During a normal year, Halloween might be one of the first party holidays at most colleges; but with social distancing restrictions in most states and strict rules on campus, college students might feel hopeless about celebrating Halloween. Since most college students aren’t interested in trick-or-treating, having house parties are a common method of celebrating the spooky holiday. 

While 2020 is a year of social distancing, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and celebrate Halloween as a college student. Avoiding parties is advisable, but there are some great alternatives below.

Pumpkin Carving Contest – Whether you have roommates or you’re living with your family, you can participate in a fun holiday tradition of carving pumpkins! Each pumpkin is between $5 and $12, depending on the size, and some carving tools are only a few dollars extra if you don’t own some. With your roommates and family members, you can have a contest of who has the best pumpkin design. If you cannot socialize with your friends, you can do this contest via Zoom and each carve your own pumpkins in your own home. 

Costume Contest – Have a contest via Zoom to see who has the best halloween costume this year. Our office is even doing this contest with some gift card prizes! If the weather is good, you can have this contest outdoors with social distancing — just remember that costume masks do not replace regular cloth/PPE masks.

DIY Decorations – Break out your arts and crafts and decorate your house! Make your indoor and outdoor spaces haunted for Halloween. Dollar stores have cheap decorations and materials to really make your decor spooky. You can even challenge your neighbors (in the dorm or neighborhood) to a porch decorating contest.

NetflixParty – Watch a classic Halloween movie on NetflixParty with your friends. Pop your own popcorn and grab some candy corn for a horror or holiday-themed film. My personal favorites are Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas

Halloween Feast – Prepare sinister dinner with Halloween themes. Even the fall favorite pumpkin spice can make an appearance in one of your dishes! Any kind of soup can be labeled as “witch’s brew” and you can even make finger foods to make it easy to grab a bite for your roommates or family. 

Apple Picking – Apple cider is one of my favorite autumn drinks and I’ve always loved going apple picking at local farms. If your region has apple orchards or farms, you can take advantage of the fresh harvests in the fall even before Halloween.

Halloween Playlist – Do you have some favorite eerie songs? Create a playlist and listen while studying or just hanging out. Don’t forget to include the classic “Monster Mash” song!

Tarot Card Reading – You and your close group of friends or roommates can try your hand at Tarot card readings. Find out what’s in store for your future beyond the insanity of 2020!

Whether or not you celebrate Halloween is up to you, but just know that there are many different ways that you can during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wishing you a spook-tacular Halloween!