A Woman and her granddaughter working on a Halloween pumpkin togetherHalloween brings costume parties, neighborhood trick or treating, and decorating our homes. 2020 has put a question mark on all the traditional Halloween festivities. According to the CDC each person should assess current COVID-19 levels in their community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees to any events they may be hosting.

Whether your community is proceeding with events or not, seniors can still enjoy celebrating Halloween. Let’s look at several ideas to help caregivers make Halloween memorable.

Here are some fun ideas if your community is having Trick or Treat:

  • Create a DIY Halloween face mask. Purchase a solid color mask. Use non-toxic markers or felt to create a fun design on the mask. Some ideas include animal faces, creepy grins, or a pumpkin pattern. Be creative and a little bling always looks good!
  • Paint pumpkins to place outside the front door. This can be a fun project many seniors can do with their caregiver or grandchildren. Big DIY Ideas has 76 painted pumpkin ideas.
  • If a senior will be giving out candy, prepare them for what may be different this year. There may be fewer children, or parents may not allow them to go to a senior’s home. Let seniors know that parents may be concerned about potentially exposing high-risk individuals to COVID or the flu. They should not take it personally.
  • Consider a costume for seniors that would use gloves and a mask, such as a doctor or nurse.
  • Put candy in a bowl outside the door and have the senior sitting just inside door to watch the children, see the costumes, and still feel involved in the holiday!

Important Note: For an individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia, confusion and agitation can increase with too much noise, the coming and going of strangers, and costumes can be extremely confusing and even scary.  It may be better not to participate in Trick or Treating and choose something calmer but fun.

If a senior does not want to participate in Treat or Treating, post a sign where it can easily be seen before trick-or-treaters get to the front door. The sign can simply say, “No Trick-or-Treaters, Please”.

If your community is not allowing Trick or Treat or your senior is not participating in a community event:

  • Host a Halloween movie night with the senior’s favorite snack. Halloween type movies are a fun way celebrate the holiday. Here are a few safe and entertaining Halloween movies:
    • The Addams Family
    • Hocus Pocus
    • Ghostbusters
    • Jeepers Creepers
    • Beetlejuice
  • Make Halloween snacks like cookies, tangerines dressed as pumpkins, or ghostly bananas. Grove Menus has 5 Fun and Healthy Halloween Treats!
  • Decorate a bag and put candy in it, creating a “BOO Bag”. Seniors can make a list of people they would like to “BOO”. If possible, caregivers and seniors can deliver the “BOO Bags” together to those on the list. To add more fun, put the bag on the doorstep, ring the doorbell and hide!

Halloween is great for children, but seniors can have fun too! Helping your senior enjoy Halloween to the best of their ability and keeping caregivers and family members safe will make for a memorable Halloween in 2020.

Avatar photo

About Cheryl Hammons CFE, CSA

Cheryl Hammons is an experienced home care professional, published author, and frequent speaker. She has held several roles throughout her 12 years in the home care industry, including training, support, and operations. She currently serves as Strategic Partnership Director at Veterans Care Coordination where she focuses on building value-driven relationships, developing revenue-generating programs, and creating educational materials for home care partner companies. Cheryl is the author of "Embracing a New Normal: Dealing with Grief" and "Respecting Religious Differences in Home Care."