Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Don't Just Have a Normal Halloween: Go for the Unusual!

Yeah, you can do a haunted house with the masses of unwashed teenagers or you can sit at home and dole out one candy for every three you eat, but you could this year do something odd and different. Remember, Halloween is on a Saturday—that leaves you a Friday night of fun. I’m having a Halloween party this year, but if I wasn’t…these would be on my list (hell, they’re on my list to do year-round, but then I’m a creepy freak!)

Cemetery tour: Consider mapping out a day trip of 100 miles. Stop at every other cemetery on the way there. See half of them on the way to a charming little town (stop for lunch at a cute local eatery), half of them on the way home.Note: Please bring a trash bag and clean up litter, but leave the flowers. Take lots of moody photos taking advantage of gnarly trees, dark clouds, and pictures of strange offerings, and tall headstones from a perspective as if you’re looking up from the grave. You might consider taking paper and charcoal to do grave rubbings and always take photos of graves with fantastic epitaphs and names that are appropriate. One local cemetery here has an occupant whose name is “Coffin.” I always keep a log of those great names! Don’t forget to bring a bouquet of flowers, leave one on a child’s grave at each cemetery.

UFO search: Find a group of fun friends with coolers and lawn chairs. Head out into the countryside where there’s no city lights. Park yourselves in a park or empty field and gaze. Don’t forget cameras and camcorders and lots of paper and pens to scratch out every single detail. If you find anything, send it to MUFON. They’re forms have a lot of very detailed questions, so be ready to remember everything you saw. How can you assure you might see something? Honestly, if you’re near a mining area or with 20 miles of a military base, you might have a good chance of witnessing something. Don’t forget blankets and hot cocoa in a thermos. Ideal snacks? Moon pies.

Ghost hunt: Look up haunted hotels and B&Bs. If times are tough, consider renting a haunted room with a few people and everyone can pile inside with their cameras and recorders and sit it out the whole night. Reminder: Don’t race up and down the halls or nag the people at the desk for access to other areas or wander into areas you shouldn’t be to photograph. Hotels not only hate the disruption, they decide later on to ban all ghost hunters—don’t give us a bad reputation. You can take turns letting some folks sleep on the beds and take shifts.

Tales around the campfire: Plan your group, find your backyard spot. Dig your fire pit or use an outdoor fire pit that’s existing. Assign them tasks; someone brings the wood, some one brings the drinks, someone brings the S’mores makings, homeowner provides the seats or pillows. Add to this a little scary background music. I suggest something like Nox Arcana. Some people aren’t storytellers. Help them out. Hold a skull and begin with your own story of a legend from your hometown or something paranormal you experienced. Pass the skull along. If you’re feeling really wicked, go the restroom and sneak up from the other way when you come back to jump out and scare them.

Movie night: This is a most popular activity, but really go with a theme. No, really GO WITH A THEME. Here’s some suggestions:

“Lost in the woods”
Toss autumn leaves around the living room, set up a tray with Smores and camping hot cocoa with marshmallows. Show movies in the dark with the room nice and cool and lots of blankets. Movies? “The Blair Witch Project,” “The Final Terror,” “The Evil Dead,” “Cabin Fever.

“Haunted House” Throw sheets over the furniture, some cobwebs and spiders, lots of candles glowing. Serve a formal tea like you’re in a British cottage on the Moors. Movies? “The Legend of Hell House,” “The Haunting,” “The Changeling,” “Amityville Horror.”

“Zombies” Well, you might consider making some white zombie drinks, some grotesque foods with worms, take a plastic glove and fill with red punch and tie the end, freezing it and then pulling the glove off to float in the punch. Take a thrift store baby doll, cut the belly out, line it with plastic wrap, and fill it with rolled up lunch meats and cheeses as a serving vessel. Once again, to give it a nice blank background, I’d cover the furniture in sheets. Movies? “Shaun of the Dead,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Day of the Dead,” “Fido.”

Other great themes for movie night? Werewolves, Vampires, Stalkers, Final Destination, ghosts…

I know ya’all have a lot more you can add to this, keep the list going and comment on other ideas you have for how to enjoy Halloween (year round if you're a fun-spirited person!)

Note: If you want the more mundane usual commercialized halloween, check out what’s happening in your area.


  1. Great ideas! I live in an apartment complex, so we don't get any kids trick or treating. I miss seeing the little ones, so if I am not working (darn retail job!) I will go to my daughters neighborhood and walk around with her and my grandson.

  2. Patty;
    Great idea--one year I dressed up in a costume with my best friend and we escorted my son around the neighborhood. We found someone having a huge haunted house with fog machines filling the street with fog and a fire in a big metal barrel with neighbors having a big block party. I would never have known it was there!

  3. What wonderful ideas. Love your blog! Thank you for entering my Give Away!!!

  4. Great Halloween ideas. Mike's sister might be getting a room at a B&B on Halloween (not sure which one) and will invite Mike, me and other friends to come along. I hope she does, but if not, I will consider some of your ideas.

  5. Julie;
    Hope it pans out--you'll have to keep me informed. I'm always curious how it turns out at the B&Bs to know which ones to put on my list to do. Hotel San Carlos has a nice ghost tour but every year it's the same issue with them---the hotel hates ghost hunters but come October they love them... Here's the site that handles it. They should begin in October. I recommend it. http://www.ghostsofphoenix.com/Tour_Schedule.html