Graphic by Bryana Quintana

Jack-O’-Lanterns, hand sanitizer, cobwebs, face masks, candy, Clorox wipes.

Eek! It’s quite an odd list, isn’t it? Some of these items are typical of the Halloween season, and the others we have come to be very familiar with as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This Halloween, like many of our other holidays this year, will likely look very different from those we’ve experienced in the past.

According to the CDC, “Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses.” Their website offers ways to limit these risks when celebrating Halloween but makes clear that anyone who might have COVID-19 or might have been exposed to it should NOT participate in in-person activities or give candy to trick-or-treaters. The Illinois Department of Public Health has also issued guidelines around Halloween here and here.

But don’t have a fright! Your Halloween doesn’t have to be terribly ghastly without some of the usual in-person festivities. It can still be a hoot while celebrating in your (haunted) house with enchantingly delicious treats and spellbinding activities.

Using the CDC and IDPH’s guidelines, we’ve put together a guide to celebrate this Halloween — safely and responsibly!


Decorating is the first step to every celebration, and, luckily, it’s something this pandemic can’t keep us from doing. Consider grabbing a few mini pumpkins from the grocery store, building a gingerbread haunted house or stringing up some orange and purple lights. If you’re on campus, stop by ARTica for some Halloween crafting.

Here are some decorations you can buy or DIY:

Halloween Haunted Chocolate Cookie Mansion — $10 at Target

Halloween Paper Garland — DIY

Spiderweb — DIY

Carve pumpkins — classic!

Decorate pumpkins in ways that don’t require carving — use anything from paint to googly eyes to glitter!‌‌

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Trick-or-Treat (inside your house)

Okay, we’re grown adults — but it’s Halloween and you can’t have Halloween without candy, no matter how old you are. Stop by your local grocery store and pick up your favorite candies or make your own goodies to share with those in your household or keep to yourself (exercising the second part of the phrase “trick-or-treat”). Rather than the house-to-house trick-or-treating you experienced as a kid, this version takes you room to room.

Here are some sweet Halloween treats you can make at home:

Spider Bites

Halloween Cake Pops

Frankenstein Cheesecakes

Caramel Apples

Dirt Cake

Frozen Banana Mummies

Monster Candy Cookies

Giant Candy Bar

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‌‌Dress up

One of the other hallmarks of Halloween is the costumes. While you likely won’t be able to show them off at any parties this year, you can still dress up and celebrate with those you live with or have a Zoom costume contest with those you aren’t able to see in person. Bonus points if your mask matches your costume!‌‌‌‌

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‌‌Watch Halloween movies

There are so many Halloween movies to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that suits your Halloween style. Watch solo (so you don’t have to compromise on what to watch), with your roommates or have a virtual movie night with loved ones you can’t meet in person.

Here are some NBN-recommended scary movies that are sure to either fright or delight!

Dance Halloween GIF by PlayKids

Make a Halloween dinner

We already discussed dessert, but what about dinner? It turns out, Halloween doesn’t just have to be about sweets. There are tons of ways to bring Halloween to your main course as well.

Here are some ways you can Halloween-ify your dinner all October long:

Mummy Hot Dogs

Pumpkin Lasagna

Halloween Pizzas

Eyeball Pasta

Jack-O’-Lantern Quesadillas

Jack-O’-Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Mini Mummy Meatloaves

Spinach Jack-O’-Lantern Hand Pies

Pumpkin Hummus

Happy Good Vibes GIF by Super Simple

Play (and sing and dance along to) some Halloween-inspired tunes!

There is a wide range of Halloween/spooky songs and movie soundtracks out there. So, light a pumpkin scented candle, dim the lights and go trick-or-treating for some fun tracks on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube or whatever your music player of choice.‌‌‌‌

Dance Reaction Gif By The .GIF