) and pretend you’re seeing each other for the first time! If you have some extra hats, boas, and invisibility cloaks, adults can get into dressing up too!

 

Go camping! Halloween falls on a night when there is a rare Blue Moon, and if it’s good weather, a camping trip would allow you to see the full moon along with the stars!

 

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Preternatural party games. Set up a mini arcade together and play the night away. Ideas include:

 

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Reminisce on Halloweens past (and get costume and decoration ideas!) with PSP’s photo albums:

 

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Go Ghosting. Pack a bag of treats for a friend and leave it on their doorstep!

 

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Whip up some creepy-crawly crafts. Whether your kids are newbie DIY-ers or crafting connoisseurs, there’s a project out there to get their creative juices flowing—and the more crafts they complete, the more boo-tiful your Halloween apartment decor will turn out.

 

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Easier

Clay Handprint Keepsake

Ghost Balloons

Glitter Pumpkins

Halloween Face Masks

Halloween Slime

Halloween Sugar Drawings

Paper Bag Monster Puppets

Pipe Cleaner Spiders

Pumpkin Apple Stamps

Masking Tape Mummies

Monster Bookmarks

Paper Pumpkins

Popsicle Stick Spider Webs

Rainbow Pumpkins

Toilet Paper Monsters

 

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More Advanced

Beaded Spiders

Black Cat Cross-Stitch

Bouncy Halloween Headbands

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Pumpkins

Egg Carton Monsters

Felt Finger Puppets

Melted Crayon Pumpkins

Paper Chains

Paper Mobiles

Paper Pumpkins

Pasta Skeletons

 

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Plan a fang-tastic feast. Enlist kids to help you plan, execute, and serve an elaborate Halloween menu. From poison apples to bloody “dead velvet” cake, the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas to get you started…

 

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Savories

Baked Mummy Jalapeno Poppers

Chicken Pumpkins

Eyeball Pasta

Eye of Newt Deviled Eggs

Halloween Stuffed Peppers

Jack O’ Lantern Chips and Dip

Mac-O-Lantern and Cheese Bowls

Monster Avocado Toast

Monster Sushi Bites

Mummy Brie

Mummy Pizzas

Pretzel Broomsticks

Pumpkin Deviled Eggs

Pumpkin Hummus

Sausage Mummy Dippers

Toxic Waste Mac and Cheese

Vampire Blood Tomato Soup with Muenster Sammies

 

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Sweets

Bloody Meringue Bones

Blueberry Mummy Muffins

Halloween Oreo pops

Hats and Bats Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tarts

Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Pies

Marshmallow Ghost Brownies

Meringue Ghost Tartlets

Monster Popcorn

Mummy Pumpkin Hand Pies

Peanut Butter Monsters

“Poison” Candy Apples

Red Velvet Vampire Cupcakes

Rice Krispie Treat Mummies

Spider Web Guacamole

Strawberry Ghosts

Teeth & Mouth Snacks

Witch’s Finger Cookies

 

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Sips

Berry Eyeball Punch

Creepy Shirley Temples

Frankenshake and Bride of Frankenshake

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Slow Cooker Vampire Punch

 

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Final Reminders

 

Mask up, stay safe, and remember to check CDC guidelines. Halloween doesn’t have to be canceled, but as with all things these days, it does require an extra layer of caution. As you know, everyone has a different level of risk tolerance, and you’re the only one who can decide what’s right for your family. Do your due diligence before embarking on any potentially risky festivities. Start by reviewing the CDC guidelines below and checking out this article from the New York Times, which offers tips on mitigating risk and salvaging more than a semblance of Halloween.

Per the CDC:

Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Lower risk activities

These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends

  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space

  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance

  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest

  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with

  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate risk activities

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)

    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.

  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart

  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart

    • A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.

    • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart

    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing

  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart

    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

 

Higher risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door

  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots

  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors

  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming

  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household

  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors

  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19

 

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