When Halloween fell on a cold, nasty night, Abby Slutsky used to plan a candy hunt for her children.
Today, I went food shopping, and the candy aisle was full of fun-size treats hoping to tempt shoppers to make early purchases for Halloween. Perhaps, if they are lucky, shoppers will buy the treats and eat more than usual since they are spending more time at home. However, there is also a good chance that the candy will sit on the shelves until the last minute or not be purchased at all. Nevertheless, children anticipate and look forward to Halloween, and parents don't want them to be disappointed.
In past years, your children probably went house-to-house collecting candy. Given the masks featured in many Halloween costumes, it could seem like the perfect holiday to celebrate during a pandemic. I envision a surplus of physicians going through the neighborhood in gowns and extra coverage masks if they can find them. However, some pre-teens may pass on trick-or- treating this year, and many parents of young children are likely to want to forego taking them trick-or-treating this Halloween. Fortunately, your young children can still enjoy the holiday without exposing themselves to a lot of people by trick-or-treating.
Let your children have a candy treasure hunt in their own home or backyard. They can enjoy the thrill of collecting their favorite candy, chow down on their stash, and stay socially distant at the same time. Creating a candy treasure hunt at home will delight your children without risking their safety or the safety of others. Read on to learn how to create a fabulous Halloween evening without leaving your home or backyard.
Overview of Creating a Candy Hunt
Creating a candy hunt is not difficult, but you will need to plan ahead so the activity goes smoothly. Before the Halloween candy hunt, do some activities to help your children anticipate the fun. Here are some steps to build your children's excitement and create the hunt.
- Make or choose a costume.
- Create a candy bag, pillowcase, or bucket to collect treats.
- Tell your children about the candy hunt.
- Decide where to have the candy hunt.
- Hide and keep track of where you hide the candy.
- Plan an after-hunt Halloween activity to do while your children eat their treats.
1. Make or Choose a Costume
Selecting a costume will help your child anticipate the holiday. Browse costumes online with your children to see what appeals to them. Alternatively, scrounge around your house to create a no-sew costume that takes very little work. Here are some ideas.
Simple and Free Halloween Costume Ideas
- A white sheet can help your child become a ghost or a Roman prince.
- You can pair a cowboy hat with jeans, a flannel shirt, and a vest.
- Athlete costumes are easy, and you probably have a bat, hockey stick, football, or tennis racket.
- Your child can wear striped overalls and be a conductor.
- They can wear a whistle and sweatpants to be a gym teacher.
- They can wear a blazer and carry a briefcase to be a traveling salesman.
- If you have a moving box, cut out armholes and a hole in the top for your child’s head. Print out a large picture of a computer screen on your printer and affix it to the front of the box to make your child a computer.
2. Decorate a Bag, Pillowcase, or Bucket for Collecting Treats
Whether you use an old pillowcase, paper bag, or bucket, decorating the container will help build excitement for the Halloween candy hunt. Make paper decorations to glue on a bucket, print labels to stick on a bag, or decorate a pillowcase with paint or markers.
Decorate a pillowcase or bucket by using free Halloween stencils. Another idea is to tie-dye a pillowcase black or orange. Try cutting out free printables to glue on a paper bag. If your child likes to draw, you can also use markers to draw or paint Halloween designs on a bag or bucket.
3. Tell Your Children About the Candy Hunt
Telling your child about the candy treasure hunt will give them time to anticipate the activity. Ask them to identify three or four favorite kinds of candy that they would like to find. Shop for candy early so the store has the treats your child wants. You may want to show your child circulars of different candy if they are unsure of the types they want.
4. Decide Where to Have the Candy Hunt
Do you want to have the candy hunt outside or indoors? If the children go outside, it may make the activity feel more similar to past Halloween evenings when the kids were outside collecting candy. However, children will need light to find the candy. If your children are very young, they may not be able to hold a flashlight while they look for the sweets. If you have the candy hunt during the day, chocolate may melt in the sun.
If the candy hunt is inside, you will have more time to hide the treats because you will not have to worry about animals or bugs finding the candy. You can hide the candy in a few rooms or all over the house. Light will not be an issue, so your children are unlikely to trip or get lost in the dark.
5. Hide and Keep Track of the Candy
You really do not want stray, unfound candy around your house. There are a few ways to avoid this:
- Make a clue for each piece of hidden candy, so the children are led to it. If you do this, put a clue next to each piece of candy that the children find. Alternatively, use ready-made clues that will work for most households. Stick a small treasure chest or a Halloween story near the last piece to signify the end of the hunt.
- If they are old enough, ask your children to write down where they found each piece. (Keep a master list, so you can retrieve any pieces they did not find.)
- Keep track of where you put each piece of candy, and check the area after the hunt is over for stray pieces.
6. Plan an After-Hunt Activity to Do While They Eat Their Stash
Here are several ideas for a post candy hunt activity:
- Play Halloween music and have a dance contest.
- Curl up on the sofa, watch a Halloween movie, and let the kids enjoy their candy.
- Read a Halloween story.
- Carve or paint a pumpkin.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Abby Slutsky
Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on August 18, 2020:
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comment.
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 18, 2020:
This is a great idea. It's even adaptable for those who have no backyard to hide things in by having it indoors. Hopefully, the kids will be sated by the candy even if they can't go out trick or treating. I have a hub on creating little paper lanterns that the kids could make and spread around the house or outside. You can check out my hub at: http://hub.me/ajFYY
Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on August 16, 2020:
Thanks for reading.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 16, 2020:
I think many parents consider it too dangerous for their children to go anywhere on Halloween. Your suggestions are a good alternative for them, Abby.
Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on August 15, 2020:
Thanks for reading. I just put this up a few minutes ago. I did it once or twice when my children were little, and we did not want to talk them out in the rain.
Liza from USA on August 15, 2020:
Great ideas, Abby. I think we all excited about Haloween because of candies, decorations, and getting costumes. I wonder if Haloween will be the same this year. However, your tips on how to create a candy hunt are fun and creative! Thanks for sharing.