Halloween is right around the corner. Some of you might already have had your costumes picked out for months now and can’t wait for spooky season to start. Some of you might be rolling your eyes at the people excitedly browsing the Halloween décor aisles. But some of you might be like me, a Halloween enthusiast but a wimp when it comes to the scary part of the holiday. Unfortunately, I’m always drawn to scary things. I know I need to keep my distance because even a poorly made horror flick will keep me up for weeks afterward. So whether you just hate all things scary or know you need to stay away for your own peace of mind, we’ve compiled a list of fun Halloween activities that are festive without the fear.
Window Shop at Halloween Stores
Pop-up Halloween shops that inhabit closed stores that have no relation to Halloween, like old H. H. Greggs or Baby Depots, are surreal places. I’m pretty sure reality is temporarily suspended in them. If you’re really trying to avoid even semi-scary things, just stick to browsing the costumes, but if you want to have some real fun you can press all the tester buttons on the spooky sound-making decorations. Speaking from personal experience, these places have some pretty cool stuff hiding behind the cheap things.
Go All-In on Pumpkin Carving
This is one of those fun Halloween activities where you can unleash your creative side. You’ll bond with your friends over the slimy ordeal of gutting your pumpkins. A cute jack-o-lantern face is classic. It’s also fun to go with more trendy themes like astrology signs or memes. If you want to take it to the next level, adding extras like glitter, ears, or spikes to your carving creations is just a craft store trip away.
Visit a Corn Maze
If you don’t live in the Midwest, this might sound like a very strange thing to do for fun. But, we flyover-state inhabitants love a good crop activity. It’s exactly how it sounds—you go to a giant corn field that has been strategically cut down to create passageways, and you try to find your way out of the rustling maze. I have a personal soft spot for corn mazes, since my first date with my boyfriend was going to a haunted one. It’s a cute activity whether you’re taking it seriously or you’re laughing about how quaint it all is.
Go on a Fall Food Tour in Your Town
Pumpkin spice renditions of classic drinks and dishes were popping up as early as August this year. Because of this, I know you can find some millennial fall treats where you live. Make sure to include some more traditional and regional fall fare too. Persimmon pudding or a hearty soup are both great for celebrating the chilly weather. If all else fails, clear the shelves of your local grocery store of all the limited edition pumpkin-flavored things.
Watch a Funny Halloween Movie
Fake gore and threatening soundtracks aren’t actually requirements for a good Halloween-themed flick. Hocus Pocus, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Young Frankenstein are all options that will give you a good laugh while still putting you in the Halloween spirit. Looking for something that will just put you in a happy autumn state of mind? Rewatching the Harry Potter series is always a good idea.
Throw a Halloween Treat-Making Party
Whip out your Pinterest boards for this one. Invite over some friends that are fans of DIY projects, turn on some Halloween tunes, and lay out a caramel apple bar with different toppings or ready-to-decorate cookies in fun fall shapes. Live a little on the spooky side with snacks like peeled banana halves with chocolate chips stuck in to make ghost faces. Or try apple wedges with marshmallows stuck in between with peanut butter to look like monster teeth. You could even make the good old “finger food” of mini breadsticks with almond sliver “fingernails” stuck on with ketchup.
Pick Apples at an Orchard
To make the most of this classic autumn activity, try to find an orchard that offers fun extras like making your own cider with the apples you picked or bobbing for apples. Even if you go to a no-frills orchard, you can still take some aesthetic pictures of you in a cute fall outfit reaching up for an especially red apple for the ‘Gram. When it comes to fun Halloween activities, this is one of the tastiest.
Choose Your Own Pumpkin at a Patch
A Halloween bucket list novice might ask why you would need to go to a pumpkin patch AND an apple orchard. While the two are essentially the same thing—picking your own fruit or vegetable off the tree or vine—both bring totally different vibes to the table. Tangy apples are reminiscent of the crisp fall air, but pumpkins epitomize Halloween specifically. You can just picture Charlie Brown waiting for the Great Pumpkin. The search for the perfect round, unblemished, rich orange pumpkin to carve is almost better than actually finding it.
Go on a Hayride
Hopefully you can cross this one off at either a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, or corn maze. If you can’t find anywhere that offers a hayride and are extremely dedicated, you can attempt to make your own. My dad pulled a trailer full of hay with his tractor at one of my Halloween parties as a kid. A truck bed that you’re willing to thoroughly sweep afterward will do just fine though too. There’s nothing quite like wearing your best flannel to get pieces of hay stuck to every inch of you while bumping along over a trail or field with some friends.
Do a Halloween Decoration Tour
Fun Halloween activities don’t have to break the bank. If you live in a dorm or small apartment that you don’t feel is worth decorating, go out and see the effort put in by your neighbors instead. Drive around to see all the best (or most ridiculous) animatronic ghosts, cotton cobwebs, and lawn strobe lights.
Make Your House Trick-Or-Treater Heaven
Now that we’ve all sadly outgrown the asking for candy phase of celebrating Halloween, the closest you can get is making your home the best trick-or-treat stop on the block. Seeing little kids’ faces light up with delight almost makes up for not getting free treats anymore yourself. Decorate the outside of your house like you mean it. Splurge a little on getting the best variety pack of candy to hand out. Or treat the mini ghosts and witches to king-size candy bars. Then get excited to run to the door every time you hear the bell.
Have a Bonfire
Coming home with clothes smelling like campfire is oddly satisfying. Break out your favorite flannel again and gather at whoever’s house has the biggest fire pit. Half the fun is trying to get the fire started. Once it’s good and roaring you can try your hand at warming up some spiced cider in a pot next to the flames. The person who toasts the most golden brown marshmallow gets bonus fall points.
How are you spending your Halloween? Let us know in the comments!
Opening image by Haley Ward.