When I was a (highly impressionable) kid, Halloween was a magical and terrifying eve right in the heart of the creepiest season: Autumn. Each year, I’d fabricate a new costume, fail to decorate the facade of my house as well as my more moneyed and organized neighbors, and trudge through the town hollering for candy and feeling the joy of each new fright. Some years, my friends and I trampled about the local woods and tried to see who could think of the freakiest way we could all perish together in the still Fall crispness. It was awesome. And then I grew up.
When you become an adult (after university has murdered your imagination), Halloween bifurcates into two distinct holidays. The first is a continuation of childhood, in which you still watch scary movies, walk around the woods or local graveyard, and smilingly face certain fantastical doom. The second, what I call “Drunken Mess with Witches,” is that holiday in which you begrudgingly dress up and really just want another excuse to get drunk and make out with folks. Fun, yes, but distinctly sans any eerie magic.
Now, I’m not against having an enjoyable time on Halloween, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t extoll the virtues of pumpkin beer, but out of every holiday, Halloween is unique in that it’s about fear and death and haunting. No other mainstream holiday gives you permission to be creepily creative and terrifying to your fellow man, woman, and child. So why take the fear out of it and turn it into any ol’ drinkin’ night? That’s what Christmas is for.
One could argue that Halloween is already a Hallmark disaster, what with the markup on candy prices and costumes, but the sentiment is still very much alive. It just takes a certain release of drunken cynicism for an evening, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a ghastly holiday, the likes of which will make your inner child squeal with terror.
If adulthood has stripped you of any reasonable ideas on how to properly celebrate Halloween without ruining it, I’ve come up with some basic methods, along with some advanced and crazy methods, by which you’ll alter your All Hallows Eve forever.
Graveyard with no flashlights
Basically, if you want to enjoy a resurgence of your greatest fears, go stroll around a graveyard after dark with your closest compatriots. Ghosts probably don’t exist, but if they do, just think of how wasteful it would be to be drunk in a basement instead of chatting with an undead confederate general.
The “Midnight Society”
Ever seen the TV show Are You Afraid of the Dark? It’s basically what gave every child nightmares in the 90s, and it worth using as a model. All you need is the know how to build a fire, some friends, a few truly haunting ghost stories, and that powder that makes fires flare up awesomely.
Micro Humans vs. Zombies
The most fun game ever to come out of any university, played in one evening, all across your neighborhood while onlookers wonder, “what in the name of Beelzebub is going on?” Yup, that’s Humans vs. Zombies, truly the only way to celebrate a haunted evening in style.
Remember that 80s movie where Tim Curry played a murderous butler (spoilers)? If you want to have a really twisted Halloween, invite all of your friends over to your house via blackmail, hire an actor to pretend to die during the event, and plant murder weapons everywhere. As long as your friends don’t actually lose it and smack someone upside the head with a candlestick, you’ll have yourself a memorable Halloween (but perhaps a few fewer friends).
Abandoned factory ghost hunt
None of these ideas awesome or extreme enough? Get the bravest company of friends you can muster, and abandon the beers and cheap costumes for a full-on trek through an abandoned factory, mine, museum, mansion, etc., and stay there till the sun comes up. If you all perish, it just means that curses and hauntings are real and that’s kinda what the holiday is all about.
If you’d rather just hang with your significant other than be an awesome idiot, get super fancy clothes, some fake blood, some Bram Stoker quotes, false fangs, and just go to sinister town on one another. Not really a childhood activity, but some compromises have to made. Best Halloween ever.