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Get in the spirit of a lockdown Halloween

Halloween at home might feel like a downgrade from the norm, but here’s how you can still celebrate the day and have a ghoul-d time.

Dust off those fake cobwebs (or just leave the real ones up) and get your costumes on, because it’s officially spooky season! Halloween at home might feel like a downgrade from the norm, but here’s how you can still celebrate the day and have a ghoul-d time, while staying socially distant. By Sadia Nowshin

Hold a virtual Halloween party via Messenger

Facebook have joined the virtual party and introduced their own video calling service: Messenger Rooms. To mark the day, they’ve created a whole range of filters to try, in case you log on and realise your costume efforts pale in comparison to everyone else’s. 

They’ve introduced their first virtual haunted house, Dr. Madhaus’ Halloween Mansion, which you can tour with friends. Turn the light out and get spooked from the safety of your living room with immersive 360 backgrounds and perhaps the occasional jump scare or two… 

Self-care, but spooky

If, like me, you’d much rather avoid all the adrenaline of the spooky season, then have a night away from the frights and indulge in some Halloween-themed self-care. 

Lush has a great Halloween collection out right now: I’m a bit of a bath bomb addict so can confidently recommend the Monster’s Ball bath bomb, Punkin’ Pumpkin for those auburn vibes or Bat Art for some very appropriate deep violet hues. Get indulgent and pop on a sheet face mask (the skin care kind, not the one we all associate with ‘face mask’ now) and pretend you’re trying to exude Michael Myers vibes if anyone criticises. 

Sheet masks are everywhere, but are they worth the hype? | The Seattle Times

Try ‘The Mermaid’s Tongue’ 

Described as an experience of “live immersive theatre with the thrill of an escape room”, The Mermaid’s Tongue is inspired by everyone’s sudden morbid obsession with true-crime. You compete in teams of 2-6: perfect for a flat or family activity. Tickets are £15 per person, but reviews so far are glowing. 

Bug out in the garden

Miracle-Gro recommended some great activities to do with kids from the comfort of your own garden. Wrap up warm and go frog-spotting: the easiest way to invite them to your garden is if you have a pond. Create log piles and compost heaps in safe, tucked away areas of the garden or melt a hole in the pond if it’s frozen over already and keep your eyes peeled for any hopping around at night. 

If finding frogs is a bit of a jump, build a bug B&B: stick some wooden pallets or boxed together to make different ‘floors’ (or keep it to a bungalow) and add materials like dead wood, straw, hay, dry leaves and loose bark. Place it in an area where it’ll get both any sunlight and some shade, and where it’ll be protected from any heavy rain. Leave it for a day or two to let any tenants move in and then have a gentle poke at the piles you’ve made to discover the critters 🐛

Get baking

Halloween cupcakes recipe - BBC Good Food

Embrace the opportunity to bake delicious things that look a bit grim…

  • Spider cookies: Bake a batch of cookies and once they’re cool, dip a giant chocolate button or Malteser in a tiny bit of melted chocolate and pop it on top. Source some black squeezy icing (which you can usually find in little tubes in any supermarket’s baking section) or spoon the melted chocolate into an icing bag and create some spindly legs off the Oreo for some very realistic spider interpretations 🕷️
  • Monster cupcakes: Bake some cupcakes and make a batch of buttercream icing. Divide the icing into different bowls and mix in Halloween-themed food colouring. Spoon each colour into a separate icing bag and get piping on some spooky faces 👻  Make it into a competition and at the end, just before you cave in and have a bite, take a vote on the best design! 

Adapt the trick or treat

With the current restrictions, it’s probably best not to do the traditional door-to-door approach this year. Instead, think up new ways to adapt the trick or treating experience…

  • Bring the community together. 15-year-old Ben in Wiltshire created a website where his neighbours could ‘sign-up’ for Halloween, so everyone knows exactly where they can find the spooky sights. While it might be too late to get a whole website sorted, if you have a community Facebook group then post a suggestion for everyone who has decorations up to drop their address in: if treats aren’t available, take your own and offer kids a sweet for every haunted house they can spot. 
  • Marvellous Greens and Beans, in London, have set up a mini trick or treat route in their shop, with themed treats to give out for particularly impressive costumes. Check if anywhere near you is doing something similar!
  • Rain checks. If the weather isn’t great, then hide sweets around the house and have a spooky treasure hunt 👀