If there’s one holiday that my husband will never skip, it’s Halloween.
Even long before we had our son, he’d start talking about the holiday in August. He knew what day local stores would put their Halloween decor online, he knew when the Halloween pop-up shops opened (and where they were located), and he always bought a costume — even if we had no plans for the actual day. He loved taking me to scare mazes or spook fests and one year, I even threw him a Halloween-themed birthday.
When I found out I was pregnant four days before Halloween, we celebrated that night by going to a fun, “spooky” mystery walk-through at Lyndhurst mansion in Sleepy Hollow. We also started referring to our baby-on-the-way as our little pumpkin, a nickname that has stuck with him to this day.
Last year, our son was four months old in October and I was nearing the end of my maternity leave, so we had time to make his first Halloween one to remember. We had a hard time settling on one baby costume—baby Halloween costumes are the cutest as well as being surprisingly affordable—so we got him a special giraffe costume for the day, in honor of his favorite toy, Sophie la Giraffe.
Because our son was so little last year, we had hoped that this year’s activities would be more interactive. He may still be too little for trick-or-treating, but we had hoped to walk around the neighborhood and show off his costume. Maybe even take him to a kid-friendly Halloween or Fall event, like a hay-ride. At the very least, we had hoped to have family in town.
Unfortunately, none of that is going to be possible. While New York has seen a decline in infection rates, it is still incredibly important that we socially distance and avoid large gatherings. With nationwide infection rates still high, it’s also going to be impossible for either of our families to visit. My husband’s parents live in California; mine in Florida — two states that are both far away and where cases are on the rise.
Still, we’re more determined than ever to make the holiday one to remember. We’ve made Halloween fun before—we can’t let a pandemic stop us now. Here’s what we’ve got up our sleeves to make Halloween special for all of us this year.
“Still, we're more determined than ever to make the holiday one to remember. We’ve made Halloween fun before—we can’t let a pandemic stop us now. ”
We’re Taking a “Spooky” Family Portrait
We’re going to kick things off this Halloween season by taking a spooky family portrait. After exhaustive costume research and lots of debate over the merits of monsters vs. robots vs pirates, my husband and I have decided that the theme this year will be Frankenstein’s monster, his bride, and the mad scientist. Our son will be the scientist — of course.
We’ve pre-ordered our adult costumes and ordered an adorable mad scientist jacket and stuffed mouse for our son. I’m still on the look-out for a prop, like a beaker, that would be safe for him to play with but haven’t had much luck. (I’m not giving up yet though!) We’ve also ordered a Frankenstein costume for our dog—if she’ll tolerate it —and we’ll try to get her to pose for the photo too, though who knows if she’ll sit still that long.
And hey, maybe this will become a family tradition—at least until our son doesn’t think it’s cool anymore.
We’re Decking the Halls with Child-Appropriate Halloween Decorations
We’re also going to go all-out in decorating our home with non-scary mummies, silly witches, mummies, and cute ghosts. Think fun—not scary—light-up ghosts and pumpkins—that my husband and I have basically decided will set the whole tone for this year’s Halloween in our household.
We’re Making Our Own “Haunted House”
Our son is still a little too young for kids Halloween movies, but we’re already compiling a song list, which includes, among other things, “Monster Mash” and the Halloween edition of “Baby Shark,” a song that our son already likes to “bop” and twirl around to for our own family-friendly version of a haunted house.
We’re Decorating a Smiling Pumpkin
We’re not sure if my husband and I are going to carve a pumpkin, but one thing is for sure: we’re going to let our son decorate his own pumpkin with stickers and washable paint.
We’re Brewing up Some Halloween Goodies
We didn’t really do a smash cake for our son’s first birthday (which was also during quarantine), so I’ve decided to look into recipes for fun fall-flavored smash cakes, like pumpkin or apple-cinnamon, that we can bake at home and then let him destroy. I think it will be a lot of fun letting our little pumpkin destroy his own little pumpkin cake.
And for even easier at-home Halloween goodies, I love ready-made Halloween baking kits, like these graveyard brownies your toddler can decorate all on their own. Takes the work out of a day that’s meant to be all about celebrating with spooky fun—however that looks this year.