It’s been a frightful year already but Halloween is almost here. Yes, I know some criticise Halloween as being an imported, commercialised celebration that’s overly fixated on junk food and begging from strangers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to celebrate this spooky holiday which actually has its origins in pagan harvest festivals without spending too much and without the major sugar highs in the middle of a pandemic.
This year, Halloween like everything else has to be adapted for life in the middle of a pandemic. A normal Halloween would have been amazing this year. Not only does Halloween fall on a Saturday but it’s also a full moon as well. However, due to current COVID-19, government health officials are urging people to practice COVIDsafe protocols for Halloween. Whether you’re planning on attending local Halloween events, heading out to go trick or treating or celebrating at home, here are some fun options to celebrate Halloween.
Go out to a Halloween Event
Enjoy a Halloween disco at Megamania on Friday 30 October with a special visit from Scooby Doo and Mike from Monsters Inc. The disco runs from 5pm to 8pm with music, smoke, disco lights and games with prizes. At 6:30pm, the characters arrive for games and photo opportunities. Lucky seat prizes and prize for best dressed. Book online for your family or group or call Megamania on (02) 4923 8700 to book.
Kids World Playland at Stockland Green Hills are having their Annual Halloween Spooktacular Disco on Friday 30th October from 5pm – 7pm. Doors open at 4.30pm. There will be dancing, games and spot prizes! Tickets cost $15 per child for disco entry, or $20 for entry & a kids meal. Purchase either in-store or online.
Get ready for some spooky Halloween fun at Ninja Parc Newcastle on Saturday 31 October from 10am to 5pm! There will be Halloween themed classes, spooky mini games & challenges running all day and prizes for best dressed. Plus use the code HALLOWEEN when you book online to get 10% off casual play bookings all day.
If you dare, visit Jesmond Central for some Halloween fun as you search for the spooky characters hidden around the centre to get your FREE Halloween treat bag! Bookings are essential. Six best dressed local ‘terrors’ will also win a Halloween Radar the Bat Beanie Boo plush toy* plush toy, courtesy of NewsXpress Jesmond Central, so start planning your scariest Halloween costume yet!
Join in for a Spooky Little Trick or Treat at Maitland Riverside Plaza on Saturday 31 October at 10am, 11am, 12pm and 1pm. Celebrate Halloween with a Trick or Treat with little monsters. Each child will receive a free Trick or Treat colouring in bad then go on a spooky trick or treat hunt throughout the Centre. Bookings essential.
Visit Charlestown Square for a day of spook-tacular fun on Saturday 31 October. Between 10am to 5pm you can join the spooky fun with a Trick or Treat adventure. Register your details online and collect your Treasure Map in centre at the Spook Station in Centre Court as you follow the adventure from one store to another collecting loads of candy on the way! Complete the Trick or Treat adventure in Centre Court with face painting and balloon twisting. Plus upload a photo on Instagram at the Spook Station and hashtag #charliehalloween for your chance to win a $250 Charlestown Square Gift Card
Enjoy Halloween at Club Charlestown on Saturday 31 October. There will be prizes for best-dressed adults and children. Book into the bistro and every child will receive a lolly bag. Live music from 8pm and cocktails available from 5pm.
Trick or Treating COVID-style
Trick or treating is going to be different this year. Firstly, no more than 20 people can gather outside in a public place and COVID-19 protocols need to be followed. Here is handy health advice from NSW Health.
COVID-safe tips if you plan to hand out treats
NSW Health recommends:
- If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 over Halloween, stay home, don’t receive Halloween visitors and get tested immediately
- If you are self-isolating, don’t answer the door to trick-or-treaters
- Make it a front-yard event, not at the front-door of your house. Keep your celebrations outdoors and get creative in decorating the front yard
- Only hand out individually wrapped treats
- Don’t use communal lolly bowls. Consider other ways of distributing treats such as hanging them individually on your fence, front gate or up your driveway
- Offer hand sanitiser at your front gate or fence
- You may wish to avoid people knocking on your door by putting up a sign that says “We are home but due to COVID-19, we are distancing. Please take one, Happy Halloween”
- Remember, you can only have 20 people on your property at one time.
COVID-safe tips if you plan to trick or treat
NSW Health recommends:
- If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 this Halloween, stay home and give trick-or-treating a miss this year. Get tested immediately
- Keep it local by staying in your suburb rather than going to well-known “treat streets” that attract crowds
- Celebrate outside, don’t go to people’s front door
- Stay in small household groups (for example a supervising adult and children from the same household) rather than groups of young people together. Remember, no more than 20 people can gather outside in a public place
- Stay 1.5 meters away from people you don’t live with
- Only take treats that are individually wrapped
- Use a disposable bag to collect your treats, and dispose of it appropriately afterwards
- Don’t share your treats with others from different households
- Don’t share costumes or costume face masks
- Carry hand sanitiser with you and use it often, especially after touching common surfaces.
If trick or treating in your neighbourhood is off the table for your family this year, we’ve come up with a list of alternatives.
Do a Trick or Treat Drive By
Still want to trick or treat? Drive over to friends and family in your costumes and pick up or deliver treats in person. It’s an opportunity to dress up the kids and celebrate while still abiding by COVID-19 protocols.
Drop Off Boo Bags
Instead of going around trick or treating, how about doing the reverse. Create a Boo Bag filled with fun Halloween treats and leave it on the doorstep for a friend, family member or neighbour. Ring the doorbell or text and let them know it’s there.
Decorate your house
Get in the Halloween mood and decorate the outside of your house for families to enjoy while they walk or drive by. Make some ghosts, decorate with pumpkins and enjoy the spookiness. You can also decorate rooms in your own home and make your own haunted house for your kids to enjoy.
Take Your Dog for a Halloween Walk
Get your family dressed up in Halloween costumes and take your pet (costume optional) for a walk.
Instead of trick or treating, organise a Halloween hunt in your house and/or backyard. Think Easter Egg Hunt only it’s Halloween. You can buy sweets, stickers, little toys and hide them and then let your kids run around and find them.
Glow in the Dark Hunt
Want to up the fun? Do a Halloween hunt in the dark using glow in the dark items for kids to find. Think glow in the dark necklaces, bracelets, wands, headbands and stickers. You can even buy Elmer’s Glow in the Dark glue to add to existing things you have at home to make them glow.
Organise a small Halloween party at home
Invite a small group of friends or family and celebrate Halloween at home with treats, games, a Halloween parade, a Halloween movie and more. Current NSW regulations limit gatherings. Up to 20 visitors may visit another household at any one time. The total number of visitors includes adults and children.
Zoom Halloween Party
If you would prefer not to have an in-person event, organise a Zoom Party for a big group of kids. Get kids to dress up in their costumes and arrange treats to be delivered beforehand that they can eat together. Organise games like scavenger hunts, Halloween bingo cards or riddles that they can play together while in their own home.
Carve a Pumpkin
This is the year to learn how to carve a Halloween pumpkin. I’ve spotted whole orange pumpkins perfect for carving at my local supermarket. If you don’t want to buy a pumpkin, use oranges. Buy a whole bag of oranges and try carving different expressions into their faces. For younger kids, let them use foam stickies or googly eyes to make fun faces. When you’re finished playing, just cut up the oranges to eat!
Take Halloween photos
Get the whole family dressed up in Halloween costumes and then take some family selfies. Make sure you dress your pet as well.
Halloween Tik Toks
If you’re a Tik Tok family, stay in costume and make some fun Halloween Tik Tok videos. Get your music and dance routines sorted and start filming. How about recreating “Thriller”?
Make your kids work for their candy by filling a pinata with Halloween treats. Let them take turns bashing the pinata until it breaks.
Listen to Halloween Music
Spin the Halloween tunes this year. Whether you’re having a family dance party or a karaoke night, choose from a great selection of music. We’ve put together a Spotify Halloween playlist with some of our favourite songs inspired by Halloween.
Make Halloween Food
Cook with your kids and make some spooky food. Yes, there can be lots of sugary treats available around Halloween but encourage kids to enjoy a few sweets and then switch to some healthy options.
Here’s some creative food options for Halloween listed on the Woolies website including ghost Halloween pizzas, crunchy noodle spiders, Redback Spider Dip and Slimy Swamp Smoothie. On the Coles website, you’ll find mummy sausage rolls, Monster burgers, spooky fruit kebabs, spooky sushi balls and a ghost milkshake.
Halloween Craft & Games
If you prefer to organise a Halloween party at home, jump onto the Newy with Kids Halloween Pinterest board for loads of ideas for crafts and games. There’s lots of ideas including bobbing for apples, donut eating race, costume ideas, Halloween bingo and skeleton puzzles.
Play Stupid Deaths
If you have older kids, play Stupid Deaths, the perfect game for Halloween. In this game, players have to guess whether a stupid death is real or made up. Read Newy with Kids full review.
Watch a Halloween Flick
Spend some spooky family time watching Halloween movies together. You’ll find a selection to choose from on Netflix and Disney+. Some of our favourites include The Addams Family, Beetlejuice, Coco, Corpse Bride, ET, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, Gremlins, Hocus Pocus, Monsters Inc, Scooby Do, The Addams Family, The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Spiderwick Chronicles. Younger kids will enjoy Room on the Broom, Spookley the Square Pumpkin or Super Monsters: Vida’s First Halloween or Dreamworks Spooky Stories. Whatever movie you watch, pair it with some ghoulish green popcorn.
Read Some Halloween Kids Books
For a spooky read on Halloween, here are some page turners.
Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure by Eva Katzler
There’s a monster on the loose, and Florentine and Pig are determined to catch it! And what will they need for their monster-catching expedition? Binoculars? Torch? Super-scrummy supper? CHECK!
Sounds Spooky by Christopher Cheng and illustrated by Sarah Davis
Filled with onomatopoeia this book with a delightfully spooky twist will have young readers listening for those spooky sounds and chanting, ‘What’s that noise that I can hear? I’m not scared!’
The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon by Aaron Blabey
Life is cursed for the townsfolk of Twee. The ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon haunts their every waking hour and they’ve had enough! But then one day, the brave and practical young Herbert Kettle has the most extraordinary idea . . .
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
The witch and her cat fly happily over forests, rivers and mountains on their broomstick until a stormy wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow and wand. They are retrieved by a dog, a bird and a frog, and each animal asks for a ride on the broom. They climb on, one after the next, until the broom is so heavy that it snaps in two! What will happen next as they tumble into a bog and meet a greedy dragon?
What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen by Nick Sharratt
The witch has hidden a trick and a treat in her magical kitchen cupboards! Which one you find depends on how you open the doors. Whether it’s frogspawn or popcorn, lollipops or rabbit plops, there are hilarious rhymes to discover inside in this innovative new novelty book from Nick Sharratt. Age 0+
Mr Tickle and the Scary Halloween by Roger Hargreaves
Ever since Little Miss Scary moved to town, Halloween had become really scary. Scare your pants off scary! But Mr. Tickle has a plan to make this year different – a ticklishly, tricky plan! Watch out little Miss Scary, there’s someone behind you!
Halloween in Christmas Hills by Karen Tayleur and illustrated by Heath McKenzie
This is a very Aussie Halloween book.When Miles Cameron was allowed to go trick or treating for the first time, everyone warned him to stay away from Stingy Jacks house. If only he had listened. Halloween is here to stay! And this book taps into the growing interest Aussie kids have in this holiday. ‘Halloween in Christmas Hills’ reminds people that this holiday is actually Celtic in origin not American. Age 5+
Cats on the Run by Ged Gilmore
Although not strictly a Halloween book, it does contain magic and foul-smelling witches who have abducted the two feline heroes of this story, Will Tuck and Ginger. This chapter book is a funny read for kids aged 8 to 12 or any adults who want a good laugh.
In 2012, Reena founded Newy with Kids to share information about family-friendly Newcastle. Originally from Canada, she had no idea about what to do with her toddler and after searching unsuccessfully for a family guide, decided to start her own. Since that time, both the toddler and Newy with Kids have grown keeping Reena busy. If you see her out and about, say hi.