I love Halloween. I live for it. I've even written a book about it "Adult Halloween: Taking Back the Season!" Let me share some of my favorite things to do throughout this season (I consider the "season" August 1-November 1)
I'm not always a great carver and I've tried the fancy tools (Villafane Studios has great ones), but I honestly hold no real super talent for awesome carvings. I really enjoy the old-fashioned jagged tooth faces and triangle eyes of my youth. They seem soooo much scarier than elaborate art as they hold that childhood nervous excitement associated with Halloween. I live for the smell of the pumpkin as you gut it and carve and light it up. Sometimes, I put cloves around the candle to help make even more scent as it heats up.
It's not hard to find corn mazes as farms are smart about knowing that their season extends past growing time and into the active fall season when more folks are willing to brave the outdoor weather and crave a challenge. Since I've been single, I've gone to a corn maze every year and it is now a permanent "must" on my holiday planning list. Sometimes, it's not even about the getting to the middle (I have yet to find the center) but about the photo opportunities and, as it grows dark, the scary feeling of snapping along the tall stalks and down dark alleys wondering what you will encounter. The smell of damp earth and the stars overhead create a scene from a horror movie for you to safely navigate and experience.
Horror Movie Watching
The best way to start off the season is with horror movie watching. I usually end up seeing a wide variety but there are some that to me define the season: The Fog, Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, Phantasm, The Haunting, Hocus Pocus....
Often times, it's more about the moody music of the movie than the actual content.
Here's public domain free horror movies LINK
Here's public domain free horror movies LINK
Blanket Fort Building
I readily admit that building a blanket fort, even if it's just over the sofa or chair, creates a delightful cocoon for movie watching. It becomes a sacred space for the season. Some people make huge ones on the floor with pillows and even strings of lights, but consider keeping it up the whole season as a retreat.
I love candles, the smell, the warm flickering light. There are battery operated lights that do a fair job of giving the ambiance, but not quite the amount of light. I opt for those at this time until I get my own home and can put out Hurricane Lanterns for the candles so I don't fear leaving them unattended.
This is one of my favorite things to do - battery operated candlesticks hanging from the ceiling by tacks and fishing line to look like haunted candles floating down a hallway.
Spirit Halloween Stalking
Usually after Labor Day, Spirit Halloween shops crop up around the United States and the mayhem begins. There is great anticipation upon entering the store and encountering the animatronics display. Pounce on the foot pad and see what the figure does!
I sift through the aisles slowly, learning what new things are there this year, what the focus for hauntings will be, as some years it's zombies, others aliens, perhaps a movie theme from an action film. I tend to like the old-fashioned gothic Spiritualist movement of the turn-of-the-century type themes, but I'm happy to see anything that is spooky and fun.
Halloween Costume Photo Taking
Each year, I try my hand at new Halloween looks and photos. Nothing says the season as much as pretending to be all things spooky. Last year, among the attempts I did a lion, Frankenstein's Bride and a postmortem photo from turn of the century.
Tasting the Pumpkin Items
It's funny. I despise pumpkin pie, but the minute the season begins and restaurants and coffee houses begin to make pumpkin-flavored items, I feel compelled to try them. One of my favorite things is pancakes I make with a can of pumpkin and bisquick, adding chocolate chips and putting some pumpkin pie spice in the syrup.
Creepy Craft Making
Haunted Attraction Trekking
You know you're curious. You just want to know - will this haunted attraction hit the spot? I'm pretty snobby about them. I'm not crazy about just rushing me through a zombie-filled alley. I want to weave through rooms of dusty antiques and rows of clothing racks and baby dolls to wonder what the hell is this place about? I'd like to leave some of the storyline to interpretation. The best one I ever went to was also disappointing. It was FearFarm in Glendale and they did a Goatman theme in the cornfield. The hay ride took you back slowly through the corn fields to little scenes that were very other worldly and amazing and the Goatman was off the charts the best. I actually felt genuinely creeped out, but being stuck in the wagon meant, if something happened behind you, you couldn't see it, only see everyone else's expression.
I wanted to be able to creep through the corn rows on foot wondering if I would encounter HIM. It was the most beautifully done haunted attraction and I don't know if I'll ever find one with quite that feel.
Abandoned Site Photographing
URBEX (urban exploration) is one of my favorite hobbies. It is exploring and photographing abandoned sites.
When Halloween comes, I tend to want to find the creepiest places like forgotten cemeteries or abandoned farms.
One time, my best friend Julie and I were out exploring and found an abandoned farm. We wanted to go back and photograph again, but it was near Halloween time and what we saw made us stay back on the road....
It shouldn't have been there and it looks so real with the blood red sunset behind it.
Halloween Haunt Decorating
It's a pleasure to begin to bring out the Halloween decor and take the house to a new level of creepy. Last year, I lined up the doll heads along the bottom of the TV set and then put battery-operated candles inside. When I watched scary movies, I lit up their eyes and it make it all the more creepy.
It's fun just seeing what you tucked away all year and forgot. To me, it's like Christmas excitement!
There are fun Halloween cocktails that just go nuts with eyeballs and blood themes and this one - the Alien Brain Hemorrhage (extremely sweet tasting but a blast to make). RECIPE LINK
There are a million ways to get in the mood, from photographing spooky cemetery statues on a cloudy stormy day to telling tall tales around a bonfire. Enjoy every bit of the mood and ambiance. I know I do!