There are some easy and creative ways to get yourself immersed in the Halloween vibe. Here's just some -
Photography. Take your camera. Go outdoors. Note the changing season. When it's dreary and gray, go to a cemetery. When the sun is setting, hit a cornfield.
Changing seasons including bonfires, woodlands mushrooms and decaying leaves, black crows against stark skies, orange leaves on a rushing stream--all evoke autumn feel. Consider going to pumpkin patches to photograph, abandoned buildings, cemeteries and even neighborhood homes that are decorated.
Corn mazes. It might be a country drive away, but corn mazes at night are unbelievably fun. The smell, the cool damp feel, the dark recesses of unknown alleys and rows. Costumed actors jumping out of nowhere. It is cathartic to plunge into the rows, floodlight overhead lighting onto the tips of the corn and placing you in another world. Stop upon occasion and study the sky and corn rows - (Julie and I are doing this one next weekend -- will report back with tons of pics and vids)
Video. Take video on an excursion to a cemetery, abandoned building or country farm festival and then put it to creepy music.
Pumpkin patches/farms. It's not just for folks with little kids. Picking out a pumpkin is a contemplative process and watching the little ones rushing about excitedly reminds you of what's important in life. The country setting, smells and feels of a pumpkin patch make everyone nostalgic. When you leave with one, just be sure to make a wicked awesome carving.
Zombie Walks. Check the site and see if anything is going on in your area - I bet it is! You can go in a uniform, a robe and slippers, surgical scrubs, anything you want. Just make that zombie face. I use Elmer's glue on my face to make the fake skin that I can put the makeup atop of and peel back if I want that nasty look or simply wrinkle up my face as it's drying to make fissures and crevices. Remember, there is still time to join the Blogger Virtual Zombie Event - (sign up on the right hand side of this blog)
Most towns now have Escape Rooms. These fun live action game situations give you a task to act out and beat the impending peril. Look them up in your town!
Abandoned Buildings/Urban Exploring. That ramshackle building on the outskirts of town you always wondered about? Take pics, so long as there is no "No Trespassing" sign posted.
Bonfires. It's not just a metal trash can fire out front while Trick-or-Treaters rush about, but a simple fire pit in a backyard is adequate. Set everyone up with smores fixin's and lots of scary tales to share. There is something primitive about fire. It reminds us of our ancients and their feelings as the winter darkness rushed their backs. Try cooking the supper on the fire and the dessert while you share some of the classic urban legends.
Parties. Bars have tons of costume parties during the fun weekend, but friends and neighbors might be planning private parties as well. Consider holding your own with a crock pot of chili, beer, Halloween candies and a scary movie marathon. Even use a desk lamp in a dark room to try some shadow puppets on the wall.
Costumes. Nope. Not just for parties and going out or little kids. Take your man to a Spirit Halloween or Adult Shop and see his expression at all the possibilities of role playing. It works both ways. Men, put on your best vampire, cowboy or pirate costume and your woman will become a wild thing. It's all about role playing. For one night, we're not dorks for wanting to dress up like LARPers and pillage the town--or the bedroom.
Music. There are a lot of great horror movie soundtracks and creepy chain rattling CDs on the market, but some of the best atmospheric music comes from Nox Arcana and Midnight Syndicate. The soundtrack to the original Dark Shadows is a great one. I also enjoy Muse's "Absolution" album. How about soundtracks from movies like "The Covenant," "Practical Magic," or "The Craft?"
Considering making your own creepy soundtrack with a digital hand held recorder, some chains, a squeaky door, footsteps in gravel, boot heels on wood floors, howls...
Movies. Simplest way to get into the mood. Some movies actually take place on Halloween which makes it doubly fun like "Halloween" (whole series), "Trick R Treat," "Night of the Demons," "Ginger Snaps," and "House of 1000 Corpses." Why the hell aren't there more???
Scents. Nothing strikes the nostalgic feelings as potently as scent. It's one of our senses that goes straight from the nose to the brain without a lot of computing and interpreting. Deja Vu often involves a scent trigger, as do good or bad feelings. Remember Eleanor in "The Haunting" when she explained she couldn't go into the library because the musty smell reminded her of the sick room? How about the smell of Coppertone Lotion? Remind you of the Summer of 74?
Prop planning. Hit your Spirit Halloween store or Home Depot, Michaels, Joann Fabrics, etc. Pull out some supplies and start working on some Halloween props for your yard layout. Right now, I'm cutting up some tall cardboard boxes into strips that I paint like wood and will criss cross over windows and the edges of the door to make an abandoned "no trespassing" feel. The front huge picture window will have a projection cloth with ghostly holographic specters. This way, I don't worry about my yard props being stolen and I get a really cool vibe across. I like to start this in September when it's still hot so I can have something to do because when October nicer weather comes, I'd rather be outside finally.
There are a hundred ways to bring on the Halloween season and they don't all involve decorating your home and eating candy. Report back!