5 fun alternatives to going out this Halloween


Hana Beaty

Halloween in the era of COVID-19 will be different this year, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of spooky activities to partake in!

Halloween will certainly be different this year due to COVID-19. While it puts a damper on the “Chicoween” tradition of partying downtown on Halloween night, there are plenty of fun things to do in small groups or solo.

Try making chili and cornbread before going in on the Halloween candy

This was a tradition my mom held every year when I was growing up. She made cornbread and a huge pot of chili every Halloween and there was always enough for two or three days. A quick Google search turns up a massive variety of recipes. Chili and cornbread is an extremely versatile dish that’s perfect for chilly nights. My mom always adds creamed corn to her cornbread and it gives it an extra sweetness and incorporates actual corn. For a spicier option, you can add jalapeños or other peppers. For the chili, you can use several kinds of beans, one kind or none. You can include beef, pork, venison, bison or any other meat you prefer (and in any combination if you want a more meaty, protein-rich chili). Or for the vegans and vegetarians among us, there are plenty of vegetables that can go into the mix. They’re always a good addition to chili with meat, too, but vegetables can easily and deliciously be the main ingredient. Another thing you can tailor to your specific taste is the consistency and spice level. It can be really thick and solid or more soupy and stew-like. Keep it super mild, spice it up just a bit or push the envelope and see just how much spice you can handle without screaming like you’re in a horror movie yourself.

Play pranks on your friends

Grab some fake blood and Halloween props and have fun scaring your friends out of their wits. I remember once my dad pretended to be bleeding to death from a huge cut on his hand and scared me and my brother so bad! I think he must have used a whole tube of fake blood for that.

The ever-popular pumpkin carving (or painting) contest

Wrangle your friends and family and see who can do the best pumpkin carving or painting. You can judge based on creativity, clarity (can you tell Dracula from a werewolf or is it in the eye of the beholder?), or any other categories you can come up with. To make it more challenging, blindfold the competitors and see how ridiculous their pumpkin paintings come out. Another thing to consider: what prize does the winner get?

Best homemade costume contest

Like the pumpkin contest, there are many things this competition can be judged on: creativity, clarity, spookiness, silliness, closest resemblance to a movie character and on and on. If you’re really competitive, you could do the pumpkin contest and the costume contest together!

Stock up on candy and watch Halloween-themed movies

This is a good go-to when you’re looking for a more laid back Halloween, but still want to get in the spirit of the night. There are plenty of options to choose from. Stick to fun, not-so-scary Disney movies or go for terrifying horror films that will make you sleep with the light on. Binge your old favorites or delve into films you’ve been dying to watch but haven’t had the opportunity to yet. Or maybe you were just waiting for the right occasion, and what better night for it than Halloween?

Kelsey Ogle can be reached at [email protected]