COVID-19 safe activities to do on Halloween


Photo credit: Ren Rader

Illustration by Ren Rader

Halloween is on a Saturday this year, and while life has changed a lot because of COVID-19, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make the most of Halloween! Here are a few suggestions for fun, active, and most importantly safe ways to spend your Halloween weekend.

Pumpkin Carving

Get your household together and do some pumpkin carving! You can do this inside or outside, but if it’s chilly, make some hot chocolate to keep yourself nice and cozy. Here’s what you’ll need to get carving:

Pumpkins: you can find these at HEB, Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods, and Home Depot.

Knives: a serrated knife to cut off the top or bottom and a smaller sharp knife to carve, or an X-ACTO knife if you have it.

Spoon or ladle to scoop out all the pumpkin guts.

Newspaper or cardboard sheet to lay on the ground because it might get messy.

Permanent or dry erase marker to trace or freestyle designs before you cut.

You can cut off the top or the bottom of the pumpkin, but you might want to try cutting off the bottom if you want to light up the pumpkin. This way, you can place the pumpkin over a candle rather than trying to lower it into the pumpkin. When you are scraping the pumpkin, make sure to get it as clean as possible. This will help keep the pumpkin from rotting for as long as possible.

Don’t forget to save the seeds! You can easily roast them and have a tasty snack. Just separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh. Then, place your seeds in a strainer to run water over them to get them clean. Pat them dry and then put in the oven with butter, salt and pepper! There are a lot of recipes online, but those are the basics.

You can choose a theme for your carving if you want to have a competition. Try movie or TV characters, recreate famous paintings, or try to make the creepiest pumpkin. You can find stencils online and print them on campus if you don’t have a printer at home.

If you don’t want to go through the mess of carving, grab some paint instead. Getting some creative juices going is a great way to celebrate Halloween!

Quidditch Game on the IM Field

Most people are familiar with the game of Quidditch from the Harry Potter series, but this game is actually played in real life! There is even a U.S. Quidditch (USQ) organization that organizes and regulates the sport. It is not sponsored by or associated with J.K. Rowling or Warner Bros. I recommend that you make a memorable Halloween and get out there and play a game of Quidditch.

You can set it up on the Intramural (IM) field, and here’s what you’ll need:

Regulations call for seven players on each side, and since there is some contact, you should probably wear a mask!

A broom to “fly” on. In reality, you run with it between your legs, and this could be an actual broom, a pipe, or just a stick.

Players will need something to distinguish themselves as the keeper, beater, chaser, or seeker within each team. This could be a headband, bandana, or even similar colored masks!

For the snitch, someone should dress up in yellow and wear a shirt or flag tucked into their waist. Twenty minutes into the game, the snitch can start running around, and the seekers will try to take their flag or shirt.

Next, you’ll need hoops for the goals. If you feel like getting after it, you can get hula hoops and rig them to stand up like in the Harry Potter world. Otherwise, you can throw the hoops on the ground for the ball to be placed into. You can also use trash cans to throw the ball into or create a space on the ground as a target.

For balls, use a slightly deflated volleyball — so you can grab with one hand because you have to run with the broom — as the quaffle.

There’s a more in-depth look at the rules, but basically, the chasers — who throw the volleyball — get 10 points for making it in the hoop, and catching the snitch is worth 30 points. The beaters try to knock players out by hitting them with the dodgeball. If a player gets hit, they must run back and touch their own goals before returning to play.

Dress up anyways

Even though it isn’t safe to go to a Halloween party, you can still dress up with your household! This is how my household and I are spending Halloween: we have a theme and will decorate our home and dress up accordingly. You can make food and drinks according to the theme as well.

This is a great way to make a special occasion out of Halloween and break up the same old routine we have all experienced due to COVID-19 safety precautions. If you want to have a competition, you can virtually compete with other households and decide which one did the best!

I know options are limited with Halloween, but it’s important to not dwell on how things aren’t the same but to think of ways to enjoy this new way of life. We all need to stay safe and be conscious of how our actions impact others. Stay safe and happy Halloween!