Halloween is the one and only holiday where it is socially acceptable to be someone other than yourself. Yet, this rule does not apply to everyone and anyone. If you are 18 and older, reach for the scariest costume you can find and try your hand at going door to door for candy. I can guarantee that your neighbor, if not all of them, is going to give you odd looks. You know the look. It’s the one that makes you want to crawl inside your own skin and hide from the shame of being too old for trick or treating.
I am not sure who made up the rules controlling who is permitted to go trick or treating and who is not, but let’s be honest: It is extremely awkward to walk up to a door asking for candy, especially if the person refuses to give it to you.
Unless you have younger siblings to tag along, there is bound to be some skepticism about handing over the free goodies. However, there is nothing to worry about. Halloween is for everyone to celebrate and in more ways than one.
Carnivals, Fairs and Parades! Oh My!
When looking for things to do, lots of people neglect to seek opportunities for enjoyment right in front of them. Some of the liveliest activities could be happening right in your neighborhood, so be sure to check out local listings in the news or town magazine subscriptions. You can also follow your city on social media (if there is one available) to keep up with news, events and more.
One of the biggest Halloween celebrations to date is the annual Village Halloween Parade in New York City. The entirety of lower Manhattan is sectioned off for the event, so it is always crowded but enjoyable. There are people from all walks of life with costumes ranging from a sweet Cabbage Patch Doll to a Michael Myers level of horror. Not to mention the floats are larger than life spectacles where people dance, celebrate and toss free merch. The parade is open to both spectators and volunteers alike. All that is needed to join is an amazing costume. There is also an option to watch the parade on the NY1 channel instead of attending the event. Either way, the event is completely free and totally fun.
Other activities include corn mazes, hayrides and pumpkin patches. There is an abundance of festive fun to go around even in cities further from the rural areas. Look into local newsletters for what is closest to you. Events like the annual Los Angeles Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park are usually fun to attend for a good scare, but they offer a range of other experiences as well. The company has new attractions such as the roadkill ranch and the town square scare zone. The prices for tickets vary from $35 to $45 depending upon which package you purchase.
But if public functions are not your style, there are also introvert-friendly activities to do right at home.
Cozy, but Make It Spooky
My friends and I tend to overcomplicate what we want to do for Halloween, but the one thing that is always on our list at the end of the day is movie marathons. There is no shortage of scary films for you and your friends to binge. Television channels such as Freeform air classic Halloween movies consecutively for the entire month of October, and streaming services like Hulu and Netflix curate specific sections for spook-tastic movies. I personally would recommend any Stephen King movie adaptations (“IT,” “Children of the Corn,” etc.) if you are brave enough.
But movies are not the only activity to look forward to doing at home.
Invite over a few friends for a game night. You could make the evening more interesting by determining a theme for the gathering, have the guests dress up accordingly and hold a costume contest. A few games available for purchase are murder mystery board games, Monopoly (“Stranger Things” edition) and Goosebumps. If you are looking for more budget-friendly games, you and your friends can play Halloween charades or Killer Instinct. Mix in some food and music, and the whole gang will have a night to remember.
Another route to livening up Halloween at home is to create your own spooky spells or try out a little white magic. Channel your inner “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and research a few rituals that appeal to you. Do you want inner peace? Cast a spell. Do you wish to protect you and your loved ones? Cast a spell. Do you want an “A” on your next exam? Cast a spell or just study — the latter is probably best for the greatest outcome.
If spellcasting isn’t your cup of tea, not to worry. There is more to explore if you want to fully immerse yourself in the Halloween spirit.
Look for Things That Go Bump in the Night
My favorite part about Halloween is the chilling atmosphere, especially at night. The eeriness of Halloween is best experienced at haunted institutions where ghosts and ghouls gather to terrify the living. Ask around town for legends and scary stories in your neighborhood. You may be surprised as to what comes up, and who knows? It just might be true.
A famous haunted attraction in New Jersey is Brighton Asylum. The legend of the center is that some of the patients were violent, deadly and grossly mistreated. The living conditions and treatment of the patients led to the closure of the institution in 1954, but the rumor is the souls of those who once lived continue to lurk the halls of the asylum until this day. The attraction has escape rooms, ghost tours and other seasonal specialties. General admission runs for $36, but there are additional components of the attraction as well.
Whatever you choose to do this Halloween, make sure you are safe at all times. Halloween can be especially fun when you are enjoying time with friends and family while being aware of the many threats lurking in the shadows.