In the eighties and nineties, trick-or-treating was something Aussie kids only ever saw in Hollywood movies. However, as the generations progressed and the desire for free candy grew, enough kids were able to pester their parents that it (begrudgingly) became an Aussie tradition too.
In one of the most adorable heists in history, the children of the 2010s forced an entire nation of adults to bend to their will and give them free (individually wrapped) chocolates and lollies, just for knocking on doors in cute costumes.
Many adults complained about this "Americanisation." However, the events of 2020 have left us all wishing we could enjoy a holiday together without fear of infection (even if it meant stocking up on fun-size chocolates and scrubbing grubby hand-prints off your door the next day).
Sadly, trick-or-treating and crowded Halloween parties aren't the safest idea during a pandemic. However, that doesn't mean you can't use the magical, otherwordly vibes of Halloween to inject some lightheartedness back into your life.
The following five activities are as affordable as they are fun, and they can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Transform your home into a Halloween wonderland
If you're a horror movie fan, you could go for a haunted house, if you're into creepy video games then Resident Evil or The Last of Us might offer worthy theme ideas. For those with young kids in the house, a Hogwarts makeover might be more suitable.
Choose your theme and then explore Amazon, op shops, and your own junk cupboard for decorations. I know it sounds like it'll cost a lot to transform your home, but I've turned a two-story house into an ultraviolet voodoo cave on a broke student budget before. So, whatever theme you have in mind, it can be done without draining your bank account.
Fake spiderweb is cheap and goes a long way. And old kid's toys can be made to look super creepy if you get a bit creative with them. We pulled apart a bunch of old dolls and put them in jars with water and food colouring.
You can also keep things simple and just decorate a single Halloween room; which leads us nicely into the next point.
Build a blanket fort (even if you don't have kids)
If you're not feeling a full Halloween makeover, consider constructing an epic blanket fort in the living room. Make sure the TV is nestled inside and then have a cosy Halloween movie marathon.
Don't write this activity off if you don't have kids in your household. The joy of adult blanket fort construction is surprisingly powerful. You may even find yourself unwilling to take your cosy creation down until it really starts getting in the way!
If you're not yet convinced, a friend and I constructed one in our room when we were living at a Buddhist school in India. The other students soon heard about it and it became the favourite spot for everyone to study.
The best part about the first two Halloween ideas is that you will have just as much fun creating them as you will enjoying the finished product. As a bonus, they also offer the perfect backdrop for the next activity.
Create an epic Halloween scavenger hunt
This is another activity that's just as fun to create as it is to participate in. Depending on the age of the people who'll be taking part, you can keep it simple or go all out with cryptic clues to find and follow.
If you never get the place to yourself, you can create your scavenger hunt secretly but in plain sight. Simply hide the clues and treats around the house (and garden, if you have one) while you're decorating.
Nothing makes a house feel warmer and more inviting than the smell of fresh-baked pies, cakes, or cookies. If you're feeling a bit stir-crazy from being stuck at home so much in 2020, this is the perfect way to revive your love for the place that shelters you. It's also a wonderful way to celebrate Halloween in a safe and socially distanced way.
This can be done with your family in real life or with friends in a virtual party. It also scales easily for age, with adults competing to genuinely disturb each other and kids just aiming for some fun that will still allow them to sleep in their own beds that night!
The way you go about your scary story competition will depend on you and the people participating. Creative souls may wish to write their own hair-raising tales, while those who are strapped for time or don't fancy writing can hit the internet in search of spine-tingling short stories to share.
Pro tip: If you save your story on your smartphone and read it in the dark, the device will cast a spooky glow on your face.