Halloween feels a little extra scary this year. Trick or Treating during a pandemic brings a whole new set of challenges, leading many families to opt to stay home instead. It’s a year of alternate celebrations, and we’re here for it! See below for 5 spooky ideas to help you get your sugar rush safely this year.

(Side note – In full disclosure, I’m not great at Halloween. I’m envious of people who can brainstorm clever costume ideas and create spooky themed menus, but I’m just not one of them. Luckily, my sister Alexa is one of those extra festive holiday people and lets me mooch off her efforts. She also takes great pictures after she plates her baked goodies on my tiered stands—how lucky is that? So these ideas are actually courtesy of her, and it is my sisterly duty to give her credit.)

Cat eyeing Halloween cupcakes Cat cupcakes orange and black for halloween

This year, Alexa’s new cat Fred got involved in pre-Halloween festivities—he seems disturbed by the cupcake resemblance.

Whether you’re looking to “up your Halloween game” or want a few ideas for safely celebrating All Hallow’s Eve during this already pretty terrifying year, there’s still time to get in the spirit! Here are a few suggestions that the festive people around me have been buzzing about:


1. Baking and decorating sugar cookies & seasonal cupcakes

    Whether or not you have little ones around, cookie decorating is a perfect Halloween project. Think of it as art therapy on a sugar high and who would reject that right about now?

    Like most projects worth doing, you can’t just roll out of a bed and decide to make these , you’ll want to make sure you have the cookie cutters, food coloring, piping bags, etc. Basically, it’s somewhat of a production, so buckle up and commit so you have what you need when you get started.

    Halloween cookies on 2-tier cake stand The Brooklyn Teacup  Autumn cupcakes on 2-tier vintage china cake stand The Brooklyn Teacup

    I can’t decorate cookies to save my life and totally lack the patience. There, I said it. However, I LOVE watching other people do it and have spent many a late night going down the Youtube and IG rabbit holes watching decorating videos.

    My favorite cookie decorating accounts to follow that also do amazing tutorials are:


    2. Pumpkin carving – roast the seeds!

      Again, the artistic or artistically inclined can really get into this activity. In 2016, days before election, I remember seeing a pumpkin carved with Donald Trump’s face on a Brownstone stoop in Brooklyn Heights. I remember laughing, blissfully unaware of what was to come and thinking,  “wow, that would be truly terrifying!” I also gave serious stoop cred (that has to be a thing, right?) to the Trumpkin carver.

      You can get as serious as you want with this. The best bet for a perfectly carved pumpkin is to use a stencil. Check out Better Homes & Gardens for 39 Free Pumpkin Stencils for Your Best Jack-o'-Lanterns Yet

      As for carving basics itself, head out on over to this free tutorial from The Kitchn.

      Just remember, don’t throw away the seeds!! Especially if you have kids, let them have fun separating seeds from the flesh. Then, toss and roast the seeds in olive oil and salt to enjoy on their own, or sprinkle over salads. We always cracked them to get the kernel inside, but I’ve learned that you can eat the seeds whole if you roast them until they’re extra crispy.

      3. Make a candy wreath!

        When I was a kid, we used to make them with tootsie rolls and jolly ranchers, but you can easily make a candy wreath with out of many kinds of candy so long as they have a twisted wrapper on both ends. Check out this YouTube DIY Candy Wreath tutorial by Yourself for helpful tips. It’s easy and just another fun way to make your home feel festive whenever you enter.


        4. Have a Halloween dinner at home with your pod/quaranteam/quarantine squad!

        Just for grownups? Embrace fall feels with a seasonal tablescape, complete with multicolored leaves, acorns, pumpkins, candle sticks holders and tall colored candle sticks.

        There's a ton of inspiration on Pinterest - see here and here to get started.

        Have kids involved? Incorporate art projects, sprinkle the table with candy corn, used a festive tablecloth.

        5. Watch a Halloween Movie


        Not than any of us needs more screen time these days, but I had to have “Watch a Scary Movie” as a suggestion on my list of Covid-safe Halloween activities. Taking the time to sit and watch a movie together counts as a sweet treat, right?

        The truth is that I’m not actually into scary/horror movies. I’m super jumpy and end up needing to cover my eyes and then miss major plot points.

        But I do have a special place in my heart for classic favorites from my childhood. Some of the movie's I'll be enjoying this year are:

        • The Witches
        • Hocus Pocus
        • Beetle Juice
        • Addams Family (and of course Addams Family Values)
        • Ghostbusters
        • Casper
        • The Nightmare Before Christmas

        In anticipation for the new Witches movie starring Anne Hathaway & Octavia Spencer, I recently re-watched the ‘90s version (based on the iconic children’s book by Roald Dahl starring Angelica Huston) and it was just as fantastic as I remembered it. So, go watch that, and get ready for the remake—which I’ll certainly plan to watch when it comes out, hopefully with cookies or cupcakes that someone else makes for me. 😊


        There we have it. My top 5 recommendations for celebrating Halloween, 2020-style. Like everything else about this year, Halloween is going to feel different, no matter what festive new rituals we add, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get into the holiday spirit.

        What do you have in store for this year? Or, not planning to do anything this year? Share a pre-Covid Halloween memory that you miss and/or plan to go back to post-Covid.

        {My personal favorite Halloween memories revolved around counting up all the trick or treat candy my sisters and I had collected after dumping our “loot” onto our kitchen table. After counting, we would enter into serious strategic trading, with my goal ultimate goal being to accumulate the maximum number of Snickers, Kitkats and Reese’s peanut butter cups.}


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