Halloween (also known as All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Eve, and Samhain in some parts of the world) occurs on October 31st each year. For many people who celebrate it, the holiday is an opportunity to gather with friends and family and have some spooky fun. There are all sorts of exciting ways to get involved in the festivities of Halloween (from costume parties and macabre decorations to special seasonal activities like trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and hair-raising ghost tours).
Table of Contents
- 1 Planning a Halloween party
- 2 Decorate for the holiday
- 3 Enjoy other seasonal activities
Planning a Halloween party
Ask your guests to wear costumes.
No matter how old you are, dressing up is one of the funnest aspects of Halloween. If you decide to organize a party, encourage your invited guests to show up in costume. You can choose a specific theme, such as vampires or Star Wars characters, or you can just let everyone show their creativity in a costume of their choice. For larger groups, you can even host a contest and let the other partygoers vote for their favorite costumes. Offer prizes for different categories, such as best of all, scariest, funniest, and smartest idea. Keep in mind that not everyone likes to dress up, and that’s okay. If you have guests who would prefer not to wear costumes, don’t force them.
with scary songs.
Make a Playlist Holiday-themed hits like Boris Pickett’s “Monster Mash” and Don Hinson and the Rigamorticians’ “Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood” have given partygoers goosebumps for decades. For a more contemporary twist, you can also throw in some pop favorites like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” the Cranberries’ “Zombie,” and the Black Keys’ “Howlin’ for You.” Other popular additions to hip Halloween playlists include Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”, Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”, Rihanna’s “Disturbia” and the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”. Fill your playlist with the soundtracks of the legendary horror movies Halloween and Friday the 13th.
Mix up a hideous Halloween punch.
Start with a mix of lemonade and sparkling fruit juices – You can find many easy and delicious recipes online. Once you’ve finished mixing your punch, add a few drops of food coloring to make it resemble blood, gross green slime, or a bubbling purple witch’s brew. To create a simple but compelling Halloween punch, combine 2 liters of ginger ale with 950ml pineapple juice, 120ml freshly squeezed lemon juice and a few spoonfuls of lime sorbet. Serve your punch in a plastic kettle on top of a block of dry ice for an extra “witch effect”! For a more gruesome sight, create edible “eyeballs” by stuffing blueberries into larger lychee berries and dipping them into your punch. They will stare at your guests from the surface. If you plan to serve alcohol at your party, consider making a second bowl of punch. You can use these to fill them with your favorite alcohol. Label your bowls to identify what’s in where and keep your alcoholic beverages out of the reach of underage guests.
Tip: Make sure you and your guests drink responsibly. Hail a cab or make your couch available at the end of the night for anyone who has had a little too much to drink.
Offer a selection of delicious Halloween-themed candies.
Set out trays filled with tempting sweets like cookies, cupcakes, and chocolate, or keep it simple with a few baskets of sweets. If you have a knack for food decorating, this can be a great opportunity to try crazy experiments with your own Halloween-themed candies (like cute apple skulls, vampire fangs cookies, and layered candy corn parfaits). Don’t forget to also provide some nutritious snacks (like a veggie pallet or some homemade granola bars) for your health-conscious guests. In case any of your guests have food allergies or intolerances, label the different dishes you’re serving and list their key ingredients (like the type of nuts you used for the brownies).
Apple snapping is a popular Halloween tradition and a never-ending source of entertainment. Fill a large bucket or washtub with water, throw in some apples, and ask your guests to take them out with their mouths only. Whether you win or lose, you can bet there will be no shortage of laughs. If apples aren’t your thing, you can dive for other items like pears, marshmallows, or candy wrapped in plastic. Almost any small food or candy will do, as long as it floats and doesn’t dissolve in water. Apple snagging is good clean fun, making it a perfect activity for parties with kids and younger guests.
Show a selection of scary movies.
Turn your home into a scene of terror with a private screening of some hair-raising scary movies. Stick to timeless classics like Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, or House on Haunted Hill. You can also scare your guests with cool new movies like IT, Get Out’, The Nun, or the remake of Pet Graveyard. Only show films that match the average age of your guests. The last thing you should do is give kids nightmares! If you’re looking for kid-friendly titles, try Beetlejuice, The Adams Family, Hocus Pocus, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Frankenweenie, or Hotel Transylvania. If there will be alcohol at your party, start a drinking game for the movie you’re watching (with guests who want to play along). For example, you have to drink whenever someone yells or a character dies. Horror movies can provide excellent background noise for a Halloween party even when no one is looking.
Hand out candy to children playing trick or treating.
If you live in a residential area, chances are you’ll be visited by a few waves of costumed kids throughout the evening. Keep a bowl or two of candy or other goodies ready and hand out a handful to the cubs and ghosts that find their way to your door. Try to guess what the kids are dressed up as while you hand out their candy. If you don’t want to keep running to the door while entertaining your guests, set out a large bowl of candy. Include a note instructing the children to take a single piece for themselves. The children in your neighborhood will be grateful for it.
Decorate for the holiday
Carve Spooky Jack-O-Lanterns Get some bigger pumpkins from the grocery store or your local pumpkin patch. Remove the tops of the pumpkins, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and cut scary faces or other festive designs onto one side. When you’re happy with your work, place a candle in each pumpkin and put the lid back on. This is how you can bring your jack-o’-lantern to life with an eerie glow. There are many pre-made jack-o-lantern stencils you can find online if you’re not sure what to carve. Simply print out a template that catches your eye, tape it to your pumpkin and carefully cut around the dotted lines. Help the big kids with knives, saws and other potentially dangerous carving tools and keep smaller kids away.
Tip: LED candles “burn” longer than normal wax candles. They also reduce the risk of fire.
Paint pumpkins with young children.
Kids and pumpkin carving tools are a bad combination. If you have young children at home, a safer alternative is to select pumpkins of different shapes and sizes and decorate them with acrylic paint. Then use your finished pumpkins to decorate your dining table, porch steps, or window sills. Let your kids dress up their pumpkins with monsters, animals or characters from their favorite books, movies or TV shows. Pumpkins patterned with fall leaves, flowers, or abstract motifs can also make great seasonal decorations for homes without children.
Hang fake spider webs to add a spooky mood to your home.
Hang the cobwebs in places like long, dark hallways, stairwells, lamps, and the corners of your ceiling. Use strips of tape for easy removal later. To add realism to your set, stick some plastic spiders in each web. You can find fake spider webs at any supermarket, department store, or craft store. Ideally, your nets should be hanging high enough to prevent your guests from getting tangled in them.
Fill your home with balloon ghosts.
Blow up lots of balloons, tie them up and put them in plain white garbage bags. Twist the excess material around the bottom of the balloons and secure with rubber bands. Use a permanent marker to draw eyes and other features on your balloon, then release them to instantly haunt your office, kitchen, or living room. Renting a helium tank can save you a lot of time and energy when you want to inflate a lot of balloons at once. Helium is also a must if you want your balloons to float.
Transform any door into a cute but menacing mummy.
Wrap strips of toilet paper or white crepe paper over your front door or the door leading to your party room. Cut out two mesmerizing eyes from cardboard and glue them to the door between two rows of paper. If you want, you can also tape some sheets of wrinkled green or yellow tissue paper to the toilet paper to create the knotty skin effect! Using a red pen, marker, or chalk, scribble red lines on your paper eyes to give them a bloodshot look. Another quick and easy option is to use giant googly eyes, which you can purchase online or at most major craft stores.
Transform a regular side table into a ghostly candy stand.
Lay a white sheet across the table, then cut out pieces of leftover fabric in the shape of eyes and mouth and pin them to the bottom of the sheet. Finally, place a large bowl in the center of the table and fill it with sweets. The billowing sheet makes the table look like a moaning ghost and features tricks and treats. If possible, use a plastic bowl. A glass bowl could easily break if you accidentally step on the sheet.
Enjoy other seasonal activities
Play trick or treating.
Trick or treating is practically synonymous with Halloween. If you have young children (or you’re still young enough to participate yourself), go door-to-door in your neighborhood and collect candy in your most impressive costume. Make sure to bring a bucket or bag big enough to lug your loot home! Wear reflective clothing or a flashlight to make yourself visible to drivers after dark, and remember to walk, not run. Not everyone likes giving out candy on Halloween. When you come to a house where the lights are off, it’s usually a sign that the person who lives there doesn’t want to attend.
Warning: Halloween is one of the few times of the year when it’s okay for kids to accept gifts from strangers. Still, it’s a good idea to take some basic safety precautions. Only go to areas where people you know to live, and always inspect candy and other items carefully before eating them.
Test your courage with a trip to a haunted house.
Gather a group of adventurous friends and see if you can survive the tour of the city’s most haunted house. This can be an exciting way to celebrate the darker themes of the holiday, especially if you’re an adrenaline junkie. But be careful: you will be scared! Do a quick search for “haunted house” and the name of your city to find a list of haunted house attractions near you. Haunted houses are not for the faint of heart – literally. You might want to skip this one if you have heart problems suffer or get seizures and other medical problems that can be triggered by lights and loud noises.
Look for special screenings at the cinema.
Some movie theaters host special events during the Halloween season, such as costume nights and limited big-screen screenings of classic horror films. In some cases, they can even offer free or discounted tickets. Check the showing times online or in your local newspaper to see if there are cinemas with these offers in your area. On Halloween, a group trip to the movies can be fun if you’re not really the party type or if you just feel like going into town. Before you decide which movie you want to see, remember that you must be at least 18 years old to get into adult movies (unaccompanied by an adult).
Sign up for a ghost tour to learn more about the ghostly history of your area.
Almost all cities offer guided ghost tours for interested residents and tourists. One of these tours can give you a fascinating insight into local lore and legends, while also showing you parts of your neighborhood that you may not have seen before. Most ghost tours take place on foot in the late evening, which means you should bring a pair of comfortable shoes and a light jacket. Prepare to stand and walk for up to three hours. Make sure you also pack a camera or smartphone. If you’re lucky, you can take a picture of a real ghost! Ghost tours tend to sell out quickly as Halloween approaches, so make sure to buy your tickets as early as possible.
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