8 Tips for Trick-or-Treating in an Apartment Complex

Halloween is one of those holidays people really love. It has all the right elements — decorations, costumes and candy. You can transform your home into a creepy wonderland, binge on your favorite sweets without guilt and get away with frightening people.

The scariest day of the year is also about going door-to-door asking complete strangers to give you candy. It doesn't matter where you live, this is as much a part of the holiday as everything else. However, apartment trick-or-treating gets harder when we're all trying to stay socially distanced and safe.

Although the percentage of people celebrating Halloween took a 10 percent dip in 2020, it's still a very popular holiday. Here are a few ways you can celebrate this year while staying safe, even if you live in an apartment complex.

1. Create a route

Halloween treats for trick-or-treating

If your apartment complex is determined to have trick-or-treating this year, take a tip from stores that have made major adjustments to maintain social distancing. Make it a one-directional experience with a distinct start and finish.

Even if it means trick-or-treaters take the elevator up to the top floor and work their way down, with everyone going in the same direction, it's easier to maintain distance in the narrow hallways of an apartment building.

Create a trick-or-treating map to distribute and put fun arrows down on the floor for the night. Think about setting up a formal finish line with music and lights to add a little flare. It's also a good idea to put out hand sanitizer in a common area on each floor and remind tenants to only hand out individually wrapped sweets.

Advertise you have candy

Since not all apartments have a light at their front door they can control, it's a good idea to ask tenants who want to participate to put a sign on their door that advertises they've got the goods. You could also ask those who wish to welcome apartment trick-or-treaters to decorate their doors in some way, and those who don't to leave their door plain.

This not only keeps trick-or-treaters moving through the building but saves the people who won't answer from having to listen to eager children knock — over and over and over — at their door.

2. Grab and go

goody bags for trick-or-treaters

Turn apartment trick-or-treating into a pick-up party. Ask the tenants who want to participate to make small Halloween grab bags they can set outside their door on Halloween. See if your property manager can send out an invite or if you can post a flyer in the mailroom.

Have everyone put their goody bags out at the same time so that those who want to trick-or-treat safely can grab and go at each door. This way, you minimize contact, trick-or-treaters don't necessarily have to mask up to stay safe and everyone who wants a quintessential Halloween experience gets it.

3. Set up a candy hunt

trick-or-treater

Apartment trick-or-treating is especially fun if your building has a lot of kids in it, but needing to stay socially distanced can complicate things. To give everyone plenty of opportunities to run off all the sugar they're eating, transform the night into a candy-filled scavenger hunt.

Use the green space outside your building, the pool area or even the common spaces inside to hide candy everywhere. Let families come through at set times to avoid a pile-up to hunt for candy.

You'll need a few volunteers to hide candy throughout the scavenger hunt and you might want to limit the amount of candy each person can take, but an activity like this keeps the spirit of Halloween alive even when it's not so easy to traditionally trick-or-treat.

4. Go on parade

trick-or-treater costume parade

Showing off costumes is so much fun at Halloween, so why not throw a parade? Trick-or-treaters can line up in a central spot, distanced from each other and walk the walk while spectators cheer them on. It gets the entire community involved with everyone operating in their own comfort level.

Share bags full of candy with parade participants as their prize so the event has all the features of trick-or-treating without actually knocking on any doors.

5. Make it a contest

carved pumpkins

If trick-or-treating is all about getting candy, no matter how it happens, change things up a bit. Ask each apartment to participate in a Halloween-centric contest. Maybe everyone decorates their door, or each unit carves their own pumpkin and places it outside their door. Then, on Halloween night, everyone walks the building, putting a piece of candy at the homes they like the best. Whichever unit ends up with the most candy is the winner, but everyone gets special treats.

6. Drop off the candy

Halloween candy bag

Instead of sending trick-or-treaters out to get candy, work backward and bring the candy to them. Prior to Halloween, ask tenants to drop off a candy donation. Separate out what you get into candy bags that should be brimming with tasty goodness.

On Halloween, dress up as a pumpkin or friendly monster and deliver the goody bags to each apartment in your building. Trick-or-treaters end up with all the candy they would have gotten hitting the hallways and can get excited about the mystery candy deliverer.

7. Party it up, virtually

costume contest trophy

If trick-or-treating simply isn't happening this year in your apartment, take matters into your hands. Stay socially distanced with a virtual party. Have everyone come dressed up and then hold a virtual costume contest. The winner's prize? Candy, of course. Make a candy basket treat you can deliver to the winning home.

If you've got a very small crew of friends you want to see, you can also host a socially-distanced, in-person event either in your apartment or at an outside spot on the property. Make sure you've got pre-packaged treats and individual cans or bottles to drink to keep cross-contamination at a minimum.

8. Give yourself the treat

scary movie

Candy is great, but there are plenty of people who enjoy trick-or-treating in order to get scared. They're the ones looking for the ghoulish costumes and the homemade haunted houses people create.

You can keep the scare intact without going door-to-door by watching a spooky movie or two on Halloween night. Make sure everyone watching with you gets "treated" by going out to buy plenty of candy. If you set each type of candy out in separate bowls, everyone can trick-or-treat around the living room to build their ultimate candy stash for the movie.

If you need some inspiration on which movies really do the fright right, check out any of the scariest movies of all time, including:

  • "The Exorcist"
  • "Hereditary"
  • "The Conjuring"
  • "The Shining"
  • "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (the original)

Between the scares and the sugar, you'll have a perfect Halloween night — if you can fall asleep afterward.

Keep the candy, lose the worry

Staying safe on Halloween is a concern every year, no matter what other circumstances impact our ability to go out and have a good time. For apartment trick-or-treating, you've got plenty of alternatives that can get the whole building involved, keep the candy flowing and allow everyone to have a fun and safe night.

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Lesly GregoryLesly Gregory has over 15 years of marketing experience, ranging from community management to blogging to creating marketing collateral for a variety of industries. A graduate of Boston University, Lesly holds a B.S. in Journalism. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, three cats and assorted fish.

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