How to Celebrate Halloween

Halloween (also known as All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Eve, and Samhain in some parts of the world) falls on the 31st of October every year. For many people who celebrate it, the holiday is a chance to get together with friends and family and have some spooky fun. There are all sorts of exciting ways to get in on 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.


[Edit]Planning a Halloween Party

  1. Ask your guests to wear costumes. No matter how old you are, dressing up is one of the funnest parts of Halloween. If you decide to host a party, encourage your invited guests to show up in costume. You might select a particular theme, such as vampires or Star Wars characters, or you could simply let everyone show off their creativity in a costume of their choosing.[1]
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    • For larger parties, you might even hold a contest and have the other partygoers vote on their favorite costumes. Offer prizes for different categories, such as “overall best,” "scariest," "funniest," and “most clever idea.”[2]
    • Keep in mind that not everyone likes playing dress up, and that’s okay. If you have guests who would prefer not to wear costumes, don’t try to force them to.
  2. Put together a playlist of spooky tunes. Holiday-appropriate hits like Boris Pickett’s “Monster Mash” and “Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood” by Don Hinson and the Rigamorticians have been giving partygoers goosebumps for decades. For a more contemporary twist, you can also queue up some pop favorites like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” The Cranberries’ “Zombie,” and “Howlin’ for You” by The Black Keys.[3]
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    • Other popular additions to hip Halloween playlists include “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon, “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads, “Disturbia” by Rihanna, and “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones.
    • Pad your playlist with the theme songs from iconic horror movie franchises like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th.”[4]
  3. Mix up some putrid Halloween punch. Start with a blend of fizzy soda pop and tangy fruit juices—you’ll find lots of simple and tasty recipes online. Once you’ve got your punch tasting the way you want, add a few drops of food coloring to make it resemble blood, yucky green slime, or bubbling purple witches’ brew.[5]
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    • To make a simple yet satisfying Halloween punch, combine of ginger ale with of pineapple juice, of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a few scoops of lime sherbet. Serve your punch in a plastic cauldron on top of a block of dry ice for added "witchiness"![6]
    • For a more gruesome touch, create edible "eyeballs" by stuffing blueberries into larger lychee berries and plop them into your punch so they stare back at your guests from the surface.[7]
    • If you're planning on serving alcohol at your party, consider whipping up a second bowl of punch that you can spike with your favorite liquor. Label your punches to indicate which is which, and keep your alcoholic concoctions off-limits to underage guests.
  4. Offer an assortment of scrumptious Halloween-themed treats. Set out trays piled high with tantalizing sweets like cookies, cupcakes, and chocolates, or keep it simple with a few baskets of candy. If you have a knack for food decoration, this can be a great opportunity to conduct mad science experiments on your own Halloween-themed confections, such as candy apple skulls, vampire fang cookies, and layered candy corn parfaits.[8]
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    • Don’t forget to also provide a few nutritious snacks, like a veggie tray or some homemade granola bars, for your more health-conscious guests.
    • Label the various items you put out and list their major ingredients (like the kind of nuts you used to make your brownies) in case any of your guests have food allergies or sensitivities.
  5. Bob for apples. Bobbing for apples is a beloved Halloween tradition, and a never-ending source of entertainment. Fill a large bucket or wash tub with water, dump in a few apples, and challenge your guests to try to pluck them out using only their mouths. Win or lose, you can bet that there will be no shortage of laughs.[9]
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    • If apples aren’t your thing, you can bob for other items, too, such as pears, marshmallows, or plastic-wrapped candies. Just about any small food or beverage item will work, so long as it floats and won't disintegrate in water.[10]
    • Bobbing for apples is good, clean fun, making it a perfect activity for parties with kids and younger guests in attendance.
  6. Screen a selection of scary movies. Turn your home into a theater of terror with a private showing of some hair-raising fright flicks. Stick with timeless classics like Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, or House on Haunted Hill, or scare the living daylights out of your guests with chilling new offerings like IT, Get Out, The Nun, or the Pet Sematary remake.[11]
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    • Only show movies that are appropriate for the average age of your guests. The last thing you want to do is give some poor child nightmares! If you're looking for some kid-friendly titles, try Beetlejuice, The Adams Family, Hocus Pocus, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Frankenweenie, or Hotel Transylvania.
    • If there’s going to be alcohol at your party, start a drinking game for of-age guests who want to play along with the movies you’re watching. For instance, you might take a drink anytime someone screams or a doomed character splits off from the group.[12]
    • Horror movies can make excellent background noise for a Halloween party, even if no one is watching.[13]
  7. Hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. If you live in a residential area, chances are you’ll be visited by at least a couple waves of costumed creepers throughout the night. Keep 1 or 2 bowls of candy or other treats on hand and take turns passing out handfuls to the boys and ghouls who find their way to your door.[14]
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    • Try to guess what your trick-or-treaters are as you portion out their treats.
    • If you’d rather not have to keep running back and forth to the door while you’re entertaining your guests, set out an oversized bowl of candy, along with a note instructing trick-or-treaters to take a single piece for themselves. The kids in your neighborhood will be thankful that you did![15]

[Edit]Decorating for the Holiday

  1. Carve jack-o-lanterns. Pick up some plump pumpkins from the supermarket or your local pumpkin patch. Remove the tops from the pumpkins, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and cut frightening faces or other festive designs into one side. When you’re happy with your work, place a candle inside each pumpkin and replace the lid to bring your jack-o-lantern to life with an eerie glow.[16]
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    • There are many premade jack-o-lantern stencils available online if you’re not sure what to carve. Just print out a stencil that catches your eye, pin or tape it to the face of your pumpkin, and cut carefully around the dotted lines.[17]
    • Give big kids a hand with knives, saws, and other potentially-dangerous carving tools, and keep them away from smaller children entirely.
  2. Paint pumpkins with small children. Kids and pumpkin-carving tools are a bad mix. If you have young children at home, a safer alternative is to pick out pumpkins in varying shapes and sizes and decorate them with acrylic paint. Afterwards, use your finished pumpkins to adorn your dining table, porch steps, or window sills.[18]
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    • Have your kids personalize their pumpkins with monsters, animals, or characters from their favorite books, movies, or TV shows.
    • Pumpkins patterned with autumn leaves, flowers, or abstract designs can also serve as great seasonal decorations in childless homes.[19]
  3. Hang fake spider webs to give your home a haunted vibe. Suspend webs from places like long, dark hallways, staircases, light fixtures, and the corners of your ceiling. Use strips of tape for easy removal later on. To make your staging more realistic, stick a couple plastic spiders in each web.[20]
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    • You’ll find packages of fake spider webs at any supermarket, department store, or costume shop around Halloween.
    • Ideally, your webs should hang high enough to prevent your guests from getting tangled in them.
  4. Fill your home with balloon ghosts. Blow up and tie off a cluster of large balloons and insert them into plain white garbage bags. Twist the excess material around the bottoms of the balloons and secure them with rubber bands. Use a permanent marker to draw eyes and other features onto your balloon, then release them to instantly haunt your office, kitchen, or living room.[21]
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    • Renting a helium tank can save you a considerable amount of time and lung power if you’re going to be blowing up a lot of balloons at once. Helium is also a must if you want your balloons to float on their own.
  5. Turn any door into a cute yet menacing mummy. Wind strips of toilet paper or white crepe paper across your front door or the door that leads to your party space. Cut two hypnotizing eyes out of construction paper and tape them to the door between 2 rows of paper. If you like, you can also place a few overlapping sheets of wrinkled green or yellow tissue paper beneath the bandages to create the effect of gnarled skin straight from the tomb!
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    • Scribble criss-crossing red lines onto your construction paper eyeballs using a red pen, marker, or crayon to lend them a bloodshot appearance.
    • Another fast and easy option is to use giant stick-on googly eyes, which you can buy online or at most major arts and crafts stores.[22]
  6. Convert an ordinary end table to a ghostly candy stand. Drape a white sheet over the table, then cut out pieces of scrap fabric in the shape of eyes and a mouth and pin them to the lower part of the sheet. Finally, place a large bowl in the center of the table and fill it with candy. The billowing sheet will make the table look like a moaning ghost, offering up tricks and treats.[23]
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    • Use a plastic bowl, if possible. A glass bowl could easily break if somewhere were to accidentally step on the sheet.

[Edit]Enjoying Other Seasonal Activities

  1. Go trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treating is practically synonymous with Halloween. If you have small children, or you’re still young enough to get in on the action yourself, venture out in your most impressive costume and go door-to-door in your neighborhood collecting candy. Be sure to bring along a bucket or bag big enough to lug your haul home![24]
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    • Wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight to make yourself visible to drivers once it gets dark, and remember to walk, not run.
    • Not everyone enjoys receiving trick-or-treaters on Halloween. If you come to a house that has its lights off, it’s usually a sign that the person who lives there doesn’t wish to participate.
  2. Test your courage with a trip to a haunted house. Gather a group of adventurous friends and see if you can survive a tour of your most harrowing local haunted house attraction. This can be an exhilarating way to celebrate the holiday’s darker themes, especially if you’re an adrenaline junkie. Just beware: you’re in for a scare![25]
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    • Run a quick search for “haunted house” plus the name of your city to find a list of haunted house attractions in your area.
    • Haunted houses aren’t for the faint of heart—literally. You may be better off sitting this one out if you suffer from heart problems, seizures, or another medical condition that might be triggered by lights and loud noises.[26]
  3. Look for special screenings at the movie theater. Some theaters run special events during the Halloween season, such as costume nights and limited big-screen showings of classic horror flicks. In some cases, they may even offer free or discounted tickets. Check the showtimes online or in your local newspaper to find out if any theaters near you are getting in on the action.[27]
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    • A group outing to the theater can be fun way to enjoy Halloween if you're not really the partying type, or you just feel like hitting the town.
    • While deciding what movie you want to see, remember that you must be at least 17 years old to get into R-rated features without being accompanied by an adult.[28]
  4. Sign up for a ghost tour to learn about your area’s haunted history. Almost all towns and cities offer guided ghost tours to interested residents and tourists alike. One of these tours can give you a fascinating glimpse into local lore and legend while also showing you parts of your neck of the woods that you may have never seen before.[29]
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    • Most ghost tours take place on foot in the late evening, which means you’ll need to wear a pair of comfortable shoes and a light jacket and be prepared to stand and walk for up to 3 hours.[30]
    • Be sure to pack a camera or smartphone, as well. If you’re lucky, you may capture an image of an actual ghost!
    • Ghost tours tend to fill up quickly the closer it gets to Halloween, so be sure to purchase your tickets as far ahead of time as possible.

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