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Decor & Design FYI

5 Ways to Make (Socially Distant) Memories That Last: Halloween Edition

halloween doorstep decor lights and ghosts

2020 has been a roller coaster ride for just about everybody. As this incredibly difficult year draws to a close, it's natural that our minds are delighted to turn to the celebrations and traditions of the holidays. But with widespread uncertainty about how those holidays each might play out and what restrictions – if any ­– might be in place, it's frankly hard to plan much of anything.

That's where CubeSmart comes in!

We're pulling together a series of articles about making memories that last – even when our holidays are different than any of us have ever experienced before.

First on the list? Well Halloween, of course, and all the spooky days leading up to it. Keep reading for our suggestions and advice about how to build safe, healthy, and fun Halloween traditions that will last well after this year is over.

1. Halloween Costumes to Delight…and Terrify!

What's Halloween without a truly killer costume? While mask requirements have been hard for some to adjust to in day-to-day life, Halloween is the one time of year when people actually want to cover their faces so take advantage of it. One great idea we've seen is to pick a costume that actually incorporates a mask or helmet (such as a SCUBA diver, astronaut, or Darth Vader). Another is to buy or create a cloth mask with the mouth of a character or animal on it and build the costume from there. Trust us, you and your kids will have a blast with this one. Use gems with sticky backings, markers, stickers, ribbons, or pieces of fabric to create and customize just the right look. Everyone will feel special and stay safe. Win-win!

darth vader mask

Of course, a Michael Meyers mask would do the trick as well – and probably guarantee quite a bit of social distancing wherever you go. But if you decide on the traditional Halloween mask route, be sure to wear your normal cloth mask underneath (as the CDC makes very clear in its guidance about the holiday season).

One last clever idea to consider is actually building a costume around a person to provide a protective layer. Think snow globes, Pac-Man, mummies, the Michelin man – you get the picture. Just make sure you have adequate airflow.

2. Socially Distant Décor

halloween decor spider webs and spiders

While trick or treating as we have always known it sounds like an impossibility for Halloween 2020, seasonal décor and home decorations are quickly stepping in to fill the gap. After all, a house decorated with care for the holidays can be enjoyed by the entire community from afar.

Many of our CubeSmart customers have been visiting their contact-free storage spaces – and retail shops – starting in early fall to grab glow-in-the-dark skeletons, foam graveyard markers, giant spiderwebs, and anything else that would make a big impact on passersby. Others tell us they're taking a budget approach this year and creeping out their houses on the cheap. Favorite ideas we've heard involve spray can spider webs, spooky scarecrows made of old clothes stuffed with newspaper, and ghosts made of balloons and gauzy fabric hanging in the trees.

Get your neighbors on board and have a challenge for who can decorate their house the best, or who can incorporate a certain decoration piece the best into their scene. For example, everyone must incorporate a cauldron. Then everyone in the neighborhood can have a chance to vote and the winner gets the [insert your neighborhood here] Halloween Cup. Keep the tradition going year after year and pass the cup.

Of course, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to sufficiently spookify your space is to carve a jack o'lantern – preferably from your own homegrown pumpkin as store or farm bought ones can get pretty pricey. Then again, if you're looking for historical accuracy with your carvings, consider the smaller and much cheaper turnip, potato, or beet as the UK and Irish inventors of the practice liked to use. (Please, please, please tag @CubeSmart on Instagram if you are inspired to make a jack o'lantern out of a root vegetable! We would love to see it.) 

3. Outdoor Entertainment

tombstone in cemetery at dusk

Halloween is a great time to take advantage of the fleeting days of being able to comfortably entertain outdoors. Given that it's recommended we don't congregate inside this holiday season, we might not have much of a choice – but it's still a fun opportunity to get a couple of folks together for some outdoor excitement.

One of the best ideas we've heard for outdoor entertainment this Halloween came from a CubeSmart customer who keeps her 12-foot projection screen in her storage space. She normally hangs it on the side of her garage through the summer for low-key gatherings to watch old favorites and new releases alike. For Halloween, she's planning on building a backyard fire, providing marshmallows and other sweet treats, and playing the classic spookfest Rosemary's Baby on the big screen for her family and a few close friends.

If movies aren’t your thing, fall weather is still perfect for a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt or even a nighttime walk through the local cemetery. Creeeeepy! Whatever you do, don't forget to keep a safe distance from others – dead or undead.

4. Homegrown Hangout

Though we've all spent a bit more time at home than we normally do in the past year, it's still just about the safest place to be in terms of keeping isolated from germs. If you've decided to play it safe this year and divert your dress-up budget to other activities, consider planning and creating a Halloween-inspired meal with your family.

colorful cookies with eyeballs

Check out Food Network's top 50 Halloween recipes for ideas, and then start producing your culinary masterpieces. Kids love decorating cookies and cupcakes (especially when they get to eat them right afterward) while older family members might get jazzed by a cool new cocktail or cheesy appetizer. If you're feeling particularly motivated, break out the gingerbread house kit early to create the witch's evil lair from Hansel & Gretel. Don't forget the black licorice bats!

Have fun with your table setting, and include old candelabras with long tapers, painted pumpkins, gnarled sticks in vases, and autumn leaves scattered about to give it a particularly forlorn feel. When it comes to spiderwebs, a little of the fake stuff goes a long way on the dinner table so mimic the idea with the more appetizing choices of cheesecloth or lace.

5. Choreograph and Film a Halloween Dance

The TikTok craze has introduced the world to what many already knew: given a good tune and an audience, humans can DANCE. Involve your family and friends by choreographing a 30-to 60-second routine for them to learn and then filming the results. Even those far away can join in the fun by performing live on a conference call or simply posting their efforts with a custom hashtag.

If you're looking for music choices, look no further than the classics: Thriller by Michael Jackson, Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett, Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr., or Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell. One of those will surely get your loved ones in the groove. Bonus points for anyone who performs in costume or manages to spurt fake blood all over during the routine. Who knows, maybe your dance will go viral and become all the rage. We're rooting for you! Just remember CubeSmart in your award speeches.

We hope we've inspired you to make the most out of your Halloween this year – no matter what it looks like and where you end up celebrating. Though some of us might be a little saddened by the idea of a different type of Halloween celebration, taking the time to still enjoy a fun and unique holiday might somehow mean more this year. We’d love to hear how you’re celebrating Halloween 2020 in the comments! However you end up celebrating, we wish you the very best and safest time.

About the author

Bree Neely

Bree Neely is a communications expert and former Brooklynite based out of Denver, Colorado. She is co-founder of Direct Object, a marketing firm serving national B2B and B2C clients. When not tapping away at her keyboard, she keeps busy traveling, skiing and overseeing a variety of children and animals.

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