How can we celebrate Halloween, Bonfire Night and birthdays during coronavirus?

The coronavirus situation is constantly changing. It may mean thinking out of the box when it comes to celebrating special occasions.

As Halloween and Bonfire night get closer, there are still many ways to have safe fun with your children.

You can also make sure birthday celebrations still feel special, even with new or changing restrictions.

Halloween celebrations: a child dressed up as a witch holds a pumpkin with a scary face

Halloween and coronavirus

  • Replace ‘trick or treating’ with a pumpkin trail. ‘Trick or treat’ might be out this year but you can still get dressed up! Why not go on a pumpkin trail with your child and check out people’s spooky creations? Many places are organising pumpkin trails so have a look and see what’s happening in your area.
  • Have some fun at home. Make the day special by decorating your house. You can make some of the decorations yourself. Who can draw the spookiest spider? Ask them to draw a friendly monster. Design their most creative costume then go on a hunt to find things in the house they can use to dress up.
  • Share the celebrations with friends. 
FaceTime or video call friends and family to see who has the best decorations and the spookiest costume.
  • Take your child pumpkin picking. Check out local farms to see where you can do this and how to book a slot. Then have fun finding your child’s favourite pumpkin! 
Carve a pumpkin and use the seeds and insides to have some messy fun.
  • Make a Halloween feast. Check out the BBC Halloween Recipes for some ideas. You could make anything from Eerie Eyeball Pops to Healthy Halloween Pizzas.
  • Watch some Halloween family classics together. Get cosy on the sofa together, put on a film, and treat yourself to some sweets!

Bonfire night and coronavirus

  • Host your own celebrations. Put on a mini display with some pet- and garden-friendly fireworks.
  • Make Bonfire Night food. Try an autumn BBQ or jacket potatoes.
  • Find out what’s happening in your area. There may be some socially distanced displays that you can book to watch a bigger fireworks display safely.
  • Do some Bonfire Night art. All you need is black paper, multi-coloured glitter and glue. Get them to design different types of fireworks.
  • Explore your local area. Have a walk in the dark with torches. See if you can spot other people’s firework displays and don’t forget to wrap up warm. Listen to the sounds and smell the bonfires. You could take some glow sticks to make yourself look like a walking firework!

Celebrating your child’s birthday

You can still make birthdays special for your child even if they can’t have a typical birthday party.

  • Have a drive-by birthday parade. Ask friends and family to drive by blowing bubbles and singing ‘Happy Birthday’! Co-ordinate a time for everyone to pass your house. Then, make sure your child is in the right place to see everyone who has come to say ‘happy birthday’.
  • Have a Zoom or Face Time birthday party. Make sure that everyone who is coming has a slice of cake. Think of some games you could play over the video call so you can get the party feeling! Everyone can sing ‘Happy Birthday’ while your child blows out the candles on their cake. You could try hosting a scavenger hunt. Ask everyone on the call to find things in their house: a hat, piece of fruit, a favourite toy. Give points for the first person back with the items.
  • Decorate your house. Make your child feel special using balloons, banners and streamers. Ask friends and family to make and send pictures to add to the decorations so that they can feel part of the celebrations, too.
  • Have a birthday bake off. Decorate cupcakes and see who can make the most show-stopping!
Make a video compilation. If you are good with technology, ask friends and family to send short video clips saying ‘hello’ and ‘happy birthday’. Then, you can edit them together into a video birthday card.
  • Host a video game or Netflix party. For older children, you can make use of the in-built features in some video games or an app like Netflix Party. That way, they can spend time with friends, even if they aren’t in the same room.
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