Just like everything else in 2020, Halloween is shaping up to be pretty different than ever before. But while we might have to forgo the normal packed haunted houses, trick-or-treating, or all-out Halloween bashes, there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate this spine-chilling holiday!
To prove it to you, we’ve rounded up a list of our most anticipated Halloween-themed events and seasonal activities for you to participate in this month in the Omaha area. And, if you don’t feel comfortable celebrating with other people in person this year, we’ve also got a few ideas on how you can partake in the holiday fun at home. Enjoy!
SPECIAL EVENTS + SEASONAL ACTIVITIES
If you’re looking for something a little “spooky” to do with your teens, the amazing librarians and staff at The Omaha Public Library have put together an exciting event for grades 6-12 based on the popular book City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab! Hosted on Zoom on October 16th, teens will join the book’s main character, Cassidy Blake, and her ghost friend Jacob in their haunted tour of Edinburgh, Scotland. After accidentally crossing over into the land of the dead, can you get back into the land of the living (by solving riddles and following clues) before the time runs out?
Get outdoors this month and explore autumn in Iowa! The Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek is hosting an exciting Halloween treasure hunt perfect for the whole family. On October 17th, head to the nature center anytime between 1 and 4 p.m. to pick up your treasure hunt materials. Once you have your clues in hand, hit the trails to see if you can find the answers and return victorious! The cost is $5 for every person over the age of 4 and costumes are highly encouraged. Click here to learn more and to pre-register.
We know, 2020 has been pretty rough. Why not take out some of that growing frustration on pumpkins? Le Smash is a “smash studio” located in Bellevue that lets you spend the afternoon destroying things, from treadmills to computers and bulky furniture. This season, they’ll be hosting their first ever “Le Great Pumpkin Smash” on October 18th where you can live out your wildest Gallagher fantasies and have some fun! The event is BYOP (bring your own pumpkins), costs $30 and is only open to 20 people. Click here to reserve your spot before they’re gone.
Ditmars Orchard is one of our favorite destinations in the Omaha and Council Bluffs area for fall fun! This season, Ditmars Orchard will be hosting free family movie nights every Friday, complete with tasty treats from their cafe (featuring their famous donuts and wine), a stunning scenic view and so much more. Click here to peruse their entire fall lineup, which includes a special showing of Ghostbusters on October 30th! Social distancing is strongly encouraged; no outside food or drinks are allowed; and they ask that you bring your own chairs, blankets and bug spray.
Photo courtesy of the Lee G. Simmonds Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari
Join the Wildlife Safari Park Education Staff as they celebrate Halloween a little differently this year! This fun, “spooky” event, happening on October 24th, 25th and 31st, will feature hayrack rides, Halloween-themed games, a spooky safari hike and, of course, plenty of tasty treats. Due to COVID-19, they are offering a limited number of tickets. Click here to reserve yours and learn more about this safe and family-friendly event.
October 31st isn’t just Halloween, it also kicks off Día de Los Muertos (also known as the Day of the Dead). This year, to celebrate this special Mexican holiday, the Omaha Children’s Museum will be hosting exciting Day of the Dead themed activities all throughout the museum! Learn the meaning behind this important holiday, play bingo, decorate a puppet, listen to Day of the Dead stories and enjoy festive music all day long. Reservations open one week before the event, so make sure to mark your calendars so you can grab tickets!
While it’s likely that a lot of trick-or-treating events won’t be happening this year, many trunk-or-treat festivities are still moving forward as planned! One of our most anticipated is Monster Mash at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum. On October 31st, throw on your costume and visit the iconic museum in Ashland, where they’ll be hosting an indoor hot rod car show. Children will be able to go around to all the different cars and get candy, paint pumpkins, observe mad scientist experiments, enjoy games and activities throughout the museum, and so much more. Click here for more information.
Photo courtesy of Vala’s Pumpkin Patch
There’s no better place in the Omaha area for a fun fall day than Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. This fall favorite is located in Gretna and offers more than 50 attractions and activities for you to enjoy, from a pumpkin patch and hayrides to giant bouncing pillows and live music. While, obviously, this season is going to look a little different than usual, Vala’s is still committed to providing an exciting autumn adventure for you and your family. Click here for a full list of their current COVID-19 policies.
Scary Acres is one of Omaha’s most anticipated spooky attractions during Halloween season. The venue offers three different bone-chilling attractions, including Master’s Castle, the Haunted Woods, and House on the Hill. After embarking on your adventure of choice, warm up at a bonfire on site and enjoy a snack from the concession stand. They will be open September 18-October 31 this year. You can find their full schedule and current COVID-19 policies, here.
We have an abundance of corn mazes in the greater Omaha area (we are in the Midwest, after all!). But one of our favorites is Skinny Bones Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Blair. While they offer a wide range of fun fall activities—including a pool of corn—it’s their 10-acre corn maze that has made them famous. Social distancing and masks are encouraged throughout the farm and in the maze.
OTHER CELEBRATION IDEAS
Decorate to the Max
Even though you won’t be able to throw a massive Halloween bash this year like you want to, you can still make your home look like you’re hosting a spooky party! Fill your front yard with jack-o-lanterns, fake skeletons, foam gravestones and, of course, plenty of fake, giant spiderwebs. Then make sure the inside of your house looks just as haunted with creepy ghosts, painted pumpkins, witch figurines and more. Not only will this fill your neighbors with the Halloween spirit, it will also make you happy every time you walk in the door. If you’d rather just do a drive by of other spooky houses, check out Family Fun in Omaha’s list of the best decorated houses in the area (which is complete with an interactive map!).
Organize a Socially Distanced Neighborhood Costume Parade
Due to the spread of COVID-19, it’s likely that not many Omaha neighborhoods will be hosting trick-or-treating events this year. So why not put together one of your own? Send out flyers to all your neighbors and ask that children dress up and march through the neighborhood on Halloween! As they waltz by—socially distanced, of course—you can toss candy into their buckets from afar.
Put up a Halloween Piñata
Halloween piñatas are all the rage these days, and it’s not hard to see why! Who doesn’t want to smash a paper mache pumpkin or ghost to get tasty candy? If you’re interested in adding this cute prop to your family’s holiday plans, there are plenty of places you can get one. Etsy is packed full of affordable piñatas shaped like spiders, candy corn, pumpkins, bats and more. Amazon is also an option, with several piñatas you can get shipped to your door in just a couple of days.
Host Zoom Costume Parties and Pumpkin-Carving Contests
One of the biggest things we have missed during the pandemic is getting together with all of our family and friends. Luckily, because we live in the 21st century, it’s pretty easy to set up a virtual soiree. This Halloween, get the gang together online for a costume party or a pumpkin carving contest! All you’ll need is a Zoom subscription and a little imagination to create an exciting event for all of your favorite people.
Watch a Scary Movie
At the end of the day, Halloween is about spending time with your family and getting a little scared here and there. So if you don’t feel like pulling out all the stops this year—don’t worry! Settling in with a scary movie and some popcorn can do the trick just as easily. For the kids, we recommend a not-so-scary movie like Frankenweenie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus and the 2019 reboot of The Addams Family. For the adults, you can’t go wrong with the Nebraska-set Children of the Corn saga.
Even though this one will be a little different, we still hope you have a fantastic holiday!