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Great Ideas for Risk-Free Halloween Fun

pumpkinsThough everyone is wearing a mask, this Halloween will be like none other. New York State has issued guidelines for celebrating Halloween and trick or treating comes with many warnings. The state advises against taking treats that are handed out at the door or picking up treats from a bowl that may have been handled by others. They advise against being in crowds outside or at indoor parties and gatherings.

Instead of traditional trick or treating they are recommending that people celebrate Halloween with the people who live in their own households, in other words, make your own fun. Some alternatives that are recommended are home decorating, pumpkin carving, watching spooky movies or conducting a scavenger hunt. Since this may take a little effort, here is a list of ideas that you can enjoy at home:

Costume ContestDSC02536

The Village of Scarsdale is hosting a costume contest and is encouraging residents to email photos to the judges. The photos will be posted on the Village website and shared with the media. Gift certificates to local businesses will be awarded to the winners.

Here are instructions from the Village on how to participate:

"Your costume can be as an individual or as a family Feel free to include pets, props, backgrounds, or whatever you think you need to make the best costume you can! Costumes must be current (no reusing old photos!) No photo manipulation is allowed (stay away from filters & photoshop.) There are no age limits. All costumes will be judged on creativity. Entry is free and easy. Simply email your photo(s) to by Wednesday, October 28."

Pet Costume Contest

Dress up your favorite pooch, cat, gerbil, or family pet for Halloween. Take a picture and send it to Costumed pet photos will be featured on

Scavenger Hunt

Have the family collaborate on a list of things to find for a scavenger hunt in and around the house. Then swap lists with a friend with similarly aged children. Time yourselves to see which family finds the items on the list first. Alternatively, parents can put together a list of clues and the kiddoes can go hunting around the neighborhood. And if you are a little short on time, Scarsdale Pack 440 has put together a family scavenger hunt that weaves through Greenacres and the Village. Clues can be found here. Submit your answers by November 1st to for a chance to win a gift card donated by Learning Express.

Spooky Tales
If you are looking for something a little out of this world, check out the Intrepid’s Spooky Planetarium (Ages 5–15)  on Thursday, October 29, 3:00-5:00 pm. Witches and spiders and ghosts… in space! Discover eerie creatures lurking in the night sky as the Intrepid explores the astronomical origins of Halloween and shares a few haunting tales of unexplained phenomena witnessed by astronauts.

Online Scavenger HuntUnknown

If your family is itching to get out of the house, and even out of town, check out Haunted Tales, the online Halloween scavenger hunt offered by Watson Adventures, $19 per participant (appropriate for ages 10 and up). It will take you from Coast to Coast virtually in the course of an hour. You can have a team of up to 6 people in the public hunts, and your team members can be in different locations. (Note there must be an adult participant and interaction with other teams is limited to the opening and conclusion of the hunt.) Or, if you have enough friends you can also set up your own private hunt. Click here to find out more. 

Reverse Trick or Treat

Two Edgemont boys came up with an idea for a Reverse Trick or Treat Safe Halloween to make Halloween 2020 safe—and raise money for American Red Cross Covid relief. Peyton Levine and Ryan Stuzin are encouraging you to give to the Red Cross and get a complimentary bag of candy. To participate, email your name, address and how many children you would like treats for to: Red Cross asks for $10 but accepts whatever you can afford. On Halloween, a bag of candy will be delivered to your door and you can make your contribution. Supplies are limited. RSVP by Friday October 30 at noon.

Movie Night

Hold an outdoor Halloween movie night. Have individually wrapped spooky treats and single serve drinks at your “concessions” stand. Use x’s (or body outlines like in a crime scene if you have a steady hand) to mark where guests can park their chairs/blankets.

For added fun, send each guest the name of a product or service for which they can shoot their own Halloween-themed commercial. You can air these before the main attraction.

If you’re looking for Halloween content, Historic Hudson Valley has produced two new short films, The Misadventures of Ichabod Crane and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: A Shadow Puppet Film that will stream free to audiences this Halloween

Historic Hudson Valley has reimagined Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with two new interpretations debuting this fall, The Misadventures of Ichabod Crane and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: A Shadow Puppet Film. These two new short films will stream as a double feature for free on Historic Hudson Valley’s Facebook page on Oct. 31 starting at 3pm, giving families across the country a chance to experience Halloween in Sleepy Hollow Country.

IchabodCraneThe Misadventures of Ichabod Crane, featuring Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk, adapts Historic Hudson Valley’s Irving’s ‘Legend’ event for at-home viewing. Filmed in Sleepy Hollow’s Old Dutch Church, this dramatic performance immerses audiences in Washington Irving’s legendary tale and is recommended for ages 6 and up.

“When Historic Hudson Valley invited me to collaborate with storyteller Jonathan Kruk on an adaptation of Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,’ my goals were to translate his wonderful one-man show into cinematic form, capture the excitement of live performance, and bring a touch of strangeness,” said Guido Jiménez-Cruz, director and co-writer of The Misadventures of Ichabod Crane. “Beyond the original text, I looked for inspiration in the candid magic of theatre and the simplicity of early cinema.”

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: A Shadow Puppet Film is an enchanting, family-friendly adaptation featuring the artistic wizardry of author-illustrator David Hyde Costello and the spellbinding voice of poet Malik Work. Featuring music by Costello and cellist Wayne Smith, this all-ages film blends the ancient art of shadow puppetry with Irving’s classic American ghost story.

"These films represent an exciting extension of HHV's mission to share the history and culture of the Hudson Valley in innovative and accessible ways," President Waddell Stillman said. "'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' is a story with universal appeal, and we are delighted to mark its 200th anniversary with two equally visionary but very different cinematic versions of Washington Irving's classic."

"Sleepy Hollow is usually crowded with visitors looking for a glimpse of the Headless Horseman at this time of year," added Elizabeth L. Bradley, Vice President for Programs and Engagement. "These exciting short films provide us with fresh ways to share the mystery and magic of the spooky season with audiences of all ages, all over the world."

Both films are also available on-demand on Historic Hudson Valley’s YouTube channel.

Virtual Trick or Treat for Unicef


UNICEF USA has launched a Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF virtual experience. In honor of the 70th anniversary of this iconic, American tradition, this year’s initiative will be comprised of fun, digital and interactive experiences all while teaching children the importance of giving back and fundraising for a socially distanced Halloween.

Parents and teachers can register and create an online profile by visiting where they will receive a Virtual Collection Box with a customized link and QR code. By participating in fun activities and watching educational videos, children will earn Trick-or-Treat Coins that add up to real-life donations. As coins are collected, children will be able to say where they would like their earnings to go, empowering them and connecting their efforts to positive impact for children around the world.

Do you have Halloween ideas? Please share them in the comments section below or email them to

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