Stay home, safe with these Halloween alternatives

Illustration by Lauren Johnson

Claire Darcy, Contributing Writer

A full moon will rise Saturday, bringing along a Halloween like no other. It’s important to stay healthy this weekend by finding creative ways to enjoy the holiday safely from home.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend avoiding traditional celebrations, such as trick-or-treating, attending parties or visiting a haunted house. A full list of COVID-19 guidelines is available on the organization’s website. 

Despite this year’s obstacles, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween from the comfort of your living room. 


Attend a virtual Halloween event

VCU’s student-led variety show, “No Shame,” will host “Spooky No Shame,” which includes a costume contest and an array of student acts. The free show will be broadcasted on the group’s YouTube and Facebook pages at 8 p.m on Oct. 30. 

Historic St. John’s Church will host “Fancy Me Mad” during Halloween weekend. Actors will recount the lives of historic Richmonders, including Revolutionary War surgeon James McClurg, scholar and judge George Wythe, and writer Edgar Allan Poe. The actor portraying Poe will perform a reading of the author’s stories. Tickets to stream or download the video are $10 and available on the church’s website


Host a virtual costume fashion show

Although going out to flaunt your costume is out of the question this year, one of the CDC’s recommendations is to have a virtual costume contest. Gather your friends for a video call to walk a virtual runway wearing your Halloween best. For an added layer of fun, assign superlatives, like “best makeup” or “most creative.” Try dressing as a favorite celebrity or stick with a classic go-to, such as a pirate or vampire. 


Prepare Halloween-themed treats

Halloween provides the opportunity to try out even the most monstrous of recipes. For the less adventurous in the kitchen, a box of ready-to-bake cookies from the grocery store does the trick. 

For those who like a challenge, make “mummy dogs” by wrapping hot dogs in strips of crescent dough to create a bandaged look. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. To give the mummies personality, add a face with mustard and fake blood with ketchup. 

For a vegetarian alternative, use jalapeno poppers. To make these “mummy poppers,” cut jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise and fill with cream cheese and Mexican-blend shredded cheese. Wrap the poppers in crescent dough bandages and bake until golden brown. Add edible googly eye candies to give the snack an eerie look. 


Watch a seasonal movie or TV show

Halloween treats pair well with cozy pajamas and something thrilling to watch.

“American Horror Story” and “Supernatural” are binge-worthy series filled with monsters and ghosts — both are available on Netflix and Hulu. “The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror” collection, available on Disney+, is more lighthearted.

To complete your list of Halloween flicks, check out “Five spooky Halloween movies for the faint of heart” from last week’s issue of The Commonwealth Times or read Grace McOmber’s horror movie listicle in this week’s issue.


Read scary stories

Turn off the lights and bring out the candles — battery-powered, if you’re in a dorm — to set the tone for a spooky evening of ghost stories, either exchanged with a friend or taken from a favorite author. Alvin Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series is sure to send a chill down your spine, as well as works by Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King and Shirley Jackso

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