10. Surprise your hallmates or friends with a “boo basket”
“You’ve been boo’d!” Boo baskets are a great way to share the sweet side of Halloween in a way that can be fun and pandemic-safe. There are so many ways to share kindness, even during the spooky season, and booing someone can be as big of an effort as you want. Your boo basket can consist solely of a candy bar or it can be a bushel of candy arranged in a frightening arrangement that screams “eat me!” Just drop off the boo basket at the door for a sweet scare, and let the Halloween spirit commence.
9. Trick-or-treat in your dorm building
Bringing the Halloween spirit to a smaller scale can be much safer than roaming the hallowed roads of Charlottesville beneath the orange-tinted incandescent street lights, and it can foster better community in your dorm. Keeping the trick or treating within a group of hallmates can also be a great way to show off a costume that has been waiting for the spookiest of times.
8. Hold a best costume contest
Halloween costumes are one of the most popular ways to get into the spooky spirit, and whether the costumes are scary or scandalous, a costume contest is sure to be a frightening time. Expect people to dress up as Halloween classics, Internet trends and their favorite characters from Netflix shows — I am expecting to see lots of “Squid Game” costumes. This friendly competition is a motivator for the most compelling costumes, and it is surely something to look forward to.
7. Make spooky foods
Halloween-themed food is an awesome way to show culinary creativity in a variety of frightening forms. There are so many recipes to choose from or you can just make their own original frightening feast! Here’s an impromptu recipe idea — instant garlic mashed potatoes, red food coloring and black beans — mix it all together and I call it … the monster mash! These terrifying treats can be sweet, savory and everything in between making it a perfect activity for everyone.
6. Cozy up and watch some horror or Halloween movies
With the lights off, a warm cup of cider and blankets galore, a Halloween movie is sure to bring thrills and smiles this season. From classic horror films like “Halloween” to family-friendly flicks like “Hotel Transylvania,” there is a film for everyone this time of year. Hosting a small watch party with a group of friends can be a surefire start for a midnight marathon of the classics, and don’t forget the candy corn or popcorn — candy corn is a bit too sweet for me.
5. Get spooked at a haunted house
From personal experience, I know that haunted houses are scary. I advise against facing your fears alone, for the monsters are sure to make your worst fears come true. In all honesty, haunted houses can be really fun. With a small group of friends or your entire roster of hallmates, make the terrifying trek into the unknown and witness the horrors with a bit of humor. Show out to our very own Hauntings on the Hill hosted by the Brown College Friday and Saturday. Witnessing the horrors of a haunted house can bring us together — from the laughs of the clown to the growls of the zombie, it is sure to be a thrilling time.
4. Prepare a ghost story night
Ghost stories are the epitome of horror, and they can bring people together in the spirit of Halloween. Whether on the dorm room floor or in the dimly lit zoom call, ghost stories are sure to stir the emotions and be fun too! Did you hear about the ghost of Thomas Jefferson? Apparently there are ghosts all around the University, and all it takes is one brave soul to confront them and later tell the tale.
3. Put on a playlist of some haunting Halloween songs
There are many great songs to bring in the Halloween spirit, and these can come in many different forms from the terrifying tones of the classic “Halloween” theme to the catchy tunes of the “Monster Mash.” These songs will create the perfect spooky ambiance and background noise for a social event.
2. Carve pumpkins and make pumpkin crafts
Pumpkin carving screams Halloween, and it also makes for some great fall décor. Unleash your inner Michelangelo as each carving stroke is done with precision that your physics lab teaching assistant would be proud of. Carvings can take all shapes and forms, but others opt to paint their pumpkins. Pumpkins can be a new medium for the next Picasso, and all it takes is a single brushstroke or carving to make a masterpiece.
1. Go for a creepy Halloween hike
The O’Hill trails can be quite spooky at night, so I recommend bringing a flashlight and a friend. Hearing the autumn leaves crunch under each footstep is sure to send shivers up the spine and stir the senses. It's an adventure that is sure to bring the spooky season spirit to the next level. Was the sound of crunching leaves someone else? Shine your flashlight over there! Did you hear that? Oh, it was just your imagination. Or was it?