A pumpkin surrounded by mushrooms for a Halloween activities article.
With Halloween right around the corner, students should start planning now to make the most of the holiday. (Illustration by Mia Stratman, Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

Activities for College Students To Get Into the Halloween Spirit

Decorating dorms, watching scary movies and listening to spooky playlists are just some of the things that can get you prepared for the holiday.

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A pumpkin surrounded by mushrooms for a Halloween activities article.

Decorating dorms, watching scary movies and listening to spooky playlists are just some of the things that can get you prepared for the holiday.

It’s already October, and before college students know it, Halloween will be upon them. Between classes, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities, if students aren’t careful, they may let Halloween come and go without setting aside time to enjoy all the candy, costumes and decor the spooky holiday has to offer. Here are a few things students can do to get into the spirit. 

Decorate Dorm Rooms

A change in surroundings can help get people into the Halloween vibe. College students are notorious for being strapped for cash, but it doesn’t have to prevent them from decorating their spaces with Halloween decor. There are many do-it-yourself Halloween decorations that can be created without breaking the bank. 

Carving pumpkins is a classic, artistic and easy way to decorate dorms and yards — just be sure to use carving tools and knives carefully and with safety in mind. There are also plenty of cheap and easy Halloween decorations that students can make with supplies found at home, such as cotton or paper cobwebs and pipe cleaner spiders.

The decorations don’t have to be elaborate; they just have to express the fact Halloween is around the corner. Decorations will help any visitors who come over get into the spirit, too. 

Watch Scary Movies 

What better catalyst to shift into the Halloween season than breaking out the classic scary films? From slasher films to crime dramas, there are many horror, thriller and mystery movies to choose from to help set the tone for the month. Take a break from studying and plan a movie night with friends and family. Having treats such as Halloween popcorn available can elevate the movie experience as well.

Did you know that there are several health benefits associated with watching scary movies, too? Studies have shown watching scary movies can boost dopamine and serotonin levels, while also burning calories. By watching characters participate in chilling situations on screen, horror movies can help audiences overcome fears on a smaller scale and make better decisions in real life. 

Students can rewatch old favorites or dare to try something new. If horror movies are too daunting, a few not-so-scary classics include “Casper,” “The Haunted Mansion” and “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” The point is to pick a spooky movie with Halloween imagery, but also one that will be personally entertaining.

Listen to Halloween Music

If time is a factor, watching movies may not be an option — especially for busy college students. Listening to music to get into the Halloween spirit would be the next best thing. Halloween music may not have the same clear distinction as Christmas music does, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. There is a multitude of theme songs and soundtracks from Halloween movies to choose from. Some of the most popular include “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Beetlejuice.”

Plus, music can be listened to while completing other tasks, such as chores or homework. If movie soundtracks are too jarring or disruptive, another viable option is listening to lo-fi playlists with Halloween themes. Lo-fi playlists are soothing and can promote brain activity, focus and workflow.

Listening to music is a stimulating method to improve one’s mood, along with being a helpful tool to ignite the Halloween spirit. Students can make personal Halloween playlists or find premade ones online.

Research Costumes 

It’s not uncommon for students to wait until the night before Halloween to start thinking about their costumes. Whether it’s for a costume party or just for fun, browsing early and making a plan ahead of time can remove the stress of procrastination. 

Students should order early if purchasing online and browse stores before the rush. Keep in mind that popular costumes based on recent movies or pop culture references from the current year will be high in demand, causing them to be harder to find and possibly more expensive as Oct. 31 nears.

There’s also nothing wrong with getting creative with a costume by using things found at home or bought during a quick dollar store stop. Simple, cheap costumes can force creativity more so than purchasing an expensive one. Researching costumes in itself can be interesting and amusing even if no purchases are made. 

Make Themed Treats 

Another creative DIY project to prepare for Halloween includes baking themed treats. There are many quick, easy and few-ingredient Halloween recipes, such as caramel apples or ghost cookies. Baking these fun treats with friends and family will make the activity even more fun.

There are many benefits to baking outside of just enjoying your snacks as well, as baking has been shown to decrease stress and promote creativity. And don’t worry about leftovers, because the best part of making Halloween treats is sharing them with neighbors, roommates and professors. 

Eat Halloween Candy 

Eating candy isn’t just delicious — it can also signal Halloween’s presence, too. Taste perception is connected to our memories, which can help incite the nostalgia of your childhood Halloween experiences. Candy with special shapes, flavors and colors exclusive to Halloween will help bring the point home stronger.

Back in the day, people used to give out things like coins, toys and fruit to trick-or-treaters. Now, people hand out almost exclusively wrapped candies, which explains why candy shelves get picked clean as Halloween approaches. Make sure to purchase candy ahead of time to avoid missing out due to the demand. There are many variety packs available for people who like to pick from several choices — just be sure to save some to distribute on Halloween night. 

College students are so busy with their obligations that they can forget to enjoy festive holidays like Halloween that are found right in the middle of the semester. Setting aside time to try some or all of the activities suggested above will get students into the spirit and can also inspire others, too. The most important thing is to have fun with it so that when Halloween night comes, it will be both expected and enjoyable.

Writer Profile

Tiffany Singh

University of Central Florida
English

Tiffany is a rising junior who loves to read and write. She spends her free time watching movies and playing with her dog.

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