JOHNSTON: Quaran-themed Halloween family fun night

In true 2020 fashion, many families may be reconsidering celebrating Halloween as they have in the past. 

For instance, many families may not feel comfortable with the door-to-door trick-or-treating as is the norm. 

Similarly, the neighborhood parties may be wrapped up like a mummy and laid to rest until next year (which makes me very sad, since I was a neighborhood party spot). 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a Quaran-themed Halloween Fun Night with the family.

Here are a few ideas that could lead to one frightfully fun evening.


Pumpkin decorating

Make this a fun experience whether you use real pumpkins or a coloring sheet with a pumpkin on it. 

Depending on the age and ability of your family members, you can choose to carve or just color the most original design you can conjure. 

When decorating paper pumpkins, use craft supplies and glue to really beckon your creative juices. I’ve also seen people post them on social media for friends to vote (make sure you use criteria that makes everyone win something, i.e. cutest, scariest, etc.) 

If your children are older, perhaps you provide a theme such as favorite movie title or actress, sports pumpkin, off-season (so making a snowman using pumpkins).

There is also a Pumpkin Palooza event happening this year. There are two ways to enjoy it. 

If you feel like carving a pumpkin and don’t mind it being displayed (and not returned to you), you can drop off your carved pumpkin at the Extension Office between Oct. 26-28. Once it has been returned, it will show back up on Halloween night lining Main Street along with many other glowing pumpkins. You can then drive down Main Street and look at all the cool community pumpkins.


Dress the part

Dressing up is oftentimes the most fun part of Halloween (besides the candy of course). 

There are several opportunities to show off your costume other than door-to-door. 

The Winchester Trick or Treat Trails offers a safe alternative to going door-to-door while still getting to show off your costume and get some treats. It will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 31 at College Park, Legacy Grove and Heritage Park (pick one or go to all three!). 

This event will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for social distancing and face covering requirements. 

There are also several trunk or treats happening around town.

If you’re still not ready to go out and about, though, another idea is to have everyone in your family wear their costume one night to dinner. Each member can then introduce themselves (in character) to the other members. Perhaps you include an entire theme for the dinner and assign costumes or characters well in advance. You can also give a report about your costume at dinner, like fun facts about who they are or why they chose it.


Scavenger hunt

I have driven around town lately, and I am loving the Halloween decorations. They work great for having a scavenger hunt. 

You can walk around town or even drive and see if you can find certain items (like bats, witches or pumpkins). You can make up your own list or you can run by the Extension Office and grab a Quaran-themed Halloween bag with a scavenger hunt list (and other goodies, like a candy corn craft, puzzles and sweet treats). These bags are available all week. Just run by and they will be outside ready for you to grab (unless it’s raining, you may have to come inside to grab it).


Don’t let 2020 scare you out of celebrating safely. If you would like more ideas on quaran-themed Halloween activities or creating other family fun traditions, feel free to reach out to the Clark County Cooperative Extension. And if you feel comfortable, come out the Winchester Trick or Treat Trails for some great community fun and to see your favorite family and consumer sciences agent.


Shonda Johnston is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 859-744-4682 or by email at